What is Service Design?

What is Service Design?
Let’s start with an example: Think of the last time you went to the DMV-
If your experience was like most people’s it was frustrating, took way too long,
and you probably didn’t leave feeling great. While waiting, you may have wondered,
“Why isn’t this service more satisfying?” and started imagining ways to improve your experience. Service design is the practice of making
services, just like the DMV, better through research, developing ideas, and testing experiences. Because you can’t see them, you probably
don’t think about services too often, but they are everywhere, and you’re interacting with dozens,
if not hundreds of them every day. Services range from product-based to intangible; and from simple, such as online videos, car mechanics, and in-store shopping to complicated: staying at a hotel, mortgages, and public transit to highly complex: education, healthcare, and government services. As you can see, services affect most areas of our lives. Actually, Services are so prolific that they now
account for a majority of the world’s GDP. So, what do service designers do? Every service is different, so there’s no one procedure set in stone. However, service designers usually collaborate with many
other disciplines while following these basic steps: We begin by talking to everyone involved with,
or affected by the service – collectively called stakeholders – to deeply understand their ideas on what
an ideal experience would look like. Compiling this research gives us a complete,
bird’s-eye view of the current service and what’s required to satisfy the needs
and motivations of each group. Based on these findings, we then work with the stakeholders to create a variety of ideas that we believe will improve the service. Next, we test our most appealing ideas with
real people using ‘service prototypes’ – which are mock-ups of an idea that allow someone to experience
how it feels to interact directly with new aspects of a service. For example, a small team of designers can quickly
test different kinds of appointments and express lanes to see how these changes can best improve their waiting line experience. Or, we might have employees at one DMV location
provide customers with free coffee, wifi, and a comfortable lounge area in order to test how these small changes
can improve the overall experience. Repeating these phases many times
allows us to better understand the problem while polishing our ideas and collecting them
into a complete service solution. At the end of the process we share the newly redesigned service
with the relevant stakeholders and provide them with a plan for implementing,
sustaining, and evolving it in the future. So, what are the results? When service design is done well, it’s like running a
highly-constructive group therapy session, in which stakeholders build symbiotic relationships and unify
on the common goal of producing great service experiences. This leads to services that are desirable,
enjoyable, effective, and efficient for providers, consumers, and society.


  • Duebrick

    this was very informative. thank you

  • Jo Ngo

    great! Helpful and I love the concept art too.

  • A7md0009

    It's useful.. Thank you. One small note: Music is distorting the voice of the presenter.

  • onlyrightone

    Nicely done. Well organized concise and easy to understand explanation. Making the intangible—tangible, i.e., Service Design.

  • jiuki c

    very helpful! Thank you

  • Sridharan Sankaran

    loud distracting music. Gives headache

  • molacool


  • Esben Bro

    Hi Yosef. I'm about to start up a small consultant business in Copenhagen. If okay with you I would like to use this video on my coming website to help explain the concept of service design – if you have the rights? Thanks in advance

  • Matthew Barnaby

    Yousef this is great thanks. I'm thinking of making an animation to compliment what i do which is (pretty much) similar (focusing on service design and delivery​ through agile). May I ask … did you make this video? if so what software or did you hire someone, if so could you recommend? Thanks from the UK!

  • Simon T

    Great work. A good and helpful explanation for my assignment. Video length not too long, just enough to capture what is important. Probably some literature references will help a lot.

  • Thiago Higuchi

    DANMMM! That's a GREAT video!

  • Annie Ky

    Great video! I always thought what i wanted was 'user experience design', but it would appear that 'service design' is more fitting

  • Isaac DT - Creative

    Thank you for this! great overview of what a service designer does. 😁

  • Future London Academy

    Love this! We just posted a really awesome interview with Jess from Adaptive Lab about how to become a service designer in London!


    Video is perfect but please don't add any single background music. It divert the concentration and understanding

  • mradul khale


  • Garey Stewart

    Nice presentation! I liked the animations it was cute. The information was well communicated. Kiitos 🙂

  • GoPaki TV

    Bad music – Music is higher than the voice


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