Thinking Like a Service Designer
With a more robust thesis statement in hand, I thought about ways to combine the idea of self-reflection with the online community I had originally envisioned. I was frustrated with the lag time in having not made a single tangible thing in months and found it helpful to start making things so I could continue thinking through and clarifying my ideas.
February 9–12, 2011
I took five days out of the middle of the semester to travel to Boulder, Colorado for Interaction 11 with a few of my classmates. It turned out to be a valuable experience, if only as a means for recharging.
I was excited to travel to a new place and to see all the distinct communities of people I know who had come together for the conference. It was a weekend of good conversations about design, with plenty of new ideas being shared to add fuel to the discussion. My thesis was resting in the back of my mind during the entire trip, with each presentation hitting on some piece of the puzzle I had been thinking about.
My advisor Ben and I had a lovely thesis check-in meeting in the warm sunshine on the patio of the conference hotel. In our conversation I realized I was ready to stop thinking about everything and just start making things.
I needed to step away from the details of the interaction and start thinking about the bigger picture. I designed a service blueprint that articulates each stage of a user’s experience with my system over time. I modified an actor-based service blueprint to include the changing mental state of my primary actor, the teacher. Describing my ideas against an axis of time helped me define service moments that would turn into the key touch points for my design: a website hub and an iPhone app that would utilize time-sensitive interactions in the school environment.
With each step in the process my work became more detailed. After mapping out the high level service moments I started thinking about what the design of each piece would be. Before I could sketch the site map and wireframes for the website and app I needed to consider what pieces a teacher would need to access to accomplish his goals in the system. Visualizing the sequence of interactions was a crucial step in understanding how the touch points would need to be designed.