What is Service Design?

Service design is a process in which the designer focuses on creating optimal service experiences. Service design is all about taking a service and making it meet the user’s and customer’s needs for that service. It can be used to improve an existing service or to create a new service from scratch. Service Design is all about making your customer's experience of your product or solution seamless, easy, and wherever possible, joyful.

Five principles for effective Service Design:

  1. User-centered, through understanding the user by doing qualitative research.
  2. Co-creative, by involving all relevant stakeholders in the design process.
  3. Sequencing, by partitioning a complex service into separate processes.
  4. Evidencing, by visualising service experiences and making them tangible.
  5. Holistic, by considering touchpoints in a network of interactions and users.

What does Service Design look like?

The Service Design process often includes the creation of personas, customer journey maps, and service design blueprints. The latter two are ways to visualise the different actions customers take and the touchpoints they encounter across a service experience. These visual maps give you rich information about how your customer is feeling at each point in the process, which parts they find easy or joyful, and which parts need your attention as a designer to make improvements.

Front-stage vs Backstage

When creating customer journey maps and service design blueprints, it's also valuable to map the actions and activities an organisation needs to take to create and support the customer's experience. These can be split into front-stage and backstage activities. Front-stage activities mean everything that can be 'seen' by your customer - this will mostly consist of the interactions they have with you and your organisation, from emails and phone calls to any documents or artifacts you exchange with them. Backstage activities mean anything you do behind the scenes that directly influence the customer's experience of a particular product or solution. This could include things like triggering processes using internal systems, preparation or follow-up on either side of customer touchpoints, and any relevant data tracking.


The difference between front-stage and backstage activities will become more clear when you see more examples and have a go at creating a service design blueprint for yourself - which is what's coming next!

Happy Cubbing!