Digital TransformationService Design

Service Design at GDS – What is Service Design?

Meg Douglas Howie, Lead designer on Verify, shares what service design looks like at GDS and what service designers do there.

In this video at the Delivery & Support Huddle on 22 August, Meg Douglas Howie, Lead designer on GOV.UK Verify, shared what service design looks like at GDS and what service designers do there.

Before summarizing the video, let’s talk about what service design is and what does service design do?

What is service design?

Service design is a process where designers create sustainable solutions and optimal experiences for both customers in unique contexts and any service providers involved. Designers break services into sections and adapt fine-tuned solutions to suit all users’ needs in context—based on actors, location and other factors. Service design originated from the combination of marketing, service operations, and user-centered design.

Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider, authors of This is Service Design Thinking, identify five key principles—for service design to be:

  1. User-centered – Use qualitative research to design focusing on all users.
  2. Co-creative – Include all relevant stakeholders in the design process.
  3. Sequencing – Break a complex service into separate processes and user journey sections.
  4. Evidencing – Envision service experiences to make them tangible for users to understand and trust brands.
  5. Holistic – Design for all touchpoints throughout experiences, across networks of users and interactions

Service design concepts and ideas are typically portrayed visually, using different representation techniques according to the culture, skill and level of understanding of the stakeholders involved in the service processes. Services unfold over time. Some parts of services are visible to the service user; these parts are called front stage. Some parts of services are not visible to the service user; these parts are called backstage.

What does service design do?

Service designers design the end-to-end journey of a service. This helps a user complete their goal and the government delivers a policy intent. In this role, your work may involve the creation of, or change to, transactions, products and content across both digital and offline channels provided by different parts of government.

Video Summary

Service design is the design of services in a simple word. There are different heads and the sort of design process and they use a researcher who is looking at understanding user needs content and designers are designing content. What do service designers actually do is to have the bigger picture overview. There are two aspects of service design one is interaction design and another is service design. Service data designers  look more holistically across the experience across all kinds of different products or services. 

At first step service designers think end-to-end then front to back after that they look across cross channels. Service designers firstly identify what the real problem is, then they try to solve the problem step by step. They facilitate a shared understanding within and outside the team. They also spot opportunities for reducing cost and complexity. They do this for the users to simplify the process.

Service designers are often kind of weaving together and aligning these three different areas, organisation perspective, user perspective and technology perspective. At the organization level there are senior decision makers and delivery teams. Service designers zoom in and out to spot gaps and new opportunities.

They rethink the future service to encourage the team to shape what to work on next. Their main purpose is to make it easy and safe for people to create and reuse their digital identities so they can access services across the public and private sector. Their first mission is to design the future model. Then they do blue printing service. They communicate the big picture, inform priorities, share knowledge and context  and help different disciplines work together effectively.

The service designers are most effective at making sure that the problem is right from the first. They do this by bringing together big changes into a cohesive whole. They always make sure that the layers of product, technology, operations and policy knit together into something that works for users. 

Video Timeline

0:00 Intro

1:19 What do service designers do? 

4:31 What do service designers do at each design phase?

6:15 What is the vision of service designers? 

8:46 How does service blue printing work? 

12:03 When do service designers help the most? 

13:25 Outro

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