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Talking about service design

How we communicate what we’re doing matters. This is something I talked about in my Digital Public Services talk in Manchester last month.

The way we talk about things is important because it affects how we think about things.

It’s really important that how we talk about what we’re delivering keeps us focussed on the people who need to use the services we’re designing and building.

Service design is about people

Good service design starts and ends with people. So the way we talk about service design needs to stay focussed on what services do for people.

It’s important that we don’t confuse systems thinking, technical or system architecture, platforms and enablers (sometimes interchangeable language) with service design. These things are important in helping us build solutions but they’re not service design.

Louise Downe, Head of Design for Government from GDS, explains this perfectly in the post – Good Services are Verbs, bad services are nouns.

To a user, a service is simple. It’s something that helps them to do something.

How we talk to each other is important

To have the best possible chance of designing services that are simpler, clearer, and faster we need to start with how we communicate with each other.

Remember, how we talk about what we do affects how we do it.

This means no more acronyms and jargon. Government still needs to stop this. We need to remember that people get lost when we assume shared knowledge.

Lets start by talking about what services need to do for people.

Ben Holliday is an experienced design leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). You can follow all of Ben's blog posts by subscribing to the RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.