In the past three decades, we have been witnessing a worldwide shift from a focus on product development to a focus on service delivery. The most profitable companies are now creating service offerings, known as “systems of interlinking services” [3]. Many companies are experiencing servitization, where digital services are added to existing products; others are experiencing productization, where physical products are added to service offerings [2]. The resulting product service ecologies are more complex, systemic, and data-driven than anything we have designed before [1],[4], leading to UX designers and researchers facing a range of inter-related challenges including:

  • Understanding and conceptualizing non-digital services in a digital form, such as the augmentation of taxi cab services with on demand ride share platforms.
  • Delivering end to end experiences across parallel physical and digital touchpoints including, for example for the retail sector: advertising, branding, browsing of goods, payments, deliveries and returns, and backstage digitalization.
  • Co-designing with diverse stakeholders as business and design converge, and evaluation of success broadens beyond usability.
  • Navigating and defining roles where terminology is fluid and ambiguous at the interaction of Service Design and UX.

Service Design (SD) is a holistic approach used to orchestrate the whole service journey considering customers, service providers and other relevant stakeholders. For user experience (UX) designers, who have often focused on the user interface design of a digital application, this service design perspective introduces new questions:

  • What does service design mean in practice?
  • What is the role and scope of UX design in a multi-stakeholder service design project?
  • Who is responsible for the user experience of the whole service journey?
  • How can UX and service designers best work together?

There is little research at the intersection of SD and UX design, and the research communities of these two areas are surprisingly separate. This course aims to encourage researchers to tackle the above questions that are now highly topical in industry.

[1] Jodi Forlizzi. 2018. The product ecology: Understanding social product use and supporting design culture. International Journal of design 2, 1.

[2] Luna Leoni. 2015. Servitization and Productization: two faces of the same coin? In Conference RESER.

[3] Ezio Manzini. 2014. Making things happen: Social innovation and design. Design Issues30, 1:57-66.

[4] Daniela Sangiorgi & Alison Prendiville (eds.). Designing for Service: key issues and new directions. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017.