Tag Archive | service design

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.


Assignment 5: Proposal

­­­­­­­­­­Our RSA brief asked us to identify a daily journey, either our own or other people’s, and investigate ways to improve it and make the experience better for many people. We were to think of the economic, social, or environmental issues people face during their journeys, and we were encouraged to address these issues. Although the brief was quite specific in that we were only to research daily journeys, it still allowed for a broad range of ideas – travel to college, university, work, and shops and services, by foot, bicycle, bus, train, and car. It also allowed a very wide range of ideas to be developed, as the solutions could be used to improve any area of the journey – the brief would accommodate redesigned vehicles or environments, activities or accessories to better use commuting time spent on public transport, and even advertising or communication campaigns to inform people about different types of travel.

Team 8, consisting of myself, Kristen Neillie, Kirstie Snowdon, Esther Farrell, and Steven Lee, began by brainstorming different daily journeys, focusing on modes of transport like walking, driving, and using public transport. We then brainstormed to find as many issues with these modes of transport as we could, and we found many. The main problem areas we found were issues with public transport, problems created by other people, environmental factors like adverse weather conditions, and problems with self-preparation.


Brainstorming journeys and why they're stressful.

Eventually we decided focus on the daily journey to work or university by car, and through brainstorming we chose to highlight and try to solve problems and issues associated with road rage.

We thought that road rage was an area not really acknowledged or brought into the public eye enough as a day-to-day problem. Although a lot of people look at road rage as being a minor problem, it can cause people to act very aggressively, drive dangerously, and it can sometimes be the cause of accidents. We thought this was an area that deserved investigation, and needed solutions.

Road rage occurs most in busy towns and cities or when a person’s stress levels are high, which fits in to the brief of investigating daily journeys and commutes. Statistics show that traffic jams, pot holes, and even weather conditions can cause us to become stressed and behave in ways which you wouldn’t do normally. In the US approximately 2,500 accidents a year are the direct cause of angry or aggressive drivers; studies have shown that as many as 50% of all road accidents could be attributed to road rage. This goes to show that road rage is a bigger problem than we might initially think, and that there is a need for more extensive research into the problem.

As a team we brainstormed again to come up with ideas for solutions to aid in dealing with road rage, and produced lots of ideas.

More brainstorming.


Moving away from our more abstract ideas (flying cars and Futurama-style mass transit tubes) we focussed on three more doable solutions that came up during our brainstorm – stress balls situated in the car, air conditioning perfumed with calming scents, and an in-car CCTV system to record your behaviour. We chose to develop these ideas over others because they are quite simple and inexpensive, but they could have a large impact on drivers’ moods and behaviours.

To better our understanding of the problems we were looking at, Esther and Kirstie investigated more into the psychology and statistics of road rage, Kristen investigated the use of stress balls to help relieve stress, Steven looked at aromatherapy, researching the effects of different scents on peoples’ moods, and I researched video recording and online communities for use in learning about and changing your behaviour.

Through development and peer feedback we made several adjustments to our original ideas. We realised that letting go of the steering wheel to use a stress ball, albeit with one hand, would be quite dangerous while driving, so we decided that our stress ball would have to fit on to the steering wheel so the driver could access it instantly. This could be a very cost-effective and fun way of tackling stress as it happens. We moved from using the car’s air conditioning to using a simple air freshener design, like many people use in their cars already, which again is cost-effective and simple.

We realised that having a dedicated in-car camera for recording the driver’s behaviour would be quite excessive, so we developed the idea to incorporate a smartphone with a front-facing camera, which many people may already have. The phone could be fixed to the dashboard using a plastic holder, making it easily accessible while driving, and our application could be opened with the press of just one button. We also discussed the app starting automatically when the driver becomes stressed, using some sort of heart monitor, or when loud noises or quick movements happen inside the car. We didn’t develop this idea much further, but the application could be started before the car is even in motion, to reduce any distractions whilst driving.

Application prototype 01.

Starting up the smartphone app is simple.

To sum up, we propose to produce a stress ball-like product that can fit onto the steering wheel of an automobile, so it can be used to provide stress relief while driving. We would also produce air fresheners scented with camomile, bergamot, sandalwood, and rosemary, which are found to be particularly calming on peoples’ moods.

Finally we propose to provide an online service and smartphone application to record and share videos, and connect with other users, to share and learn about their behaviours. The service could be moderated by psychologists who provide advice, and through prompts help the users to reflect on and learn from their behaviour.

Application prototype 02.

An online community for connecting and learning.


Burns, R. G., Katovich, M. A., 2003. Examining Road Rage/Aggressive Driving Media Depiction and Prevention Suggestions. Environment and Behaviour Journal. 35 (5) pp. 621-636.

Dula,C. S., Adams, C. L., Meisner, M. T. and Leonard, R. L. 2010. Examining Relationships between Anxiety and Dangerous Driving. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 42(6):2050-2056.

Huang, J. J. S., Yang, S. J. H., Huang, Y.-M., and Hsiao, I. Y. T., 2010. Social Learning Networks: Build Mobile Learning Networks Based on Collaborative Services. Educational Technology & Society, 13 (3) pp. 78-92.

Huneycutt, J. 2010. Road Rage and You [Online] (01 July 2010) Available at: http://ohsonline.com/articles/2010/07/01/road-rage-and-you.aspx  [Accessed 05 December 2011].

Lupton, D., 2002. Road Rage: Drivers’ Understandings and Experiences.  Journal of Sociology, 38 (3) pp. 275-290.

Park, J.-Y., 2011. Expression and Connection: the Integration of the Reflective Learning Process and the Writing Process into Social Network Sites. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7 (1)

Wickens, C. 2011. Age Group Differences in Self-Reported Aggressive Driving Perpetration and Victimization. Transportation Research, 14 (5) pp. 400-412.

Assignment 3: Looking Up, Looking Down.

For Change by Design’s 3rd assignment I chose to research more closely the areas of learning through video playback and using online communities and mobile devices for learning, in relation to our chosen subject in assignment 2 – road rage. I also sourced a couple of articles on road rage in general, as I feel it is beneficial to understand the psychology behind road rage. I spent a fair bit of time in DJCAD’s library computer suite using CrossSearch, a service which allows Dundee University students to search through databases, library catalogues, electronic journals, and information held on external websites, and which I must admit I found frustrating at times.

I have produced an annotated bibliography of books and articles which I think are relevant to my area of research:

Cheng, G., 2009. Digital Video for Fostering Self-Reflection in an ePortfolio Environment. Learning Media and Technology, 34 (4) pp. 337-350

Here Cheng studies whether digital video playback affects the level of self-reflection and peer feedback in online learning. This study found evidence to support the use of video as a reflective tool in an online learning context.

Galovski, T., E., Malta, S., L., Blanchard, E., B., 2005. Road Rage: Assessment and Treatment of the Angry, Aggressive Driver. American Psychological Association.

This book examines the psychology of road rage and also looks at cognitive-behavioural treatment for angry, aggressive drivers.

Gordon, C., 2009. Reviewing how distraction involvement is coded in the New Zealand crash analysis system [Online] (Updated 17September 2009) Available at: http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/irtadpublic/pdf/seoul/3-Gordon.pdf [Accessed 2 November 2011].

This article contains many relevant figures about road accidents due to distraction while driving – we don’t want to create a service that requires too much attention while the user is driving (e.g. using a mobile device while driving, not keeping their mind/eyes on the road, etc.).

Huang, J. J. S., Yang, S. J. H., Huang, Y.-M., & Hsiao, I. Y. T., 2010. Social Learning Networks: Build Mobile Learning Networks Based on Collaborative Services. Educational Technology & Society, 13 (3) pp. 78-92

This article considers the online knowledge sharing networks that have been made popular by the advent of Web 2.0, which easily facilitates interaction with other people, and looks at matching learning partners with similar interests and specialties.

Park, J.-Y., 2011. Expression and Connection: the Integration of the Reflective Learning Process and the Writing Process into Social Network Sites. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7 (1)

In this article Park looks to improve the quality of reflective learning on social networking sites by introducing individual reflection and collaboration into the learning process. This could be useful for our service because we want people to be able to look back on their behaviour and learn from it, rather than just create a log of things that have happened and move on.

Patterson, P. G., McColl-Kennedy, J. R., Smith, A. K., Lu, Z., 2009. Customer Rage: Triggers, Tipping Points, and Take-Outs. California Management Review, 52 (1) pp. 6-28

This article recognises that road rage, school rage, and customer rage are becoming increasingly common in our everyday lives. It examines the underlying psychological processes of stress, explores the triggers that give rise to rage behaviours, identifies the tipping points for incidents of anger and rage, and explores the extent to which these circumstances and coping behaviours can be generalized across Eastern and Western cultures. It also talks about actions that can be taken by managers to prevent customer rage.

Robelia, B., A., Greenhow, C.,Burton, L., 2011. Environmental Learning in Online Social Networks: Adopting Environmentally Responsible Behaviors. Environmental Education Research, 17 (4) pp. 553-575

This article focuses on environmental issues – greenhouse gas emissions, etc. – but it could certainly be relevant to our service too. The authors studied the use of an application in Facebook and found that self-reported environmentally conscious behaviours increased during the users’ use of the application.

Yeh, Y.-C., 2010. Analyzing Online Behaviors, Roles, and Learning Communities via Online Discussions. Educational Technology & Society, 13 (1) p. 140

In this article Yeh looks at online learning communities, and identifies the main behaviours and identities that can be found in online communities. The main behaviours found in these online communities are creating a positive attitude, providing opinions, and providing reminders about assignment-related work, and the main online identities found are information providers, opinion providers, and troublemakers.

I have also compiled a list of journals and online resources relating both to design in general, and specifically to textiles:

The Design Journal is an international journal covering all aspects of design, and is published 4 times a year.

Made, part of the Materials Knowledge Transfer Network, is published three times a year.

The International Journal of Design publishes research papers in all fields of design, and is published 3 times a year.

National Geographic is always worth a browse.

As is Discovery News.

And the good old BBC.

Craft Scotland, the home of Scottish Craft, is great for exploring crafts and the community of designer-makers in Scotland.

Crafts Council aims to “build a strong economy and infrastructure for contemporary craft”, “increase and diversify the audience for contemporary craft”, and “champion high quality contemporary craft practice nationally and internationally.”

Textile Forum aims to cover as much of the textiles industry as possible in vivid detail.

Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture is published 3 times a year, and “brings together research in textile studies in an innovative and distinctive academic forum for all those who share a multifaceted view of textiles within an expanded field.”

Textile Report delivers “extensive trend information for the whole textile and fashion market” 4 times a year.

Purple Fashion is a French magazine on fashion, art, and culture, published biannually.

Selvedge “covers fine textiles in every context: fine art, interiors, fashion, travel and shopping”. Published 6 times a year, it’s always worth a look.

Assignment 2, part 2.

Following on from my previous Assignment 2 post, my team met up at lunch time on Monday for one last bit of discussion and mind mapping. We picked three of the possible solutions for road rage that we brainstormed last time, and made a mind map of how they would work, and how they could be used.

Mind mapping.

Mind mapping our solutions.

We decided that our three best options were:

  1. a stress ball installed as the gear knob in your car
  2. the air conditioning in your car being perfumed with calming scents, like lavender
  3. in-car CCTV, with a camera attached to the rear-view mirror, so that you could play back video of your journey, watch your behaviour, and learn from it; there would also be a service attached to this – an ‘app’ where you could track your progress in learning to deal with your road rage, and a forum where road-ragers could post and talk about their issues
Mind mapping.

A mind map of our 3 final solutions.

I think that all three of these solutions could be used together – squeezing the stress ball could trigger the air conditioning to come on, to cool you down and chill you out with a wee burst of lavender, or your own chosen calming scent, and of course, later on you could review the CCTV footage of you raging in your car and begin to work on your behaviour and learn from your road rage experience. Squeezing the stress ball could even trigger your smartphone app to put a note with a time stamp and a geotag in your calendar, so that you could see if you become stressed at any particular times or places in your journeys.

I have quite enjoyed working on this assignment. It’s been refreshing to work on something that doesn’t entail sitting and working in my material matters sketchbook, and it’s also been a new experience for me to work as part of a team.

Service design.

I’ve heard whispers of the name RedJotter through the grapevine for a while now, but have only really been aware of it in the same way I’m aware of, say, The Wire – something I’ve heard the basic premise of, something that’s meant to be really good, but something that I’ve largely ignored because it’s not what I’m traditionally interested in. The Wire is a really good gritty crime drama. RedJotter is a service designer. Oh, okay.

RedJotter is Lauren Currie, co-founder of Snook, a social innovation and service design outfit based in Glasgow, and a bit of a powerhouse. She came to speak to us Change by Design students on Friday, and held a workshop where we worked in teams to brainstorm, journey map, and design a solution (a service) for a problem. Each team was asked to pick a time when we’d experienced bad service design, and eleven out of twelve teams picked dealing with SAAS. The twelfth team picked public transport.

Brainstorming, journey mapping.

Brainstorming, journey mapping.

My team decided, through brainstorming and journey mapping (mapping the touch-points of a journey – your SAAS awards letter, the phone, being on hold, speaking to someone, etc.) that a lot of peoples’ frustrations came from the call centre way of working (many had tried email, and never even been answered!) – you wait for ages to speak to someone, have to “Press 1 if… Press 2 if…”, and often have to be passed from one member of staff to another. One of our team had received several letters containing wrong information and had to make several phone calls, each time having to explain herself many times and each time speaking to someone different. We decided that each university, or at least each university town, should have its own SAAS branch or office, where you could visit on a certain day or at a certain time designated to your course or where in the alphabet your name falls, and where you have one adviser to help you throughout your whole SAAS experience, so there would be no risk of miscommunication between staff, and fewer “lost” files.



Paper prototyping.

Paper prototyping our feedback system.

I found Friday’s lecture and workshop really interesting and really enjoyable. I found Lauren’s passion and confidence really inspiring – it’s difficult to imagine that she was once me, just a second year design student who hadn’t found “her thing” yet.

I had never thought much about service design before. I imagined it was just the domain of suited-up bigwigs, who decide how their companies should be run. I still find it a little bit difficult to connect everything Lauren spoke about to myself, I suppose, like I said, because I haven’t really found “my thing” yet. Even so, I really enjoyed the whole day, and I look forward to seeing how far RedJotter and Snook will go!