Assignment 3A – service design tools

Recently I’ve been doing a bit of research into service design tools. To begin with I considered this just something else we had to look up, but it’s actually been quite interesting. I know. Shocker.

Through the classes I’ve had so far in my university career, I’ve become aware of a couple of service design tools already and to be honest, these are the ones I think I find most relevant to myself at the moment.

Mind mapping is something that I still feel is a bit of a chore – I tend to work by scribbling lists and notes in a disorderly fashion and then going back later and putting them in order, and deciding which items are a priority. But after being encouraged to use them during classes and to complete my design studies assignments, I am starting to understand how mind mapping can be used to quickly and succinctly show the progression and connection of ideas.

Rough prototyping is another design tool that we’ve actually had to use as part of our classes. We used paper prototyping to visualise the design ideas we had during our Change by Design module last semester. I found this really useful, because it gave everyone a physical representation of what we sometimes had trouble expressing in words. It also made our ideas and products seem more real, which I found increased my enthusiasm for the project in general!

Storyboarding is something we did when Lauren Currie of Snook came to speak to my class and run a workshop on service design. Storyboarding is a really useful tool, where you outline your customer’s journey through your service by noting every ‘touch point’ they encounter. A touch point is any point of interaction with your service – seeing an advertisement, making a phone call, opening your office door, reading a letter, etc. Anything. By working through these touch points, you gain a good understanding of your customer’s experience of your service, and can change aspects that cause your customers frustration or make things difficult for them. Lauren also had us make character profiles, which is a neat little tool to give you a better understanding of your customer base.

Sort of an aside to character profiles, we also had a workshop this week on ‘style tribes‘. I’d never heard of this before. A style tribe is basically people who are grouped together according to the way they’re dressed. Not to be confused with subcultures (though some subcultures and style tribes are both), which is a group of people who ascribe to a culture which sets them apart from the larger culture that they belong to, the ‘main’ culture of the time. For example, punk is a subculture which generally holds such values as a non-conformist attitude, a DIY ethic, direct action, and anarchism, to name but a few. Punk is also a style tribe you can be part of for simply aesthetic reasons (mohawks, studs, ripped jeans, safety pins, Doc Martens, etc.), without really investing yourself in the ideologies of the punk subculture.

We did a quick exercise where we had to create our own style tribe, which I found very difficult. Who do I want to design for? Who will be my customers? Being new to the whole thing, I tried to style tribe (it’s a verb, I’m sure) an idealised version of myself, which is also quite difficult, if you think about it. Creative; casual but ‘put together’, basic pieces combined, bright, Converse/sneakers – comfort, professional but approachable; interested in home comforts, days out, tattoos, quirky homewares and jewellery, cats; considers Kirstie Allsopp, Velma Dinkley, and Kaylee from Firefly to be her icons.

Parts B through E of this assignment can be found here.


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About Hannah

I'm Hannah, a twenty-something-year-old textile design student from Scotland. I'm learning a lot, and I want to learn more.

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