#Weeknotes 36 (24 Sept) — Design for people, not systems

When we design for the average person. We’re designing for no one

A slide from Jen’s talk on how almost no one fits perfectly into all of what we determined to be the average body dimensions of a person.

“Any system that is designed around the average person is doomed to fail because there is no average and no person falls into what the average is defined as.” — Jen Briselli

Leverage service design to tackle complex service and deliver meaningful experiences

Jen Briselli posed this question in the talk which is super relevant to today’s situation with COVID and what service innovation looks like in a post-pandemic world.

“The proper study of mankind is the study of design” —Herbert Simon

Start with empathy—Understanding people as fully fleshed humans

Context impacts behaviour

When talking about empathy, Jen also dives into how context shapes individual behaviours and it’s important to understand the different contexts that our end users may experience when accessing the services we design.

Understanding triggers, motivations and barriers to determine where and how our services and products fit into people’s lives

Use participatory design to uncover unmet needs and envisage new solutions

Jen argues that participatory design is one of the best ways to uncover unmet needs and coming up with new solutions for service offerings and improvements.
Jen talks about how traditional research methods such as interviews and observations can only get us so far in understanding human motivations. Leverage generative activities to uncover deeper insights and latent needs.
One can get a deeper insight into the minds of others through activities and play. This is one of the big reasons Jen advocates participatory design to be embedded into our service design processes.
  1. To get the information you wouldn’t get otherwise
  2. To minimize discomfort and strain
  3. To encourage participant engagement and well-being
  4. To shift power dynamics (My favourite point! When there’s a power imbalance such as when conducting interviews and observational research, the script and tone are usually dictated by one side—the researcher. Whereas in a collaborative setting such as participatory sessions, the power dynamic is more balanced and it becomes much easier for individuals to express themselves fully and thus help us researchers understand them better.)

Services as both performances AND products

Jen describes the two sides of Services: Performances and Products

“The ultimate purpose of service design is to give people the information and tools needed to act, according to their own wishes and needs.” —Richard Buchanan

There’s a lot that needs to be considered in service. Jen uses the analogy of stage performance to highlight all the players and components that are needed to execute a play, The audience is but one component of the bigger experience consideration.

Everyone designs

“Everybody in an organisation has the skills and toolkit needed to make their organisation more customer- or patient-centered and to do service design.” —Jen Briselli

  • to listen and observe the experience of others and figure out what they need that they might not be able to express;
  • have the curiosity to understand people, their challenges and needs; and
  • have the compassion to create services that meet these needs.
  • Design for the individual, not systems;
  • Start with empathy;
  • Involve individuals to be active participants in the design process and service creation;
  • Consider all aspects of the experience, not just the end-users;




Senior UX Consultant at @cxpartners | Mindful Optimist

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Julie Sun

Julie Sun

Senior UX Consultant at @cxpartners | Mindful Optimist

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