Service Design

What is Service design?

Service design is a human-centred design approach to for improving the quality of a service. Service design differs from User Experience Design in that it service design seeks to improve the experience for both the end user and the staff of which is giving the service.

Service design has brought to light that everything is subject to innovation, not just physical products but also political systems, economic policy and medical research

~ Laura Weiss, IDEO

Although service design has been been around in the pre-digital years, but the internet as caused a huge disruptive effect to legacy industries such as banking, airline and retail industries. Companies such as n26, Ryanair and Asos have all raised the bar in user expectations of digital and non-digital services.

Traditionally, service design used a ‘Double Diamond’ technique which was pioneered by The UK Design Council. The Double Diamond technique consists of four steps that change from converging and diverging. These steps need to executed in succession we ideally leads to a redesigned service.

  1. Discover
  2. Define
  3. Develop
  4. Deliver


Key Principles of Service Design

  1. Service Design is user-centred
  2. Service design is sequential
  3. Service design is quantitative
  4. Service design is iterative
  5. Service design is holistic

Customer Journey and touch points

“A customer journey is literally the route a customer or user takes to make use of your service. It is important to also consider the route the customer must take before using the service, and what happens after he has made use of your service. This means that all elements pre- and post-service also need to be taken into consideration when designing.”


Service Design in the Public Sector

It’s not only private industries are being disrupted with the rise of service design. World-wide, Governments as have adopted human-cantered approach to design public services. Most notably, The Government Digital Service (GDS) has brought the United Kingdom’s has transformed the United Kingdom’s Government digital services. The GDS sets out to build platform, standard and digital services that focus on user needs which strive to make public services simpler and better, and to provide technology to government departments that empower their staff to do better work.

Service Design Methods

There are various methods that can be adopted through out a service design project. This methods include:

  • Framing – Context & Objective
  • User Insights – through user research
  • User Personas
  • Customer Journey Maps – which seeks to identify the best and worst parts of a customer’s experience.



  1. Laura Weiss, “Developing Tangible Strategies”, Design Management Journal, Winter 2002, pp. 34.