Adventures in Product Development: Utility vs. Widget

When is a widget a meaningless piece of fluffy and when it is useful?
Isn’t it true the *best* widgets can be utilities in embeddable form?
And why do widget-makers get so amazingly distracted and just make silly, silly stuff?
Three questions of the 20-odd that came to mind this am reading Justin Smith’s interview with Joe Winterthaler, maker of the popular Quizzes widget on FB.
This is the one that lets you build your own quizzes and add them to your page, and Joe’s a guy that got quick and dirty and made this app happen nice and fast.
As a developer, he makes some points worth passing on:

  • Widgets can be toys, but they can also be tools
  • Tools get distribution and usage
  • Stay focused on the benefit to the end user
  • Scale the effort tofit the result
  • Iterate

Quizzes has 1,270,043 users, so these guys are doing somethin’ right.