What is service design?

IT Service Design Mar 21, 2020

Service design is a process in which the designer focuses on creating optimal service experiences. This requires taking a holistic view of all the related actors, their interactions, and supporting materials and infrastructures. Service design often involves the use of customer journey maps, which tell the story of different customers’ interactions with a brand, thus offering deep insights.

Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider, authors of the bestselling book This is Service Design Thinking, provide five basic principles that underlie service design:

  1. User-centered, through understanding the user by doing qualitative research
  2. Co-creative, by involving all relevant stakeholders in the design process
  3. Sequencing, by partitioning a complex service into separate processes
  4. Evidencing, by visualizing service experiences and making them tangible
  5. Holistic, by considering touchpoints in a network of interactions and users

To employ a service design process, a designer uses a wide range of design tools for exploration and creation. Qualitative research methods for service design are similar to general user-centered research methods: observations, contextual interviewing, etc. Using such methods, designers can envision a spectrum of situations in which users may interact with brands, from discovery to conversion and attendant issues such as customer reengagement.

The design process includes the creation of personas, customer journey maps, stakeholder maps, and value network maps—based on the insights from qualitative research. For example, the development of personas carries the vital benefit of allowing designers to consider characteristics of their target audiences that they may otherwise overlook. A heavyweight issue is accessibility. This is why including personas of would-be users with disabilities (such as color blindness) is instrumental in helping to filter through the elements that will make a better design overall. Finally, co-creation sessions result in service prototypes and advertisements, which are further developed in an iterative design process.

Our methodologies for designing services has tree main directions:

  1. Identification of the actors involved in the definition of the service by means of appropriate analytical tools
  2. Definition of possible service scenarios, verifying use cases, and sequences of actions and actors’ roles in order to define the requirements for the service and its logical and organizational structure
  3. Representation of the service by means of techniques that illustrate all the components of the service, including physical elements, interactions, logical links and temporal sequences