Process

Week One – Understanding the Context

In the first week, students focused on defining an area of concentration – a specific part of the end-user experience or current service delivery model – on which to build a user research plan. The group’s primary task was to generate quickly a broad understanding of the existing system. Who are the primary stakeholders? What shifts in technology are having an impact on the delivery of services? What new interface needs are emerging?

Jens Ingemann – Director of Copenhagen Libraries, Pernille Schaltz – Head of Copenhagen Public Library, Knud Shultz – Head of Aarhus Public Library and Jakob Heide – Head of Division, Danish Agency for Libraries and Media briefed the class on the current state of service delivery, key social, economic and technological trends, and current plans for innovation. Students also participated in a set of initial user research interviews to gain awareness of key issues, vocabulary and service delivery from the end-user’s perspective.

Student teams collaborated to develop a high-level system snap-shot to guide research planning. Output for the system snap-shot was intended to capture the problem landscape and to help anticipate design factors that will influence the eventual solution.

Week Two – Gathering User Insight

During week two, teams conducted field research to gather design inspiration and refine their understanding of the design domain. The teams captured research according to their own plan requirements (video, still image, voice recorder, etc.). Teams also conducted research ‘storytelling’ sessions at the end of each day, capturing observations and initial insights on post-its.

At the end of the week, each team presented an overview of its key research findings and described the design challenge it planned to pursue. The fieldwork helped the team frame the problem space in a new way, so students were encouraged not to focus on concept ideas or design solutions.

Week Three – Generating Concepts

In week three, student teams moved from problem definition to concept development. Initially, the teams brainstormed a wide array of potential service solutions. As work progressed, however, teams refined their design criteria in order to gain greater clarity and specificity. Once brainstorming was completed, each team defined a small number of potential service concepts for review with faculty.

Week Four – Exploring the User Experience

The class then shifted from design thinking to action as students built experience prototypes of their team’s new service offering. The goal of experience prototyping is to sharpen the designer’s understanding of his or her design intent – How does the prototype help to inform the team’s thinking about and iterative development of the service solution?

Each team tested its proposed service solutions in the real world with real people. The design teams sought to understand if and how these ideas bring value to potential users. Real users were asked to test service prototypes as part of their everyday practice. The student designers reviewed the results of the experience prototyping for clues on how to enhance their service solutions in ways that optimise the activities, needs and expectations of all the users.

Week Five – Solution/Concept

Week five was intended to bring the experience of the Service Design course together – a final look at the proposed service solutions and the process used to develop it. Teams incorporated user feedback into the final iterative expression of their design concepts, tracking the changes to reflect user input. In a final presentation to colleagues and faculty, teams were evaluated on both the design solution and the process by which it was achieved.