Learn the fundamentals of service design with these 5 books

A quick overview of the the concepts and techniques of service design and UX from five excellent books by Rosenfeld Media for UX practitioners, or managers who want to better understand how design works in the age of the consumer:

We have unsatisfactory experiences when we use banks, buses, health services and insurance companies. They don’t make us feel happier or richer. Why are they not designed as well as the products we love to use such as an Apple iPod or a BMW?

The ‘developed’ world has moved beyond the industrial mindset of products and the majority of ‘products’ that we encounter are actually parts of a larger service network. These services comprise people, technology, places, time and objects that form the entire service experience.

In most cases some of the touchpoints are designed, but in many situations the service as a complete ecology just “happens” and is not consciously designed at all, which is why they don’t feel like iPods or BMWs.

Service Design aims to redress this imbalance and to design services that have the same appeal and experience as the products we love, whether it is buying insurance, going on holiday, filling in a tax return, or having a heart transplant. Another important aspect of service design is its potential for design innovation and intervention in the big issues facing us, such as transport, sustainability, government, finance, communications and healthcare.

Service Design, From Insight to Implementation” is an eminently practical guide to designing services that work for people. It offers powerful insights, methods, and case studies to help you design, implement, and measure multichannel service experiences with greater impact for customers, businesses, and society.

Along with many other insights, this book offers:

  • A clear explanation of what service design is and what makes it different from other ways of thinking about design, marketing and business.
  • Service design insights, methods and case studies to help you move up the project food chain and have a bigger design impact on the entire service ecosystem.
  • Practical advice to help you sell the value of service thinking within your organisation and to clients.
  • Ways to help you develop business, design, environmental and social innovation through service design.

+Care about content in the multidevice world? Better copy isn’t enough. As devices and channels multiply—and as users expect to easily relate, share, and shift information—we need content that can go more places, more easily.

“Content Everywhere, Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content” will help you stop creating fixed, single-purpose content and start making it more future-ready, flexible, and reusable by showing you how to:

  • Identify content’s micro elements
  • Structure it in meaningful ways
  • Bring it to life through metadata and markup

+Interviewing is a foundational user research tool that people assume they already possess. Everyone can ask questions, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Interviewing Users provides invaluable interviewing techniques and tools that enable you to conduct informative interviews with anyone. You’ll move from simply gathering data to uncovering powerful insights about people.

“Interviewing Users, How to uncover compelling insights” will explain how to succeed with interviewing, including:

  • Embracing how other people see the world
  • Building rapport to create engaging and exciting interactions
  • Listening in order to build rapport.

+Prototyping is a great way to communicate the intent of a design both clearly and effectively. Prototypes help you to flesh out design ideas, test assumptions, and gather real-time feedback from users.

With “Prototyping, A Practitioner’s Guide”, Todd Zaki Warfel shows how prototypes are more than just a design tool by demonstrating how they can help you market a product, gain internal buy-in, and test feasibility with your development team.

+Card sorting helps experience designers understand how people think about content and categories. Armed with this knowledge, they can group information so that people can better find and understand it.

In Card Sorting, Designing Usable Categories, Donna Spencer describes how to plan and run a card sort, then analyse the results and apply the outcomes to your project.

  • You’ll be able to gain the basics quickly and get sorting straight away
  • Your designs will be better and you’ll have more confidence in the outcomes by including card sorting in your projects
  • Even if you have conducted a card sort before, the book will contain plenty of extra tips to make the most of the technique

+Eye tracking is a widely used research method, but there are many questions and misconceptions about how to effectively apply it.

“Eye Tracking the User Experience”   is a how-to book about eye tracking for UX practitioners, that offers step-by-step advice on how to plan, prepare, and conduct eye tracking studies; how to analyze and interpret eye movement data; and how to successfully communicate eye tracking findings.


Photo, “Why we fail” cover, by Rosenfeld Media

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