BLOG: SCOTTISH APPROACH TO SERVICE DESIGN
WHAT IS SERVICE DESIGN?
I'm just back from a three day Service Design Champion course run by Scottish Government on a trial basis. It was an excellent way to introduce the principles of service design and update my 1990's based understanding of user research. Most importantly I got to use the "double diamond" diagram to problem solve.
As I settled in on the first day, my neighbour (let's call him Bob) referring to my first attempt at drawing a person exclaimed "Oh wow, what even is that?" It's true that I was not blessed with artistic skills and I never did get that blue peter badge. However by the end of the three days, my drawing had not improved much but I was completely sold on the value of even poor drawings over lots of writing. The use of visual tools really helped get conversations going between the groups.
Day two and we went out on the street and did some user research via observation. The user research challenged my initial assumptions around the brief we had been given. Then we developed storyboards and mapped out experiences which lead to the generation of ideas then prototyping.
Staff attended the course from different councils including Argyll and Bute, the City of Edinburgh, Dundee City, Stirling, Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire. It is worth noting that Dundee City Council is a lead in the area of service design and is heading up the Scottish Approach to Service Design project for the councils (Steven's blog).#
FIVE THINGS I'VE LEARNT TO ASK MYSELF WHEN LOOKING AT A COUNCIL SERVICE
1. What is the real problem that a service or product is trying to fulfil?
2. What do our users experience before, during and after the service?
3. How do we involve staff who deliver the service in the user research so they can sense check and become part of the insight, testing and redesign
4. Can we change our transformation methods to work with users to redesign services, showing them prototypes and continually reviewing and refining with their input and the support of staff across different services in the council and other related agencies.
5. Acceptance that some things will not work out but we will learn from them
MYTH - FACT OR FICTION? MY THOUGHTS
User research involves capturing random people on the street (FALSE)
FACT- It is best to try and go to the user, where possible, in their own environment. Ethics is very important but you can use observation with consent. User research covers observation, interviews, pop up places, safaris and scanning other research.
You should ask the user what they need (FALSE)
FACT- you should ask about their experiences and their challenges rather than asking them what they need.
User research must be statistically representative (FALSE)
FACT- You should gather experiences of range of users and you should prioritise gaining insight from those people who, for whatever reason, find your service experience more challenging.
Sharpies and post its are essential for service design (TRUE)
The value of a visual is much more powerful than written word (TRUE)
You need to be able to draw like Tony Hart to use the methods (FALSE albeit it does help!)
You can use your experience of users to develop typical personas (FALSE, FALSE and FALSE)
FACT- this is the trap we often fall into in council services- we assume what our users want and need instead of asking them about their experience
A prototype must be a physical thing to show someone (FALSE- it can be a role play/ a conversation)
You cannot release things if they are not complete (FALSE)
FACT- it is best to start showing things to the user as soon as you can so you get continual feedback, this means you are testing and refining as you go along, you can explain it is a prototype.
Agile and Service Design are two separate mindsets (FALSE)
FACT- No they work together- service design is the full end to end experience which defines the problem and desired solution meanwhile agile takes the opportunities identified and helps deliver the solutions/ outcomes with the most ease using an iterative user centred approach.
SOME OF THE METHODS WE USED
- Double diamond
- Customer Journey Mapping
- The R.A D idea (using objects to spark ideas)
- User research- field research/ - observation
- How Might We
- Problem Statement
- Idea Selection
- Prototype- desktop walk through
- Parking lot