Understanding the Mobile Communication Process

At its core, TextIt is a communication tool. It facilitates the creation and distribution of message-based workflows which you can send through a variety of channels. The importance of effective communication is immeasurable in any context, and it’s become a strong determinant of the success of a product or service in the digital age. Time and again we see that poor communication reduces quality, weakens a brand, and ultimately leads to a lack of trust, thus facilitating user detraction and plummeting completion rates. To that end, we recommend referencing this guide to the mobile communication process when designing your SMS service. 

The Communication Process

The communication process comprises the following components:

  • Sender - You: the person, group or entity that initiates a message. The sender is responsible for the success of the flow, as they directly influence the content thereof.

  • Receiver - Your contacts: the person, group or entity to whom the message is directed; also called the interpreter.

  • Message - Content that must be encoded by the sender and decoded by the receiver.

  • Channel - the medium through which a message is delivered. TextIt supports a variety of channels, including SMS, Voice, Twitter and Email.

  • Context - the situation and setting in which the flow will be sent and delivered.

  • Noise - factors that decrease the chances of successful communication but does not guarantee failure. The type of noise most applicable to mobile communication is semantic noise, which exists when the words that comprise the message are not understood, thus inhibiting the decoding process.

  • Feedback - responses from your contacts indicating whether a message has been received as in intended.

Step 1:  Encoding

The encoding process requires you to condense your objectives into a flow. Are you pushing content, collecting data, directing users to resources, or otherwise complimenting your product or service’s workflow? When designing your flows, it’s just as important to base your content on what you can gather about your contacts’ knowledge and assumptions as it is to consider what information you want your contacts to have.  

Step 2: Transmission

The transmission step requires that you select a channel. The context of the interaction you’re designing and the characteristics of your messages will determine the ideal channel for your service:

  • Is the information you’re conveying best presented in the form of an SMS message, Twitter DM, Email, phone call, or an SMS link?

  • Which channels do your intended audience use most often?

  • Is the content urgent?

  • Is immediate feedback necessary?

  • Is the content complicated, controversial or private?

  • Is your messaging intra or inter-organizational?

  • How literate is your average contact likely to be? What is the extent of your average contact's written communication skills?

Step 3: Decoding

Once you’ve selected the appropriate channel(s) and your messages have been sent to your receivers’ handsets, the decoding process begins. When the message is received and examined, your contacts interpret and assign meaning. The extent to which your contacts comprehend your flows will depend on their familiarity with the purpose of your flows upon receipt, and the extent and nature of the relationship between your organization and your contacts.

Step 4: Feedback

Feedback is a contact’s response - which allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of your flow(s). Are they responding to your flow as intended, or are they consistently responding with uncategorized responses. Are they responding at all? A lack of response qualifies as a response. Feedback provides an opportunity for you to take corrective action to edit a flow - it’s a litmus test of sorts for communication barriers.

Next Steps

In addition to this guide, you may find the following articles helpful in designing and testing your service:

The Importance of Pilot Testing

Improve the Effectiveness of your Flows with A/B Testing

Are your Flows User Friendly? Find out with Usability Testing