Risk, high-concern, and crisis communicators care deeply about communication.

Seems obvious, doesn’t it?

But communication is a complex realm, and risk communicators are constantly reviewing the tools that make communications more effective.

In this realm, the stakes are usually high, often involving public safety and life-or-death matters, so communicators do well to use all the tools at their disposal.

The user experience (UX) honeycomb, developed by designer and information architect Peter Morville, is a tool that communicators can study for insight into reaching the targets of communication pieces.

By identifying the most important aspects of user experience, the UX honeycomb can help risk communicators design content that will connect with their audience.

The UX Honeycomb

At the center of the honeycomb is the word “valuable.”

As stated by world-renowned risk communication practitioner Dr. Vincent Covello, risk communication concerns the “sharing and exchange of information among interested parties about the nature, magnitude, significance, or control of a risk.”

For risk communicators, “valuable” (the target of the content) thereby means that audiences understand the “nature, magnitude, significance, or control of a risk.”

Arrayed around the word “valuable” in the UX honeycomb are six qualities that help define the user experience:

• Useful

• Desirable

• Accessible

• Credible

• Findable

• Usable


The content being communicated should address a need. What is the need being addressed in your risk communications?


The content should be delivered in an attractive manner. Is your content welcoming to your audience?


The content should be inclusive and address accessibility concerns. Does your content exclude any part of your audience?


The content should be trustworthy. Are there any ways in which your content breaks trust with your audience?


Content should be easily available and easy to navigate. Does the structure of your content in any way stand between your message and your audience’s understanding of your content?


The content should be usable. As Dr. Covello would say, “Keep it simple and short.” Is your content cluttered with jargon or hard-to-process information that renders it unusable?

Pathway Prompt: Think of a recent communication piece. Does it meet the standards laid out by the UX honeycomb?

Communicating Effectively When Feelings, Fears, and Facts Collide

More information about risk, high-concern, and crisis communication can be found in Dr. Covello’s video-based course Pathway to Risk, High-Concern, and Crisis Communication.

This master class introduces communicators to the tools and techniques for communicating effectively—while providing greater insight into why audiences react the way they do during times of stress.

The course comprises nine video lectures and accompanying text modules, plus supplemental materials for putting valuable lessons into practice. More information about the course, including group rates and partnering opportunities, can be found by emailing info@pathwaycommunication.com.

Dr. Vincent Covello

Dr. Vincent Covello, director of the Center for Risk Communication, is one of the world’s leading experts and practitioners on risk, high-concern, and crisis communication. He is the author of more than 150 articles in scientific journals and the author/editor of more than 20 books.

Dr. Covello is a consultant, writer, and teacher. He is a frequent keynote speaker and has conducted communication skills training for thousands.


Medium. “Peter Morville’s User Experience Honeycomb”: https://medium.com/@danewesolko/peter-morvilles-user-experience-honeycomb-904c383b6886

User Experience Design: http://semanticstudios.com/user_experience_design/

User Experience Basics: http://www.usability.gov/what-and-why/user-experience.html