Feed on

I have written a bit earlier about using comics to communicate service design concepts (link), using the launch of Google chrome as an example. I recently came across this really great post: What’s Your Comic About?Communicating Complex Ideas With Comics.

This not only describes the importance of using comics as a means of communication, but also gives instructions and guidance about how to do it also. There are plenty of examples, which help communicate the idea, including this one, which fits very well with service design thinking.


use case comic


I like this, not only because it explains the concept well, but also because it is not brilliantly drawn. You don’t have to be fantastic at drawing to make cartoons work, you just have to have a really sharp understanding of what you want to say, and how best to say it.

Recent work abroad, the above example, and particularly teaching abroad has increased my conviction about using evidencing as a means of communicating ideas and concepts. I think one of the legacies of product design is that we have a lot of designers who are great at communicating the object in a stunning rendering. These are increasingly becoming 3D renderings, which make the objects look absolutely delicious.


Look at the rendering of the Chevrolet Astro below, and you would be mad not to want one of those. They simplify the reality of the object and turn up on the desire of the object itself.


Image of Chevrolet Astro 1968 from carstyling.ru

In service design, there probably isn’t one object, and if there is an important object, then its the use context that is as important as the object itself. The experience of the service comes into the foreground, rather than the objects. Its the screens, the buttons etc that help make it happen. This is not to say that screens and buttons are not important, but rather to say that they are enablers (important ones – the devil is in the detail too) for the offering and value proposition.

This is what evidencing is about. Evidencing is about developing tangible evidence from the future. It’s as if you travel into the future, and show a situation where the service exists. It shows the service in use, generally through a touch-point being used by someone, so that the touch-point is shown in context. Not only this, the choice of touch-point, stage of service journey and the experiential message is shown in the image. Since services are about experiences delivered over time,  evidencing often needs to show the  time element, to show the service experience as the narrative that it is. Therefore, storytelling and evidencing are very close to each other. The images used in evidencing include a hell of a lot of design detail, but the detail is secondary to the message and the experience that the evidencing needs to convey. This is where using cartoons come in, since in the above example, facetime video conferencing is shown in use, in an experiential context.

The great site, service design tools (link) has a short section on evidencing and shows this simple but effective example from LiveWork.

An example of evidencing from the servicedesigntools site.

An example of evidencing from the servicedesigntools site.

It shows some work they did for Orange, and the evidencing shows the use context with the hand holding the letter. This allows you to think of the context, for example, coming home from work to find the letter. The letter is folded, as if taken from the envelope, and not shown as a flat pdf of the document. This reinforces the focus upon the context rather than the object, so the letter is not seen as a design specification, rather something supporting an offering. The key part of the image is the text “transfer HOURS to someone else”. This is the key message from the concept – the concept of encouraging customers to transfer unused time to someone else. This is a way for orange to enable gift giving or sharing between people, which is an indirect way of supporting a relationship between the customer and orange themselves.

This might be a far cry from lovely 3D renderings, and might seem a step down for those with such great skills. However, in service design, the medium really is the message.


Its a long time since we added to this blog, but the list of things to write about is just piling up on our desks.

This one has been hanging around for quite a while. The people over at Smashing magazine have been doing some really good stuff recently, writing about personality, tone of voice and many of the other experiential aspects of interaction design. Since interactions are key to services, and particularly the user experience, I am mentioning them here too.



This post (link) by  is a personal and useful list of thirteen aspects of user experience. In fact, they could almost be described as thirteen tenets of the service design experience, since he focuses upon such aspects as the orchestration of touch-points (tenet 1), User Experience as being strategic (tenet 2), and the importance of integrating multiple disciplines and working together on a journey of exploration using trial and error.

I particularly like this one, since I strongly believe that to stand out in todays market really requires bravery. However, that bravery needs to show, and be clearly articulated, and this is something that design is good at.


Great products and services require bravery. Design puts a shape to your courage.

So, if you want something to put up on your wall, and a target for your project team, you can’t go far wrong with these.


I know this isn’t a good time to talk nice things about Apple, but I like this short catchy presentation that captures some of the key things about designing good products and services.

Firstly I like the visualisation of the points. Its maybe a bit too fast-paced to catch everything that is said, but its good to show and tell rather than just tell. Secondly, there are some nice gems in there, such as design also for things that are not in the customers main line of sight, they are important too. Finally, I like the quote from Jonathan Ive about the importance of being light on your feet, inquisitive and interested in being wrong. All three of these are really important and link nicely to research in individual and group creativity by people such as Teresa Amabile (link) and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (link).

Hope you enjoy it too.



One of the things often discussed in Service Design is how to engage customers during queue periods. Disney has a clear strategy to use queues to build expectation after realising that queues are unavoidable.

I found this (link) over at Colossal, and it adds just that nice bit of Chrismas cheer in this silly season of over consumption.


stress down bubblewrap


What makes it particularly nice is the sizing. The bubble wrap is cut into sizes depending upon the waiting time. That is a nice piece of empathic thinking, and transforms it from a good idea into a really good experience. Now, how can  I persuade my local post office to install this!


At gov.uk, you can find 10 simple yet effective design principles. These look like a great summary and summarise the most important things to think about when thinking digital services.

There are a lot of nice details in the choice of guidelines, and also in their wording (be consistent, not uniform for example). I particularly like number 8 – build digital services, not websites. This, for me could be number 1 on the list, because it has an overall importance. I talk more and more to government institutions that seem to be going into the same dead end as commercial companies did several years ago – focus upon one digital touch-point. Unless public sector services think customer journeys and orchestration of multiple touch-points, then we are going to get a whole load of websites for self service that will work reasonably, but quickly lose relevance and coherence. There is a danger that making a service digital can become a palliative rather than a cure. Taking number 8 seriously, has the potential to change this.

As we are now getting towards the end of the new year, then I think a new years resolution for all government service projects should be to do some customer journey mapping and touch-point optimisation. I hope that this resolution is one that actually happens.

I read this interesting blog post (link) on Brand Republic today and it reminded me of a couple of books that I read a long time back. Its always good to be reminded of some good classics. The first was “Good to Great”, (link) which summarised the importance of the infusion of a reason for being into every part of companies such as Sony and HP (those good ideas now seem to be lost). The other was “The Big Idea” (link) which basically said that your service will go nowhere, unless your company has a big idea, understands the importance of this, and can see how a service innovation fits in with this big idea.

This is something quite basic – if you don’t know exactly what your big idea is, then having a social media strategy is a waste of time. In other words, social media are just additional touch-points that are available to you to establish a relationship with your customers and should be treated as such. Looking at social media in isolation, and as anything other than additional touch-points is dangerous, but looking at social media without relating it to the big idea is downright foolish.

Its worthwhile relating this to the brand megaphone model that we developed in the AT-ONE project. The clue lies in the Brand DNA and a clear understanding of this. Any misunderstandings of your Brand DNA, will be amplified a thousand times when you develop a service personality and then translate this to the relevant touch-points. So, when thinking about a social media strategy, I think its worth checking and restating the brand DNA of the company, or to put it another way, reiterating your big idea. In this way you can show how the social media strategy fits with your Brand DNA and the other touchpoints you have. Then, your social media touch-points will fit with other touch-points will fit with your service personality, will fit your brand will fit with your Brand DNA and will all support THE BIG IDEA.

 ‘entering into social media never replaced having a big idea’

This post links three recent things I have been reading. The first is to mention the Experience Based Design (EBD) approach developed by the National Health Service in the UK (link). I have been meaning to write about this for a while, because it seems to be gaining traction in other countries also. I particularly like the way that they have demystified the process, and have worked really hard to empower change at all levels of the organisation. After working in healthcare innovation I see how important it is with change management that empowers at all levels. I think that there is a real area of common ground here, and I hope that the initiative cements itself in the NHS.  I know that it is spreading, and have recently been contacted by several healthcare providers in Norway, who are thinking in the same direction. To me, this looks suspiciously like a serious change that is about to sweep over public services.









Then, to my surprise, I read today (link) that nurses in the NHS will be formally evaluated on their ability to provide compassionate care. I see this as being a significant step in the direction towards experience-centricity since (unfortunately) our on the job performance is often directed towards the formal measures that are used to evaluate us. I really liked the health minister saying that service provision is “not what we do, but how we do it”. I guess she means both, but if the thought of “how we do it” can become something that aligns the health service in the future, then I think the health service is on track to become something very good.

She said her guiding principles would be “care, compassion, commitment and courage”, to which have been added two more “Cs”, competence and communication.

This made me think of the third piece I was going to write about (link). Its a piece from Forbes titled “Do Starbucks Employees Have More Emotional Intelligence than Your Physician”?. It highlights something that I guess challenges the above initiatives, because I think that compassion is considered something for nurses but not for doctors or consultants in the NHS. For some reason, their behaviour and tone of voice are rarely challenged. The article shows how Starbucks employees are trained to handle situations with perceived service breakdown. They use the LATTE approach –

“We Listen to the customer, Acknowledge their complaint, Take action by solving the problem, Thank them, and then Explain why the problem occurred”

Now, if we could conceive something similar for the health service, to help design the service personality, behaviours, tone of voice and ensure this is embodied in all services, then we could come a long way. Maybe LATTE doesn’t really fit healthcare. A good catchy term is needed, but more importantly focus upon the how of healthcare.

If you ever doubt the power and speed of word of mouth, then try doing this…

A bank machine in Scotland was giving out extra money at the weekend, and suddenly a huge queue of people turned up to take cash out. Surprised? Not really. But how often is news like this spread so quickly by word of mouth?

Thanks BBC (link) for reminding me that if its important enough, it will spread very fast.

I found this great interactive info-graphic on the Guardian website (link) as a precursor to the recent US election.

What I really like about it is that it gradually reveals new parts to the story as you scroll down the page. This gives an immersive experience that I’m sure could be copied with success in online services. The integration of text, image, animation together with the user interaction gives a great experience – one that I haven’t seen before. I really wish I knew how they do this.

This is a nice example of what one of my colleagues, Jon Olav Eikenes at AHO, described as navimation (look here for more info and examples). A combination of navigation and animation that together can initiate a strong emotional and experiential bond between the content and the user.

If anybody knows how this is done and can point me to an easy (!) way to do it, I would be grateful. I would like to experiment with it in commercial service provision.

I have just rediscovered visual complexity.com as a useful site for visualisations of various kinds. The site is simple, but the categories make it easy to browse and find useful examples.

Here is an example of corporate connections which I think gives a nice visual representation of sub-brands and their parent organisations.




« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

valentino shoes outlet|valentino rockstud replica|cheap valentino shoes|valentino shoes replica|valentino shoes outlet|valentino rockstud replica|cheap valentino shoes|valentino shoes replica|valentino shoes outlet|valentino shoes outlet