IA Summit 12: Communicating Change

Scott Kubie gave a nice summary of change management in his talk on Communicating Change. He described 3 ways to communicate change, and 3 ways to take that communication to the next level.

Change is a feature and that feature needs to be communicated to create user success.

“Poor communication decreases success which impacts revenue”

An example of constant change can be seen with mobile applications. Apps are now often updated without even a users consent, or awareness. This makes communicating change that much more important. Not communicating change just because the change is better is the wrong way to think about it. Even things that are broken and then fixed need to be communicated because people have often become familiar with the issue and found a work around.

Communication needs to be human. Things like “Bug Fix A1TJS8” are not good enough. Even bug fixes should have specific explanations.

How to Communicate Change

  • Communicate in Advance – Do it early and often. Say what your going to do, and then do it. Provide sneak peaks into what’s coming.
  • Communicate in Context – Tell people where they are, and when they need to know. Make it hard to miss, and easy to dismiss.
  • Communicate in Perpetuity – Document for the long haul. Allow people to catch up if they haven’t updated in a while.

Advanced Communication 

  • Cross Channel – Pick a couple of social and media news group channels.
  • Choice – Let the user feel like they are choosing the change by giving the ability to revert even if temporary, or providing exclusive sneak peaks.
  • Community – Make your users part of the process and they will communicate for you.