Design for relevance

Harald Lamberts
Harald Lamberts, Head of User Experience for Internet Services & Handsets at the Vodafone Group, wrote a thoughtful viewpoint article on DMI on the issue of relevance in design, in an era of technology overkill.

“With new social-networking communities popping up continuously, 100,000 apps in the iPhone Appstore, 500+ contacts in multiple places, two to three email accounts per user, Internet feeds from multiple sources, and different end-user credentials to remember for each service, can people still manage their digital lives? If on top of this, a text message notifies you of a new voicemail and an email notifies you of a new status update, something is wrong and the burden to manage it all is on the end-user.

There have been several efforts to bring the consumer’s content, contacts or information conveniently in one single place. Think instant messaging aggregators such as Adium or Nimbuzz, or a social-networking feed aggregator such as Tweetdeck. However, aggregators tend to only provide simultaneous access to multiple competing services, they usually don’t hide the service boundaries or add value by integrating with other content types or services.

The core of these problems is not accessibility or usability but relevance.”

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