Salience is the state or condition of being prominent. The Oxford English Dictionary defines salience as "most noticeable or important." The concept is discussed in communication, semiotics, linguistics, sociology, psychology, and political science.
pg 34 in John N. Warfield, Twenty Laws of Complexity: Science Applicable in Organizations nSystems Research and Behavioral Science, Syst. Res. 16, 3–40 (1999)
Brief 8C: The Law of Requisite Saliency Origin(s) of law: Empirical. References: Boulding (1966), Warfield (1994). Statement of law: The situational factors that require consideration in developing a design Target and introducing it in a Design Situation are seldom of equal saliency. Instead there is an underlying logic awaiting discovery in each Design Situation that will reveal the relative saliency of these factors. Interpretation of law: Kenneth Boulding identified three major reasons for poor intellectual productivity. These are: spurious saliency (emphasizing the wrong things, out of proportion to what they deserve); unproductive emulation (behaving like those who help create rather than resolve problems); and cultural lag (not using established knowledge with dispatch). Characteristically individuals who become involved in the design process exhibit great diversity in their assessment of relative saliency (as indicated in the data in Appendix 5 of A Science of Generic Design). This diversity, if uninfluenced by thorough exploration of the Design Situation, will support unfocused dialog, unjustified decisions, and arbitrary design outcomes not likely to be understood or even actionable. The design process must incorporate specific provision for uncovering the relative saliency of the factors in the Design Situation and the factors that characterize the Target, in order to achieve the kind of understanding that is needed to put the design factors in proper perspective