What do these two images have in common – apart from the fact the fact they’re both food related? I’ll give you a minute…

Yes! You read the the title correctly! They’re both relevant and contextual. Why is this so and why is it important for you to learn from this?

Contextual and relevant services

Previously, I wrote about this topic in relationship to Googles micro moments and finance. I broke down how Google micro moments allow you to be relevant at times when the user needs it the most – by understanding ‘top tasks’ and key moments in the journey to satisfy and excel. This post underlines this by two simple examples:

Deli drink
I wanted to buy drinks at a local deli in London. When I found the drinks section in the shelf, my immediate question was: “Why this is not cold? It’s freakin’ 30 degrees in London right now.” The owner must have thought the same and understood that the moment I’m looking for a cold drink the most, is right after my decision to buy a drink (hence I’m looking at the drinks section). Placing a little sign right then and there, is the best way to guide me to the thing I want to the most: a cold drink. The information presents itself when the need appears.

McDonald’s
The ever lasting battle between Burger King and McDonald’s is still going strong. Who’s got the best hamburgers? If you ask me, Burger King wins, but hey.. taste is subjective. Anyway, see how McDonald’s applied contextual and relevant information, just when I need it the most? Burger King might have triggered my sense and impulse to go for a quick menu, and McDonald’s understands that’s the moment you ‘gotta hit ’em where it hurts’: “were you in fact looking for us, instead of the Crazy B? Guess what? You just passed us!. Turn around, and enjoy an even better hamburger than you were planning on having.” Relevant and contextual information when the desire appears.

“Don’t present users with a range of choices that are not relevant inĀ that moment.”

So again, let this be a little lesson for any design (UX/UI/Service/Experience/[fill in the blank]): don’t present users or customers with a range of choices that are not relevant at that moment. How would you feel if you had to start by selecting your favorite Spotify playlist to play in the car, before you even got a chance to order the Uber? Or a bank that presents you with 5 visual designs for a new debit card, while you’re still deciding whether it’s better to for a loan or other product? These examples might sound absurd, but trust me: a lot of services still don’t understand this basic principle. Think about the cognitive load you’re imposing on your users and design accordingly.