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What is the benefit of a Service Designer ?

Following the conference given by Benoît Drouillat, co-founder of Designers Interactifs, I questioned myself about the benefit of one of the job he talked about in his book called “Les métiers du design interactif”. This profession is called service designer. Compared to the UX designer, teamed with an UI or an interaction designer, this job seems quite redundant to me.

 

The UX designer & interaction designer as a team

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Honda Civic Type R – Interesting interactive Youtube campaign

 Designing the user experience means covering all the visible aspect of interaction between people and the company or organisation, through all kind of physical and digital support. Don Norman, director of The Design Lab at University of California, widely regarded for his expertise in the fields of design, usability engineering, and cognitive science, is the first to use the term user experience. To him, the first requirement for a successful user experience is to perfectly meet the user’s need without difficulty or effort which basically means good understanding of the client. To achieve this, the UX designer have to identify, reassess and revise the client’s demand. This will lead to various researches and assessments. It’s not unusual to find UX designer having UI designer skills who is suppose to make content accessible, attractive and functional at the same time.

 

The interaction designer conceives products and services that can take different forms. By taking into account the client’s objectives and users’ needs, he creates detailed scenarios on how the product act and react, taking full advantages of new technologies.

 

Together, they create a positive and memorable experience in hope to seduce the user while meeting the client’s objectives with the help of a UI designer. I actually consider them like a team composed of an art director and his copywriter in advertising agency where both find a creative service or solution that can be seen on all kind of support.

 

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The story of Uber takes us back to 2008 when the co-founders were attending LeWeb conference in Paris. Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, like old pals, were complaining about the many crappy things we all have to deal with in life, including finding a cab when we’re packed with luggage under the rain and no taxi seems to pass by.

The service designer

 

His role is to identify latent or conscious users’ needs but also his expectations and motivations. He works on interactions between human and machine but also between human themselves. The service designer creates concepts. He designs conceptual and detailed services on various support or platform guided by previous studies about the users. He materialises demands and help to define different needs and usages into scenarios and determines the touch points.

However, to me UX designer seems to have the same task. Through the process of determining user’s expectations, he has the same tools (persona, benchmark, analysis…). His job also consists in identifying the touch points and finding the best user experience possible. With the help of the interaction designer and/or the UI designer, they can maximise the chance of making the closest client’s demand while having an interesting and innovative experience for the user which fulfills the service designer job.

 

Therefore, the service designer seems to be a redundant job to me when faced to a team of a UX designer with an UI or interaction designer. Both have the same goal, same tools and same process. Where the interaction designer can bring an innovative experience, the service designer seems to be more limited in the answer he can give. It might be due to the fact that I studied advertising before. I see the UX designer and the interaction or UI designer as a creative team like the artistic director and the copywriter in the advertising field where you find new concepts together. It is therefore harder to picture how useful the service designer is.

 

Christopher Trang – Mastère Web Design