Hi there Andrea! Can you tell me what the fuck is Service Design?

Service Design is empathy. For me, it means choosing to take the time to put myself in the mind of the user and consider their journey from start to finish. It’s finding the little ways to make life easier.

It’s the act of shaping an experience within a space and seeing it implemented. As a Service Designer in an architectural practice, understanding the underlying motivations and needs of both the “administrator” and “users” of a space and how the back end is operating, we can more deeply inform the physical design of the space.

For example, at St. Louis University Library, we eliminated barriers between students and staff by creating concierge support with a Genius Bar-style service point we call “OPEN:re:SOURCE”. In this user-centric, tiered service environment, students are free to explore digital and collection-based resources, Academic Technology Services and traditional Library services with support from students and professional library staff. This leads to any traces of the traditional help desk formality being eliminated, breaking down the purely transactional relationship to create a “guide on the side” experience for students, while still making experts present and accessible when needed.

So why is Service Design important? The design process must begin and end with the end user in mind. It’s my job to observe, listen and imagine spaces that not only meet the needs of our clients but meet the often-unspoken expectations of the people our clients interact with on a daily basis.

An answer by Andrea Haydon

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Service Design Strategist, RATIO

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