Definition: A connection between things.
Also referenced as: Relationships (noun) Relate (verb)
Related to: Block Diagram, Classification, Connection, Dependency, Exploded Schematic, Flow Diagram, Gantt chart, Heterarchy, Hierarchy, Hypertext, Interpretation, Language, Map, Matrix Diagram, Mind Map, Perception, Quadrant Diagram, Sequence, Structure, Swim Lane Diagram, System, Venn Diagram, Worksheet
The word relationship was used 18 times across 11 pages
For example, a website may serve someone browsing on a phone from their couch, on a tablet at a coffee shop, or on a desktop computer in a cubicle.
What channels do your users prefer? What context are they likely in when encountering what you're making? How are they feeling? Are they in a hurry? Are they on slow Wi-Fi? Are they there for entertainment or to accomplish a task?
Considering these small details will make a huge difference for you and your users.
These relationships can be one-way (e.g., dropping a package into a mailbox) or two-way (e.g., calling the postal service to see if it was delivered).
Start by creating a box for each concept, each piece of content, and each process. Arrange the boxes based on how they relate to each other. Play. See what reveals itself as you move things around. Try a few different arrangements before you add the arrows.
Keep it simple. The more you add styling and polish, the less you'll feel comfortable changing and collaborating on the diagram.
A Venn diagram is useful for highlighting overlapping concepts or objects. The overlap, known to some as the hedgehog or the nut, represents how these things relate. In this example, both pizza and movie relate to Friday night at home.
This same technique can be used to sort things into sets based on how they're similar. For example, we might make a circle for movies we love and one for movies referencing pizza, and put the movies we love that reference pizza in the overlap.
The rows represent the user's context (e.g., outside, on the bus, at home). Each point represents an event or a task that makes up the overall journey. Each point is placed sequentially as it relates to the other points.
This example shows events that only involve one person, but journey maps are also useful for showing the movement of pairs, teams, and organizations.
If we were to write a dictionary, we'd be practicing lexicography, or collecting many meanings into a list. When we decide that a word or concept holds a specific meaning in a specific context, we are practicing ontology.
Here are some examples of ontological decisions:
To refine your ontology, all you need is a pile of sticky notes, a pen, and some patience.
Let's say you're on a weeklong bicycle trip. You planned to make it to your next stop before dark, but a flat tire delayed you by a few hours.
Similarly, an idea you can draw on paper in one day may end up taking you a lifetime to make real. With the ability to make plans comes great responsibility.
Postal codes are what we call an exact classification. We can generally rely on the codes to hold steady. If the postal code is 10012, the building is in Manhattan. There's nothing to argue about. It just is.
Movie genres like Comedy and Drama may seem exact. But if you put three movie reviewers in a room and ask them to classify a dark comedy into one of those two genres, they may challenge each other.
For example, in editing this book, Nicole suggested I use the term "Postal code" instead of "Zip code" in the example above. Both would have expressed the point, but one is more exact for our context, which includes readers outside of the United States.
If you owned an online grocery service, would you dare to only list tomatoes as fruit?
But what if I told you that squash, olives, cucumbers, avocados, eggplant, peppers, and okra are also fruits that are commonly mistaken as vegetables?