This post was written by former Clearleftie and intern extraordinaire, Sebastien Chung. Seb spent part of his internship exploring the relationship between Service Design and UX Design - an intersection with increasingly blurred boundaries…
Exploring the Shared Spaces of Service Design and UX Design
In my last post I discussed how the rise of digital services has lead to an increasing overlap in the areas of Service Design and UX design (if you haven’t read the previous post you can take a look at it here). One way of exploring this overlap is to begin to look at the shared tools, processes and methodologies that we designers use when approaching our projects.
An internal workshop was conducted with Clearleft’s design team to understand the tools and methods that UX designers use throughout their digital design process.
A Digital Service Design Toolkit
A blank board was created with a high-level outline of stages of the design process. Stages included Strategy, Research, Analysis, Design, Prototype & Launch. Clearlefties’ UX designers were asked to write methods individually on sticky notes before attaching to the board. Methodologies were then discussed, compared, and contrasted as a group.
Processes and methods commonly used in Service Design were then mapped onto a separate board of the same high-level project stages. These tools were gathered from a number of Service Design resources and conversations with Service Design practitioners as well as from my own experience and those of the Clearlefties’ design team.
The processes of Service Design and UX were combined on a single board and grouped according to their purposes and outcomes. The groupings revealed insights into common approaches, aims and practices throughout the design process.
The relationship between these elements can be seen on the infographic below. This visualisation shows the shared methodologies and processes used in Service Design and UX Design. Looking at the processes from Service Design and UX Design mapped in this way it does seem apparent that there are more similarities than differences between the disciplines.
In order to design meaningful Digital Services it’s becoming increasingly necessary to draw from the toolkits of both the Service Designer and the UX Designer.
Combining the processes and methodologies used in Service Design and UX Design, I have collated a toolkit of helpful techniques that can be used throughout a Digital Service Design project. (Note: The tools in the Digital Service Design Toolkit are taken from a wide range of resources some of which have been listed below.)
This Digital Service Design Toolkit groups the tools under the familiar titles of strategy, research, analysis, prototype and launch/handover, suggesting the stages that tools might be useful for the designer. Enabling approaches to problems at various levels of zoom and focus, it covers techniques that can help to delve into the details of digital touch point or create a holistic end-to -end view of a customer journey.
Highlighting the shared space between disciplines can, hopefully, increase understanding and aid collaboration between the various design communities, whilst making available a variety of techniques aimed at creating services with meaningful, digital-focused customer experiences.
It could be the start of a collaborative piece of work to be be iterated, developed, and improved according to the emerging needs of Digital Service Design projects.
Perhaps it can help guide a Service Designer to better understand the customer’s experience of an important digital touch point or help a UX practitioner to find a usable process to see where a project fits within the wider context of a customer journey.
It might just be viewed as trying to make sense of the huge mass of design tools and processes floating around in the ether but, however this toolkit is received, hopefully it will be used to aid the design of Digital Services and in some ways promote discussion and communication between design communities.
Resources used in the creation of this post include:
This is Service Design Thinking, Stickdorn & Schneider Service Design, Polaine and Reason