The activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers. The purpose of service design methodologies is to design according to the needs of customers or participants, so that the service is user-friendly, competitive and relevant to the customers.


Together with the most traditional methods used for product design, service design requires methods and tools to control new elements of the design process, such as the time and the interaction between actors. An overview of the methodologies for designing services is proposed by (Morelli 2006), who proposes three main directions:

  • Identification of the actors involved in the definition of the service by means of appropriate analytical tools
  • Definition of possible service scenarios, verifying use cases, and sequences of actions and actors’ roles in order to define the requirements for the service and its logical and organizational structure
  • Representation of the service by means of techniques that illustrate all the components of the service, including physical elements, interactions, logical links and temporal sequences

Tools of the Trade

Many of the tools involved in UX and marketing overlap with service design. Here are a few tools to try if you are interested in innovating a service:

A persona is a summary of a specific type of customer that represents a broader customer segment. After conducting qualitative interviews, a persona is an archetype of a specific aspects about many customers who fall into the same segment. A persona is used to summarize psychographics, like motivations, desires, preferences and values. Personas help you create a design with specific customers in mind and ensure the process is user-centered. There are many persona templates to help you get started.

Customer Journey Map:
A customer journey map is a tool that shows the best and worst parts of a customer’s experience.The journey starts long before a customer starts to take an action, and shows the entire experience of the service through the customer’s perspective. The authors of the This Is Service Design Thinking, offer a blank customer journey canvas. You can work with customers to ensure your customer journey map is co-creative.

Service Blueprinting:
Erik Flowers and Megan Erin Miller offer a guide to service blueprinting. A service blueprint goes beyond a customer journey map and allows you to understand a customer from a more holistic viewpoint, including the work and processes that go into creating and delivering an experience.