UX Australia 2013 Workshop and Talk

If you’re here, it’s because you either went to my talk or workshop at UX Australia 2013 or someone told you about it. Below are the links to download the slides and notes. If you’re reading this before or during my talk or workshop, they might not be there yet.

Designing services for messy lives

Here are my slides from my talk, Designing services for messy lives (11.1MB).

Thanks to all of those who attended – I hope you enjoyed it.

Service design blueprinting workshop

We instantly recognise the design craft and appeal of an iPhone or a Porsche, but why are our experiences with so many services so dismal? From finance to healthcare, telecommunication to mobility, public services to large commercial organisations, well-designed services are the exception rather than the rule, yet services make up for around 80% of developed nations’ GDPs.

UX designers have done much to champion the user experience, but the focus has been primarily on screen-based experiences. Service design is the design for experiences that unfold over time and reach people through many different touchpoints – not only screens. With a focus on designing with people, not just for them, service design provides a powerful set of methods that help map out the entire service ecosystem, discover insights, track people’s journeys through the service and help you design coherent service experiences. If the touchpoint experiences in the service don’t hang together coherently, the best UX design in the world is wasted.

This half-day, hands-on workshop into service blueprinting will dive straight into the heart of service design’s methods and mindset. Blueprinting is a flexible and powerful approach useful for everything from mapping out and making sense of insights research, through brainstorming and ideation to design specification and measurement.

The workshop will expand upon your existing UX skills and help you design better services. It will cover:

  • An explanation of the key principles and mindset of service design, the differences and commonalities with UX
  • The anatomy of a service blueprint – from overview to detail and back again
  • How to use insights as a driver for innovation by using the blueprint for brainstorming and ideation
  • How to use service blueprints to align experiences with user and business goals as well as the backstage process that need to happen to support these experiences
  • Using the blueprint to generate user journeys, storyboards and design specifications ready for implementation
  • A look at how the service blueprint can be used a vehicle to measure the business value of service design

Who is it for?

Web and UX designers will have an opportunity to expand on their existing skills in order to make the argument for good UX across the entire service. Those involved client-side in running UX and CX teams will also benefit – blueprinting is intended to engage all stakeholders on a project. As the workshop is quite short, it would be useful if you already have some knowledge of insights research, so that we can hit the ground running.

Details for the Day


Time Activity
9.00-9.45 Introduction to service design and the anatomy of a service blueprint
9.45-10.30 Blueprinting as a tool to brainstorm, analyse and develop service concepts. Getting started on the wall.
11.00-12.00 Taking journeys through the blueprint to develop storyboards, design & business specifications
12.00-12.30 Elevator pitches!

Workshop activities

The workshop will start with a lightning introduction to service design with a particular focus on the differences (and similarities) to UX and an introduction to the anatomy of a service blueprint. After this you will be divided into teams of five people, given a brief and asked to brainstorm service concepts, using the blueprint to map out your emerging ideas. Your task will be expand this across multiple channels and phases of the service experience and also consider what backstage business elements will need to be in place to support the experience.

I will be on hand to briefly coach each team, pushing you to zoom back and forth between detail and the overall service proposition. When the service proposition and blueprint are decently developed, you will take a “journey” through the blueprint and can either sketch this out as a storyboard, series of design specs or simply role-play the experience for us in a three-minute elevator pitch (depending on time).

Workshop brief

On a normal project, you would start with the usual kinds of stakeholder insights research (users, customers, participants, staff, experts, etc.) to frame your project and give it direction. This might include field research (guided interviews, shadowing, expert interviews, observation, etc.), desk research and workshops of different flavours (generative, co-design, project team). Given that most of these methods should be well known to UX practitioners and that we only have 3.5 hours, we’re going to have to assume that part has already been done. However, you will have to spend 10-15 minutes generating some “insights” within your group, based on your own experiences.

The library of the future

Libraries are facing challenges from all sides. On the one hand, the digital world is posing challenges to the tradition model. What does a library offer in the age of e-books, Wikipedia, Google and instant access to knowledge on the move?

On the other hand, their physical presences are being threatened by local government cuts as a ripple effect of the global financial crisis (thanks, bankers). Legitimate questions are being asked about what the importance of a city or town library is and whether still have relevance. Who uses libraries and why? Should it be just a building full of books or something else? Can it reach across the city and beyond its walls in different ways? What is the essence of a library as a service and how can and will this change?

The brief itself is really just a vehicle for you to get your minds around service design as a way of thinking and to give you a subject for blueprinting. It is much easier to learn this by doing rather than by just hearing about it.

Faux insights

In order to speed up this workshop process, we’re going to generate some “faux insights” through the bad practice of just discussing this amongst yourselves. Swap your anecdotes and thoughts about your own experience with libraries. Do you even use one? Do you think they’re irrelevant? What other services could libraries offer? If you have time, you can go an interview some people nearby who are, at least, outside of your group. Go and ask some of the staff around the conference building.

Here are some insights that have come from other workshops where participants have had more time to go and out do hit-and-run research with passers-by and from librarians themselves:

  • Many people like the idea of libraries as “a good thing” even if they don’t use them personally
  • The pain of a library is having to drop the books back off.
  • Librarians have a lot of great knowledge, but are hidden behind their desks and people don’t want to disturb them.
  • They are not so friendly and could be much more welcoming and comfortable to work in, also as groups.
  • Some people are hygiene-phobic about reading books so many other people have touched (really).
  • Libraries don’t make very good use of the data they collect automatically on people’s reading habits
  • Libraries should have a presence beyond their walls online, in the city
  • Libraries an educational resource for many other socio-economic and ethnic groups

Slides and template downloads

Here are some downloads from my workshop:

20% book discount for UX Australia participants

If you’d like to know more about service design, we just wrote a book about it called Service Design: From Insight to Implementation.

Rosenfeld Media are a sponsor of UX Australia 2013 and participants get a 20% discount off. Just us “uxaustralia” as a code when you checkout.