Service design – what is it all about? If we ask Wikipedia, it offers us the following definition: “the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service, in order to improve its quality, the interaction between service provider and customers and the customer’s experience”.
But as I work with designers at Metropolia UAS I decided to ask a more clarified explanation from Industrial Designer and Senior Lecturer Juha Ainoa:
– Service design is user driven, user centered design of services. The aim is to design the service experience so that the service meets both the needs of users and commercial goals of the service provider, explained Juha shortly and continued.
– For instance, if a service is expensive and time-consuming, the solution could be productization – the service could be defined to a certain level or the service could be brought online. A good example of this is online bank service, a service, which can be, used anywhere, anytime.
– Higher education institute offers services at its campuses for students, third party clients, and residents of the area. Whatever these services are they include processes and interaction at some point – this means that the premises need to be organized and planned accordingly. For instance, a virtual campus could be a website which offers information – this is also a service – but it can also be much more, like Metropolia’s future virtual campus will be as I have understood.
Metropolia’s design students got the chance to put theory in practice and drafted lobby service concepts for the future campuses last autumn. Juha was pleased with the outcomes of student teams.
– Team works succeeded in the sense that all teams handled the matter from the point of view of a different target group – students, staff, clients as well as residents of the area. Every team found relevant issues significant for the service in question. Students found solutions and finalized them for their selected target group. What was great, however, was that the solutions developed by different groups did not rule each other out. If something works well for students, for instance, it tends to work also for other target groups.
The students worked mainly upon the theme of campus guidance system and its relevance.
– Considering the system students found interesting aspects. Students and staff from other campuses will require good guidance when entering a campus for the first time, but after that they will know their way. So, do we really need a comprehensive and expensive guidance system? What the students realized was, however, that the system is not only for students and staff – a lot of people visit a campus only once in their life, e.g. deliverymen and people attending an evening course. The solutions of students were interesting – different kinds of users were taken into account and in that way they ended up to different kind of conclusions.
Also information screens were studied.
– Students came up with various reasons why info screens are needed by the classroom doors, including a reservation system indicating when the room is available and when not. Use cases were also identified with help of different the target groups, for instance cleaners could get the specific info concerning the cleaning of the room via screen by the door. Almost every team also placed an info screen in the lobby and they had nice realizations about uses of the screen. For instance a student can log in with it and find relevant info for her/him but for the visitors the screen works as a normal info screen.
By Katariina Saarela