Schlagwort-Archive: Goal

The button – the ideal metaphor for an interface

One of the greatest discoveries of mankind, beside the hand axe and the fire, was the needle. Sewing individual pieces of pelts to fitting clothing not only protected against the cold, but also made the personal status visible. This stable seam permanently held the separated fabric edges together – which was not always desired. For this reason, the seam became more flexible by tying the parts temporarily. Today there are different connections: Hooks connected with an eyelet and push buttons as well as the most common, the hole buttons, flat discs that are inserted through corresponding holes. Not only clothing requires flexible junctions, but also relationships between systems of all kinds – people, artifacts and software.

All connections are based on similar building blocks as the buttoning.

  • Established joint
    If you intend to join two open ends or parts of fabrics or skins, you can glue, weld, sew, staple together, weave, knot, connect, tie, plug, hook, zip, plug, entangle or, for our example, button them up. The button is a reliable approach that can be easily applied. In business, processes and IT interfaces are implemented through set transfer points, coordination rituals and contracts that can be resolved and terminated at any time. This is possible, when there are fixed handover points – places or connectors.
  • Agreed rules
    Interfaces only work when the individual components, the button and the hole, fit together. The oversized button that does not fit the buttonhole cannot create a connection. The buttonhole that is too large will not hold the button reliably. In business, the interfaces are even more sensitive. The coordination is the pre-requisite, in order to let an interface fulfill its purpose in the IT or in the processes. This is possible, when there are common rules at the interface – a particular IT protocol or a common language.
  • Common goal
    All connections have in common that two or more parts combine to form a unit in order to pursue shared goals. The clothing should protect you, the charging station should charge the electromobile, a joint venture wants to capture a market or two parties want to govern together. The units connected in this way share a common destiny with rights and duties that are only valid as long as they are associated. This is possible when everyone fulfils his or her purpose – in an economic community or in a partnership.
  • Foreseeable timeframe
    Despite the naturally inherent transience of relationships, parts can be more firmly or loosely connected with each other. If the parts are to remain together for a longer period of time, durable solutions such as gluing, welding, joining and sewing are recommended. If only temporary cohesion is desired, all types of flexible connections such as hooks, zippers and buttons are the right choice. The interfaces in the business are always connected with expenditure, which have to pay off. Pursued irrevocable mergers are to eliminate such interfaces from the outset by repositioning themselves, breaking up redundant elements and subsequently undoing the union only with a lot of disadvantages. Temporary alliances build on form-free agreements that provide the temporary working basis. This is possible, when the groups in advance become aware of the duration of the relationship – a merger can always be retransferred or a temporary relationship can exist for a very long time.

Bottom line: There are more and more opportunities to connect individual groups with each other. While in the past the interplay was designed for a long time, today we have to deal with more and more short-lived associations. The current trend of platforms is a good example of the relationship dynamics – global networks, knowledge sharing between competitors, temporary memberships. At the same time, they can dissolve at any time and merge again as needed. On the one hand, the necessary mechanisms must function reliably and, on the other hand, can be resolved at any time. A good example of such a connection point is the button that connects safely and can be released again at any time. This makes the button an ideal metaphor for an interface.


The content – the second gateway into the mind of the audience

It is a long way to transfer thoughts out of the void into a consistent concept. The coherence of the aspects is insufficient to convey it to the audience. With the right understanding of the traits and features of the interest group, you can introduce contents more clearly. The content is thereby the second gateway into the mind of the audience.


The following aspects make contents more understandable and effective.

  • Goal
    An elaborated concept contains many specifics. The list of details provides meaningful insights only to a few people. Therefore it is favorable to define a goal that you intend to reach with the contents – to convey an overview; to describe a certain area; to create curiosity for a topic. A presentation or a text with a clear goal facilitates better contents for a broad group of people.
  • Target group reference
    Considering the target group characteristics provides a framework for the preparation of contents. Experts are used to navigate through a huge amount of information with table of contents or indexes, in order to get to useful contents. Non-experts need a simple structure and a comprehensible storyline that is not hidden behind technical terms. For this reason you need a concrete idea of the required information of the target group – Which interests exist? On which level of detail? Technical or easy to understand? Objective or emotional? The addressees better understand the message with the appropriate “flight height”.
  • Core message
    With the clear goal and the audience in mind the question about the core messages that you would like to convey arises. In any case you should limit yourself to 5plusminus2 messages, because it will be even difficult for experts to process more chunks. The contents are formulated around these messages. They provide several aspects – the purpose of the message (e.g. conveying facts, requesting something, expressing the own emotions) and the core elements of the message (e.g. objects, procedures, insights). Eventually, the audience can only remember those aspects that they are able to understand and process.
  • Facts and opinions
    Some information is generally well-known and verifiable. These are the facts. Other information is subjective and cannot be proven, but you are convinced of it. These are the opinions. The target group might believe these opinions or not. It is important to clearly differentiate between facts and opinions. Thus, the probability increases that the desired aspects stick to the target group, whether these are facts or opinions.
  • Procedure
    The individual data is not hanging timeless in the space. There is always a logical sequence – the discovery process or the dramatic composition of the story. The explicit description of these aspects enables the audience to better understand the contents and to better remember them. If you would like to create confusion or to produce suspense, it is helpful to create spontaneous, unforeseeable time leaps. It is better for the transfer of knowledge to follow the natural development of the topic, since that way the target group can better remember contents.
  • Outcomes
    The outcomes that were compiled are particularly The more concrete and useful the results are, the easier the attendants internalize the contents. In the end the drawn conclusions, the actual experiences and results are a principal reason for the audience to admit the contents.

Bottom line: Contents are better processed by the target group with the elements above. Discussions get the relevant information in order to get to a productive discourse. At the same time the target audience can better remember contents. Thus, the content is the second gateway into the mind of the audience.