Just build a “like” feature

How to think through even the simplest of features

Karan Mhatre
2 min readJan 16, 2020
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Writing a product requirement starts with asking the right questions.

Imagine you work as a Product Manager on a mobile application that helps users post and read blogs. You talk to some of your users and realise that they seek social validation for their posts and would like to know how many of their readers enjoyed reading their post.

So, armed with this new insight, you go to engineering and say, “Just build a like feature for our posts. You know, like Instagram” leaving your engineers perplexed and angry at how little thought you have put into this feature.

Even the tiniest (perceived) of features requires product thought.

  1. Should the user be able to remove (undo) a “like” that the user had previously given?
  2. Should the user be able to like the same post multiple times? Medium lets you do this (through claps). Facebook lets you do this on live videos.
  3. If the above answer is Yes, then Should the user be able to give unlimited likes? Should be have a maximum limit (Medium allows 50)?
  4. Should the user be able to see a list of users that have liked a post? If yes, what is the order in which the list of users should be displayed? Alphabetical, or chronological?
  5. Should the user be able to see a list of all the posts that they have previously liked? Should other users be able to see this list?
  6. Should the user be recommended posts based on the posts that they have liked?
  7. As the likes increase, should they be displayed whole numbers, or abstracted to show “K” for thousands, “M” for millions, “B” or billions, etc.?
  8. Should the user be able to like a post offline?
  9. Should the user be able to real-time see the number of likes increase if the user is on the app and some other user likes the post?

So next time, be a better product manager and have a list of questions (and maybe some answers) before you hand off the feature to design or engineering.