Presenting “related” content can unfortunately be perceived by users as not relevant to their current needs, particularly in complex knowledge work and interactive applications. At risk is a loss of credibility, which can weaken trust in the application or underlying information, which in turn colors their ongoing experience with an application.

Relevance algorithms have gotten more sophisticated, providing designers and developers with useful tools. But from a user experience perspective, relevance is often perceived in the context of a user’s immediate tasks and goals, as much (or more) than it is associated with their prior actions and patterns from similar users.

Through a series of examples and illustrations, this talk explores:

  • Risks associated with related content not appearing relevant
  • How we explore the way users interpret relevant information
  • Designing for user’s task focus, perceptions and value judgments about relevance
  • Balancing algorithmic approaches with user-centered approaches