Human Centered Design methodologies: Service Design

Today’s listening content

So yesterday, I was learning about HCD and how UX is a part or a process that is part of HCD and along with UX, there are other methodologies that form HCD.

These are:

  • User Experience (UX) Design
  • Experience Design (XD) or Interaction Design (IxD)
  • Service Design
  • User Interface (UI) Design

Image showing how HCD encompasses the methodologies and that you cannot have one with out the other. Source

Thanks to Franki Simonds, I was introduced to the methodologies, however, she only defined the methodologies from a digital services perspective. And as much as it is the digital age and technology is  a HUGE aspect of our lives and will only get bigger, there is still the need for more social and physical improvements to our world, so I do not want to limit myself to an understanding from a digital services perspective.

Back to learning about the methodologies and why I didn’t continue yesterday. What stumped me with the methodologies was that I was trying to figure out practical examples of how each of them are applied. Because I know myself and I know that if I don’t understand the definition, I do not understand it at all. Because to me, a definition is just words.

So again, I will attempt to understand the differences between the methodologies.

Service Design

This methodology is concerned with improving the quality of the service provided (3) by making it meet the user’s and customer’s needs for that service (2). Some industries may call this customer experience (4), however customer experience is what the person perceives about the service, and service design is what goes on in the background to help achieve the experience that the customer has. (I hope that makes sense) (wait, no one reads this but me, so I will make it more sensical for me)

Service design includes concepts or steps or points to look at such as things called Touchpoints (4). These are defined as:

  • ‘any point of contact between a Customer and the Service Provider’. (5)
  • ‘the medium through which value exchanges happen, leading to the outcomes of a service.’ (4)

Now, there 5 types of touchpoints stated (4)

  1. People: This includes the customer or user themselves as well as the employees who provide the services and the people who designed and created the service itself.
  2. Place: This can be either physical, virtual or both, e.g. a bank; you can go into the branch and there are apps for that too. This is the medium in which the service is provided
  3. Props: These are the items used to produce the service
  4. Partners: This is other businesses that contribute to the service, by either being in the initial designing stage of the service (such as a consulting company like Accenture or Deloitte) or assisting you with delivering that service (such as UPS is for Amazon)
  5. Processes: This is about the workflows that are designed and used to produce the service. I wonder if it is the same as value stream mapping in lean management?

Now, service design is just one of the aspects of HCD. Just one of the methods or tools used to develop a whole rounded product. There is no point in having a flashy website that looks beautiful, if the service isn’t there.

I will give an example of something that I had years ago that looked absolutely amazing, but it was shit to work with. Anyone remember the LG chocolate?
Now this mobile phone, OH MY GOSH, so pretty, the GUI was so nice to look at, the whole thing was smooth, it was just great. But really, what is the point of it being a mobile phone, if you could hardly get any reception?

Thoughts about today’s learnings:

  • I just thought that I would be learning about service design, but customer experience popped up and is something similar, which sometimes I wonder why people just don’t use the same term and just broaden it. But then that would get more confusing, so I wonder, what is better? More terms? or Broader definitions?
  • Design is no longer just about aesthetics, such as graphic design, interior design, architecture.. Its more… its about the processes used during the use of a product be it tangible or not. Its about more than just how a customer perceives their experience when using a product. It starts off with the conception of an idea. The thought, all the way through to the end product and HOW the person FEELS about it all.
  • Also, there are way too many websites out there with content, some being the same, which is good, because it means that you don’t get confused as much, but some are different and for someone like me learning about design, I don’t have an opinion yet, because I am just learning, I am keeping an open mind. But the bad thing about that is, what if I learn the wrong thing? Also I am not saying that this blog is more content, its just something that I have to learn and to type thoughts out. If people want to comment and discuss I am more than happy to do so.

List of resources used:

1. Human Centred Design vs Design Thinking vs Service Design vs UX …. What do they all mean?

2. The Principles of Service Design Thinking – Building Better Services

3. Service Design Toolkit

4. Service Design 101 (This is a good website)

5. Defining the Touchpoint


More Homework: Design Thinking. What is it?

Sign off: Fox


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