If you’ve been involved in user experience or researched some of its methods and best practices, then you’re probably well aware of Nielsen Norman Group. They’re a consulting agency best known for their research, reports and training highlighting what’s been proven to work in usability and showcasing examples of interfaces that utilize best practices and those that don’t.
As with most UX practitioners, they are making their way into the area of design thinking and have recently released the following video highlighting the key components of service blueprints, one of our favourite tools to use when designing great experiences, particularly in more complex service environments.
If you need to explain to a stakeholder group what a service blueprint is, this video might help. Adding to what NN/g is highligthing in the video, we’d also be sure to include ‘pain points’, ‘opportunities’ and even ‘platform’ or ‘system’ to ensure you can assess the efficiency of the service you’re delivering in a given environment.
On March 14 and 15, we had the opportunity to work with some really smart and passionate people in talking about service design and the role it plays in delivering a great customer experience.
With workshop attendees representing government, finance, post-secondary institutions, IT, small business and more, there was a whole lot of great discussion, ideation and sharing to go along with the curriculum and activities that covered the two-day session.
Held at the new Fairfield Marriott in Regina, the workshop covered topics such as the importance of customer experience, the impact on businesses and the common challenges why organizations are having such a hard time moving the needle. From there, we moved into strategy, business model development and innovation, design research and understanding the needs and the world of your customer. We discussed and created a business model canvas, customer journey maps, personas, service blueprints and even went through a very condensed design sprint.
I don’t know if it’s the prairie water or the promise of spring, but we were so energized by the highly engaged, insightful and quick learning participants of the workshop. There was lively and astute discussion about the importance of change management, gaining buy-in for service design and the challenges organizations face in implementing new features, products or services to improve the overall customer experience.
It was a great success, feedback was extremely positive and we are confident that there are consumers and stakeholders that will begin to realize better experiences with the organizations that were represented in the workshop.
If you’re familiar with service design in North America, you know that there are limited options for training and education in this space.
There are some excellent events offered in San Francisco, some formal education provided by SCAD in Atlanta – but there really isn’t a hands-on workshop style offering that quickly gets you up and running with service design. This is certainly the case when it comes to service design in Canada.
We are happy to announce that Tesani will be regularly offering a two-day service design workshop in different locations throughout Canada. In this hands-on workshop, we will not only be sharing concepts and strategies related to service design, but we will also be actively learning and doing many of the key of the methods and tools utilized within he practice. This includes concepts such as journey maps, service blueprints, empathy mapping, personas, design research, design sprints, business model canvas development and more. Our intent is to allow participants to walk away from the workshop with the ability to start applying service design in their professional role the following day.
Our first event is scheduled for March in Regina, Saskatchewan. From there, we are currently planning events in Vancouver and Montreal.
Visit our Workshops page to learn more and to subscribe by email to receive updates about announcements for upcoming workshops.
We’re really excited to share our knowledge and experience with service design with those who can apply it in their work and we look forward to meeting champions of great experiences from all across the country.
On Thursday, December 1, I had the opportunity to speak at the very first service design conference in Canada. It was a fantastic event organized and hosted by the Canadian chapter of the Service Design Network and was held at the Rotman School of Management in downtown Toronto.
It was extremely impressive to see the strength of knowledge, experience and commitment to service design within the room. Attendees were varied in their application and role within the practice of service design. The event included speakers from newer startups such as Breather, the B.C. Department of Justice, Fidelity Labs, the City of Calgary, Bristol-Myers and a variety of agencies and consultancies.
Certainly a theme within the conference and and much of the dialogue surrounded ‘selling’ service design to leaders, decision makers, colleagues and other stakeholders. This is not surprising for a newer methodology such as service design that certainly disrupts the way organizations work and make decisions. In Canada, where the service design community isn’t as mature as other locations such as Europe, this is certainly a challenge we currently face.
The conference had two streams running, which included the larger theatre where attendees could hear talk and panels from a variety of practitioners as well as a workshop stream that allowed participants to take part in quick activities of just over an hour. The workshops were certainly popular and I expect will grow in size in future conferences.
My particular talk told the story about introducing service design in a corporate environment and provided tips on how others could successfully do the same. The response to my talk was very positive and found myself engaged with lots of people asking questions throughout the remainder of the day. Thankfully, my message and lessons learned seem to hit the mark for a lot of people.
It really was a world-class event and I was extremely impressed by the work by the SDN Canada chapter. At the end of the event, they’d mentioned that they would be taking the service design conference outside of Toronto and to a different location in Canada. I’m doubting it will find its way to Regina, but I look forward to the event as I’m sure they will ‘iterate’ from the ‘discovery’ of it’s inaugural event.
The most successful organizations and brands are those that start with people when it comes to creating products or services that deliver great experiences.
Conceptually, that makes total sense but how do you tangibly put that concept into action? This is where personas come into play. Personas can be a powerful tool to create empathy for your service users with internal stakeholders and design teams as well as to ensure there is an understanding of nuances, behaviours and preferences of the people you are attempting to serve. Creating a great experience impacts the user’s emotions and it’s difficult to effectively design something impactful for a stat, segment or an ambiguous ‘user’. This is where personas can help.
Personas make thoughts, feelings, pain-points and needs more real for those designing something of value for people.
A persona is essentially a fictional representation of users of your service, typically developed based on design research such as interviews, surveys and other insights. Most often, there are often multiple personas of service users if there are key differences in preferences, behaviours, needs and objectives. The idea is to prioritize your personas based on whatever criteria makes sense to you. This allows you to either figure out how you can provide solutions to serve your diverse users based on their characteristics or to focus on those that are the top priority.
Personas commonly have names, images and narratives that make them more real and easy to recall. Often in our work, we find ourselves in a deep discussion about features or capabilities, “Well, this certainly wouldn’t be of value to Susan because she primarily relies on mobile for anything online.” Personas are almost a means to vet future state journeys based on what you know about people from your research and how to best make an impact.
So take the time to conduct both quantitative and qualitative research to paint a clear picture of the people who will use your service. Creating personas is both a mix of science and art, so be ready to get creative. Print and hang those personas in your meeting rooms or office to remind you of the emotions and successes that will make your experience stand out. Remember we’re designing for people and personas are a great way to keep that top of mind.