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Putting People First

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Posts in category 'Service design'

31 August 2014

Converting your home to LED lights is still a challenging user experience

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Switching to LED bulbs in your home is still a bit expensive, but makes a lot of economic sense – as you quickly earn your money back through a MUCH lowered electricity bill. Yet it is quite a challenge for most people.

I just successfully replaced 40 halogen and incandescent bulbs of the most varied fittings, sizes, lighting strengths and shapes. The new bulbs all fit and have the luminosity and color warmth that we want in our house. But I can only conclude that industry and retailers need to do a much better job at explaining the challenges and helping customers understand why to buy LED bulbs and what types to buy.

The first impression most people have of LED lights are usually the display racks in retail stores. The fact that LED lights sometimes come in the most bizarre form factors are off-putting if anything, while key information is largely provided in jargon (kelvin, lumen, fitting mount codes, etc.).

The next thing you might then do is go online and search for more relevant information, only to get lost in myriads of blog posts, tech jargon filled pieces, or product tech sheets. The best backgrounders I found – with some effort – are this one from The Guardian and one from the European Commission (in 22 languages!). Nothing much from industry, where websites focus immediately on individual products.

Then you have to figure out what you need in your house (or office). Besides the fitting mounts, the bulb sizes and the wattages, there are four key things to take into account:

  • Colour temperature: In short, the lower “K” or “Kelvin”, the better. For home use stay on or below 2700K for a warm white.
  • Luminosity or light strength: Commonly described in watt, but the most accurate value is actually “lumen”, or even better “lux”.
  • Dimmability: Some LED bulbs can be dimmed but it is usually never clear if you need a special dimmer for that or can do so with your regular dimmer – so trying out is the only option consumers have. Good luck.
  • Avoiding false savings: As The Guardian writes, “halogen bulbs use so much electricity for the light they produce – just feel their heat – that it’s a false economy to wait until they blow to replace them”.

Finally there is purchasing itself. Most DIY stores and electricity supply retailers limit themselves to the most common bulb choices. Special sizes and fittings are not that easy to find. You may want to buy online (which is what I ended up doing).

It is generally recommended to buy only products from reliable brands (Philips, Samsung, etc.), as there is quite some unreliable junk on the market. But these “reliable” brands may not have the exact fitting mounts, wattage or colour temperature you are looking for. It is also hard to find out what quality control the various retailers have in place, and what guarantees consumers have if a product is not up to par.

In all, this is not a trivial matter. If all homes and offices in a city would switch to LED, much less power would be needed in that city, and this would mean a significant impact on carbon emissions. Governments and media are starting to do their part in helping people navigate this.

Industry is lagging behind. Making the products is only part of the challenge. Guidance in consumer education and behavioural change is hardly addressed. It is a job for service designers and good writers/storytellers.

The industry or retailer that ends up doing that job well will gain quite a competitive edge in a rapidly growing market.

28 August 2014

How EU leaders can listen to the views of their citizens expressed on Twitter

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Vox Digitas
By Jamie Bartlett, Carl Miller, David Weir, Jeremy Reffin, Simon Wibberley
Report, 24 August 2014
ISBN 978-1-909037-63-2
Free download

Over the last decade European citizens have gained a digital voice. Close to 350 million people in Europe currently use social networking sites, with more of us signing into a social media platform at least once a day than voted in the last European elections. EU citizens have transferred many aspects of their lives onto these social media platforms, including politics and activism. Taken together, social media represent a new digital commons where people join their social and political lives to those around them.

This paper examines the potential of listening to these digital voices on Twitter, and the consequences for how EU leaders apprehend, respond to and thereby represent their citizens. It looks at how European citizens use Twitter to discuss issues related to the EU and how their digital attitudes and views evolve in response to political and economic crises. It also addresses the many formidable challenges that this new method faces: how far it can be trusted, when it can be used, the value such use could bring and how its use can be publicly acceptable and ethical.

We have never before had access to the millions of voices that together form society’s constant political debate, nor the possibility of understanding them. This report demonstrates how capturing and understanding these citizen voices potentially offers a new way of listening to people, a transformative opportunity to understand what they think, and a crucial opportunity to close the democratic deficit.

The report is the result of a project conducted by The Centre for the Analysis of Social Media, a collaboration between Demos and the Text Analytics Group at the University of Sussex, that produces new political, social and policy insight and understanding through social media research.

The methodological reflections in the executive summary are a worthwhile read for any qualitative researcher, including those working in the corporate realm.

27 August 2014

Service design toolkit

servicedesigntoolkit

The toolkit for service design is an introduction to the methodology of service design.

With a simple step-by-step plan it offers you a practical do-it-yourself guide. The kit contains workshop templates, posters, a manual and technique cards, some of which can also be downloaded.

It is the outcome of a partnership between Namahn and Design Flanders.

12 August 2014

White House launches UX-focused Digital Service team

WhiteHouse_Logo

Yesterday, the White House formally launched the U.S. Digital Service.

“The Digital Service will be a small team made up of our country’s brightest digital talent that will work with agencies to remove barriers to exceptional service delivery and help remake the digital experience that people and businesses have with their government.”

The Administration also released the initial version of “a Digital Services Playbook that lays out best practices for building effective digital services like web and mobile applications and will serve as a guide for agencies across government. To increase the success of government digital service projects, this playbook outlines 13 key “plays” drawn from private and public-sector best practices that, if followed together, will help federal agencies deliver services that work well for users and require less time and money to develop and operate.”

It is nice to see that the first item in the Digital Services Playbook — Understand what people need — is identical to the first item in the Design Principles heralded by their British counterpart, gov.uk – start with needs.

So after Gov.uk, we now have the U.S. Digital Service, both with a major emphasis on user experience and user research. Which country will follow next?

27 July 2014

Applying insights from behavioral economics to policy design

 

Applying insights from behavioral economics to policy design
Brigitte C. Madrian
NBER Working paper
July 2014

The premise of this article is that an understanding of psychology and other social science disciplines can inform the effectiveness of the economic tools traditionally deployed in carrying out the functions of government, which include remedying market failures, redistributing income, and collecting tax revenue. An understanding of psychology can also lead to the development of different policy tools that better motivate desired behavior change or that are more cost-effective than traditional policy tools. The article outlines a framework for thinking about the psychology of behavior change in the context of market failures. It then describes the research on the effects of a variety of interventions rooted in an understanding of psychology that have policy-relevant applications. The article concludes by discussing how an understanding of psychology can also inform the use and design of traditional policy tools for behavior change, such as financial incentives.

Brigitte Madrian is the Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management at the Harvard Kennedy School.

[HT Emile Hooge]

18 July 2014

Improve the travel experience at airports

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Over the past years the Amsterdam agency edenspeakermann_ collaborated in a European cooperation that aims to create a seamless air travel experience for passengers to Europe. As a result of research on four European airports they created the concept of the ‘Info Connectivity System’: a one-stop-shop for all travel information.

Extensive research has been conducted on the travel experience of passengers. We looked into the whole journey; from the moment that the passenger leaves home, until he arrives at the final destination. All the insights we gained were visualized in personas and customer journeys. We created concepts for the interface design and were involved in the development of a mock-up. Currently, the project is in its final stage where we are interested in gaining feedback from potential stakeholders.

The research resulted in the Info Connectivity System (ICS): A one-stop-shop that provides passengers with all relevant travel information at the right time, and in the right context and language. The ICS integrates existing travel information from multiple sources — like mobility service providers and airport operators — and enriches the available data where possible. The system allows editors to generate new data and create connections to their own data sources. Apart from their smartphone, passengers will find their personal travel data seamlessly available on all devices: such as airport information systems, ticketing machines and even on-board devices.

22 June 2014

Report: Mapping and developing Service Design Research in the UK

servicedesignreport

The aim of the Service Design Research UK (SDR UK) Network of the Network is to review and consolidate the current state of Service Design knowledge within the field of Design.

Three workshops and three Advisory Board meetings formed the basis of the Service Design Research UK Network. Delivered and supported by practitioners and academics, each workshop consisted of case studies and activities to illustrate and discuss the diverse nature of Service Design practice and research in the UK. In addition data was gathered for an online database on current Service Design research projects, PhDs and academics, together with Service Design curriculum and government bodies supportive of Service Design.

Drawing together the outcomes from the workshops, Advisory Board meetings and online database, SDR UK participants co-authored twelve short pieces to high-light emerging research areas that culminated in the formulation of research questions and final recommendations.

The report is first and foremost for the following audience:

  • Academics working in and across Service Design related areas;
  • Communities of practice interested in understanding the UK Service Design landscape including future challenges and opportunities;
  • Government design and innovation bodies and funding agencies involved in supporting and promoting Service Design practice and research;
  • Policy makers and local government commissioners new to Service Design.
24 April 2014

Smart cities need smart citizens

smartip

The idea of the SMARTiP project is to take the experience developed by a wide range of existing user-driven, open innovation initiatives in Europe, particularly those developed through Living Labs, and to apply this experience to the challenge of transforming public services by empowering ‘smart citizens’ who are able to use and co-produce innovative Internet-enabled services within emerging ‘smart’ cities. The aim is to enable to adoption of open platforms for the co-production of citizen-centric Internet-enabled services in five test-bed sites, Manchester, Gent, Cologne, Bologna and Oulu. The objective is to enhance the ability of the cities to grow and sustain a ‘smart city’ ecosystem which can support new opportunities emerging for a dynamic co-production process resulting in more inclusive, higher quality and efficient public services which can then be made replicable and scalable for cross-border deployment on a larger scale.

This will focus on a series of pilot projects, as outlined ‘Technical Pilots’, covering three thematic areas:Smart engagement; Smart environments; and Smart mobility.

The pilots aim to act as a catalyst to stimulate citizen engagement in becoming active generators of content and applications development, as well as being more informed and involved users of the developing Internet-enabled services in ‘smart’ cities. ‘Smart cities’ require ‘smart citizens’ if they are to be truly inclusive, innovative and sustainable. The promise of the information society, to create new ways of empowering people to play a fuller and more equal role in emerging governance systems through their access to dynamic Internet-enabled services, is also proving to be its biggest challenge, as not everyone is getting equal access to the skills and opportunities that are supposed to be there.

> Project brochure

9 March 2014

Swedish inspirations on design for public policy

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The Forum for Social Innovation Sweden is a meeting place for academia, industry, government, civic society and non-profit organisations in Sweden striving to develop social innovation and social entrepreneurship.

As part of its mission to share news, information, network and what is happening within this field, in Sweden and globally, it is worth calling attention to a few of its events and publications:

Event

Designing Publics, Public Designing
On the 27th an 28th of January, the Forum for Social innovation Sweden, at Malmö University and partners organised an international seminar on the subject of design and social innovation for public policy.
Synthesis article | Report | Conference video

Publications

Public and collaborative, Exploring the intersection of design, social innovation and public policy
Design for Social Innovation towards Sustainability, DESIS, has published a public and collaborative book presenting reflections on efforts of DESIS Labs in Europe, Canada, and the United States.

The Power of the Collective
Research article by Andi Sharma that explores how social enterprise and non-profits can fully realize the potential of co-location communities.

> More publications

7 March 2014

The Great Convergence

hubble-galaxies

Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path argues that the constellations in the user experience field are shifting and that we are experiencing some sort of collision of three different “galaxies”:

“The customer experience community developed out of the marketing and customer support functions in organizations — in other words, the people traditionally mandated to pay attention to customer needs. They’ve led the charge in helping organizations create operational strategies based on measuring customer feedback, and along the way have developed a sophisticated understanding of how to make the business case for experience design initiatives.

Originally championed by a handful of academic design programs, and finding success in the public sector in Europe, service design has now made the jump to the commercial sphere. The service design community wrestles with the operational implications of delivering services by a variety of means, including those messy, ephemeral human-to-human experiences.

Meanwhile, user experience design has pushed beyond its origins in digital product design. More and more people have discovered that the UX toolkit, with its emphasis on the human context of use, isn’t particular to digital products. As a result, the discourse about UX has expanded to encompass the wider world of products of all kinds.”

Either we fight it. Or we embrace it. Obviously Garrett endorses the latter.

6 March 2014

How collaborating with patients improves hospital care

hospital-care-improvement-009

The Guardian reports on how a new UK project where patients and NHS staff work together to improve services shows that even small changes can have a big impact on the quality of care.

The project, with an impossibly long name, has been designed by academics from Oxford university’s health experience research group and studies patients’ experience of illness. Working with professor Glenn Robert at King’s College London, who had developed a new approach to help the NHS make better use of patient feedback, the Oxford academics compiled short videos about patients’ experiences of intensive care and lung cancer services.

They formed the basis for small group discussions between medical staff, managers, patients and relatives who identified priorities for change, many of which were then implemented.

Download background materials

5 March 2014

Campaign: Mobile card set of facilitation and training techniques

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Are you a trainer? Do you facilitate meetings?

Help the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (an Experientia client) to develop a mobile card set of 60 participatory knowledge sharing methods and technologies that you can use in any of your upcoming workshops or meetings. The cards will help you to make informed decisions about developing learning activities and choosing the appropriate methods, tools and resources to conduct them.

Watch the video | Go to the crowdfunding campaign

13 February 2014

A case study on inclusive design: ethnography and energy use

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Energy usage and conservation can be a seemingly mundane part of an individual’s daily life on one hand, but a politically, ecologically, and economically critical issue on the other. Despite its importance, there is a startling lack of insight into what guides and influences behaviors surrounding energy.

With conventional quantitative analyses of properties and income explaining less than 40% of variations in households’ consumption, Dr Dan Lockton (senior associate at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design) and Flora Bowden set out to unpack some of the behavioral nuances and contextual insights around energy use within the daily lives of British households, from the perspective of design researchers.

Their interviews had them meeting everyone from “quantified self” enthusiasts to low-income residents of public housing, and involving them in the design process.

What they discovered bears significant implications for design which seeks to influence behaviors around energy, for example, where policy makers and utility companies see households as “using energy”, household members see their own behavior as solving problems and making their homes more comfortable, such as by running a bath to unwind after a trying day, or preparing a meal for their family.

EthnographyMatters reports on what Dan and Flora learned in their ethnographic research, and how understanding “folk models” of energy – what energy “looks like” – may hold the key to curtailing energy usage.

12 February 2014

The Museum of Future Government Services

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The Museum of Future Government Services, which in Dubai on the 10th of February at the UAE Government Summit, is an interactive design futures exhibition.

The Museum explores the future of travel, healthcare, education and urban services. It brings together over 80 designers, technologists and futurists from nearly 20 countries to imagine how these services could be changed for the better in the coming years.

“The first of its kind, the Museum goes far beyond written reports or special effects. It highlights real prototypes of prospective services that could be developed by the governments of tomorrow.

This approach allows visitors to interact with, experience, and enjoy future trends in a way never before possible.

The Museum of Future Government Services paints a bold and hopeful vision of what the future could be. It shows how businesses, governments, and citizenry could work together to create a world-class experience of government services. It is just one possibility among many, illustrating the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The future is uncertain, but the work of the Museum suggests that bold vision, creative experiments and committed partnerships can build a better world.

Project partners
– Client: The Prime Minister’s Office of the United Arab Emirates
– Lead Exhibition Designer: Tellart, Providence, Rhode Island
– Lead Content Designer: Fabrica, Treviso, Italy
– Lead Creative Consultants: Superflux Studio, London, and Near Future Laboratory, Geneva
– Lead Researcher: The Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, California
– Special Advisor: Dr. Noah Raford

12 February 2014

Data and design in innovative citizen experiences

 

The past decade has brought enormous and growing benefits to ordinary citizens through applications built on public data.

Any release of data offers advantages to experts, such as developers and journalists, but there is a crucial common factor in the most successful open data applications for non-experts: excellent design, writes Cyd Harrell, UX Evangelist at Code for America.

In fact, open data and citizen-centered design are natural partners, especially as the government 2.0 movement turns to improving service delivery and government interaction in tandem with transparency.

It’s nearly impossible to design innovative citizen experiences without data, but that data will not reach its full potential without careful choices about how to aggregate, present, and enable interaction with it.

“Design is a critical practice for enabling open data to reach its full transformative potential. Without citizens being able to interact with government data directly, we are unlikely to trigger a revolution in how services are provided. We all know how much we need that revolution, for reasons of cost, fairness, and human dignity.

Methods drawn from the user experience field are the easiest way to translate open data into a format that’s usable and accessible for the average (or non-average) citizen. The most successful and broadly used open data projects have always relied on design, whether or not people formally trained in design were part of the teams. Our task now is to bring our best design ideas into our shared movement and take advantage of everything the discipline has to offer. With design, we can give the public back its data in real use, as well as in name.”

12 January 2014

[Book] Design Transitions

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Design Transitions – Inspiring Stories. Global Viewpoints. How design is changing.
By Joyce Yee, Emma Jefferies and Lauren Tan
BIS Publishers
[Book site - Amazon link - selected pages]

Abstract

Design Transitions presents 42 unique and insightful stories of how design is changing around the world. Twelve countries are represented from the perspectives of three different communities: design agencies, organizations embedding design; and design academics.

Design Transitions takes you across the globe in search of the most innovative design practitioners, and their answers to the question ‘How are design practices changing?’ From small practices to vast corporations, the renowned to the lesser known: these are the stories of people working at the fringes of the traditional disciplines of design. They have opened up their design worlds to reveal the methods, tools and thinking behind their inspirational work. Some of the organizations and individuals featured includes: Droog, BERG, Fjord, thinkpublic, FutureGov, Hakuhodo Innovation Lab, DesignThinkers Group, INSITUM, Optimal Usability, frog Asia, Ziba, Banny Banerjee, Ezio Manzini, Carlos Teixeira and Adam Greenfield.

Design Transitions is divided into three sections:

  • Section I: Changing Practices features 25 stories from design practices in a range of disciplines.
  • Section II: New Territories features five organizations introducing and embedding design approaches into their core practice and operations.
  • Section III: Viewpoints features 12 interviews with leading design academics, offering additional insights and a critical perspective on the key themes that have emerged from our case studies and interviews.

Authors

Joyce Yee, PhD is a senior lecturer at UK’s Northumbria University’s Design School, teaching interaction, service and design methodologies across undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Emma Jefferies, PhD is an independent design consultant and founder of Design Doctors.

Lauren Tan, PhD has worked as a designer in various capacities in graphic design, management consulting, service design and social design.

12 January 2014

The new design: social innovation inspiring business innovation

 

Cheryl Heller of CommonWise argues that there’s a new design emerging that works from inside a community and at a systems level, impacting human relationships instead of things. It emerges from the new discipline of design for social innovation, in which the discipline is applied to re-imagining and reinvigorating human resources. This new design, applied to business, can shift cultures, instill broad creativity, and ignite the kind of transformational opportunities we need most right now.

“An emerging design practice has grown from the efforts of a relative handful of pioneering designers working in social impact design. It “scales up” the principles and processes of design to work at a systems level – creating the conditions, relationships, engagement and access to wisdom that shift cultures and ignite creative potential. This new design, developed through working in the social sector, requires skills and knowledge incremental to the core visual and technical skills that designers are currently taught: skills for mapping, storytelling, ethnographic research, analysis, facilitation, collaboration and persuasion. These new skills open the creative process to collective participation, engaging a culture in imagining and realizing it’s own future. And that is the heart of this powerful new tool for business.”

2 January 2014

[Book] Design for Behavior Change

designingforbehaviorchange

Designing for Behavior Change: Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics
By Stephen Wendel
Publisher: O’Reilly Media
Released: November 2013
Pages: 400
[Amazon link]

A new wave of products is helping people change their behavior and daily routines, whether it’s exercising more (Jawbone Up), taking control of their finances (HelloWallet), or organizing their email (Mailbox). This practical guide shows you how to design these types of products for users seeking to take action and achieve specific goals.

Stephen Wendel, HelloWallet’s head researcher, takes you step-by-step through the process of applying behavioral economics and psychology to the practical problems of product design and development. Using a combination of lean and agile development methods, you’ll learn a simple iterative approach for identifying target users and behaviors, building the product, and gauging its effectiveness. Discover how to create easy-to-use products to help people make positive changes.

  • Learn the three main strategies to help people change behavior
  • Identify your target audience and the behaviors they seek to change
  • Extract user stories and identify obstacles to behavior change
  • Develop effective interface designs that are enjoyable to use
  • Measure your product’s impact and learn ways to improve it
  • Use practical examples from products like Nest, Fitbit, and Opower

> Sampler pages (33 in total)

17 December 2013

Videos online of the Service Design Global Conference

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Nearly all videos of the recent Service Design Global Conference in Cardiff, Wales (19-20 November 2013) are now online:

DAY 1

Making Data Useful

Complex Service Systems

Co-Design & Co-Creation

Micro Services

DAY 2

Morning presentations

Afternoon presentations

17 December 2013

Dan Hill: Can public enterprises adopt the popular dynamics of private enterprises?

uber-transport

In his latest Dezeen column, Dan Hill examines what services like the Uber taxi app mean for cities and asks whether the designers of public services can learn something from them.

“So this [i.e. Uber], as with Amazon (and Starbucks, J Crew and the rest) is another cultural blitzkrieg, obliterating difference and leaving high-quality homogeneity in its wake. With clothes and coffee it’s a shame, but not that big a deal. However, when it ploughs into a core urban service like mobility I have, well, a few issues.

Although taxis are a form of privatised transport, they remain part of the city’s civic infrastructure, part of their character. As architect and teacher Robin Boyd wrote, “taxi-men teach the visitor a lot about their towns, intentionally and unintentionally.” Boyd was able to to demarcate Sydney culture from Adelaide culture based on whether the cabbie opens the door for you. I recall scribbling a drawing of a Stephen Holl building I wanted to visit in Beijing, as my only way of communicating my desired destination to the taxi driver. Uber makes transactions easier, but what we gain from a seamless UI, and the convenience of the global currency of apps, we lose from the possibility of understanding a place through a slightly bumpier “seamful” experience.”

In short, Hill is concerned:

“The broader issue is replacement of public services with private services. [...] “Who’s to say that similarly shiny networked services won’t also begin to offer privatised coordination of your waste collection, energy and water provision and so on, to match the trends towards private education, private healthcare and private mail delivery to gated communities?”

So what could public services and public authorities do?

“It may mean that public enterprise has to adopt the popular dynamics, patterns and systems of our age, yet bent into shape for public good. This seems possible, as the GOV.UK project from the UK’s Government Digital Service illustrates. Perhaps by marrying such supremely good interactive work with the ethos and long-term viability of the public sector, services like Uber will be left to play happily in the aspirant niches while high-quality networked public services will be available for all. It is just as viable for public transport systems to apply network logic as it is for Uber to do so, if not easier, as the public sector gets to shape the policy and regulatory environments, as well as the delivery.”

So. he ends, “the design question posed by Uber is: can public enterprises adopt the popular dynamics of private enterprises without also absorbing their underlying ideologies?”