Making Services Tangible for Differentiating Between Stakeholder Understandings

Year: 2014
Editor: Miko Laakso, Kalevi Ekman
Author: Samuli Makinen, Pia Helminen
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: Aalto University, Finland
Section: Users in design and development
Page(s): 426-436
ISBN: 978-1-904670-58-2


For successful service design, it is vital to be aware of the varying and often remarkably different stakeholder understandings of a service. However, the intangible nature of services results in difficulties in making visible these understandings. Existing approaches for gaining a contextual understanding of service use tend to stumble against problems caused by services’ nature, or are simply too laborious. After our experimentation in the redesigning of a complex online service, we report on a potentially elegant technique we call collaborative physical modeling (CPM) which appears to make visible the varying stakeholder understandings via tangibilizing a service. The outcome of the technique is a structured understanding of a service achieved in a quick and not resource-intensive way. CPM seems a viable technique for service designers, helping them to have more focused discussions on what issues need to be considered in the design process both in development and use side.

Keywords: User involvement, product and service design, stakeholder understandings, physical modeling, CPM


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