Life changes once you’ve flushed
A petrol stand is relevant if you are just about to run out of petrol. But of no account if your tank is full.
A toilet is relevant if you have had six cups of tea and left the tea house three hours ago. But insignificant once you have flushed.
Interestingly, the question of what is relevant for us at a given time doesn’t have to be out of our control. Relevance can also be designed. It is our key concept, and we call it relevance design.
The recipients of a communication must instantly perceive the purpose of spending time on it. Otherwise, they will not. Therefore, a context has to quickly be established. A frame for the communication that is as close to the recipient’s life as possible.
All people are people
Much communication is dogmatic. For instance, it is a common misconception that “serious” content should be communicated in a “serious” manner to be perceived as credible.
An engineer does not want to read convoluted, structurally complex texts simply because he is an engineer. On the contrary. All recipients, regardless of their role in society, are first and foremost people. And there are universal rules for how to talk to people.
We also often see communication products that are “closed”. Without the reader friendly entrances that are so important to be able to invite the recipient inside. They become houses without doors or windows.
It is when simplicity meets invitation that good communication is created.
Digital relevance for people
The success of a digital communication product does not primarily depend on its underlying functionality.
The majority of digital products — from simple information platforms to complex applications — depend on human interaction. It is people who will supply information, and it is people who will receive information.
Between these points data must be handled and computed intelligently, but it is the design of the user experience that creates an exceptional digital product. A process facilitated by a digital product must first and foremost be perceived as logical and relevant.
What is the intended effect of the communication,
and what is the purpose of achieving this effect?
Who are my stakeholders, and what characteristics do they have?
How do I create relevance for my recipients?