Service Design: Designing for Experience Over Time by Jon Kolko

Service Design: Designing for Experience Over Time

A step-by-step guide to service design thinking and doing 


This training program helps you leverage methods of design thinking in order to produce new and compelling service and system designs. It serves as a foundation for thinking about the behavioral touchpoints a user may have with your company, and how those touchpoints can be better designed to support a more comprehensive and purposeful brand experience.

The training program's primary emphasis is on diagramming and storytelling. You'll learn to create quick, low-fidelity representations of ideas, so you can test these ideas and improve upon them. By embracing diagramming, storytelling, and rapid prototyping, you'll be prepared to introduce a culture of making into your company or organization. You'll understand how to visualize complex ideas, how to minimize complexity, and how to simply illustrate changes in a complex system. 
Grounding Principles
Experience. The experiences people have shape their views and perspectives, and the experiences people have with your brand shape the way they think about, judge, and interact with your company. Experience happens over time, and our curriculum focuses on the development of time-based artifacts that help tell stories of behavior. You'll learn to think about narrative structures, and consider products and services in a larger, experiential context.
Empathy. Often, we look internally at our own company’s processes, attitudes, and perspectives. Empathy means looking outwards, exploring the emotions and perspectives of our users and customers, and trying to see the world through their eyes. Our curriculum emphasizes forms of active empathy: exploring novel situations from a perspective of vulnerability in order to feel what customers feel.
Prototyping. Artifacts ground ideas in reality so that they can be critiqued, examined, and improved. Prototyping is a form of iterative making, in order to see ideas come to life. Prototypes can be collaboratively evaluated, and can be applied to products, services, and systems. Ideas can be developed at a variety of fidelities, and our curriculum emphasizes quick prototyping at rough stages of fidelity, in order to drive rapid improvement. 
Recommended Audience 
This course is right for you if you are: 
  • An individual creative contributors, looking to expand their skillset to include a focus on services and systems thinking 
  • A directors, responsible for shepherding and managing creativity in teams 
  • A business leaders, interested in bringing new forms of creative problem solving and design thinking into their groups in order to change and direct the organizational culture 
Learning Objectives
As a result of taking this training in service design, you should be able to: 
  1. Analyze an existing service in order to judge its efficacy and value. This provides you with a language of criticism and evaluation. 
  2. Think about experiences as a series of designed touchpoints. This is a new perspective on products, treating them as part of dynamic ecosystems. 
  3. Understand how changes in one part of a system impact another part of a system. Systems thinking realizes that ecosystems are complex, and simple causality is hard or impossible to identify. 
  4. Tell stories of how people experience designed artifacts. The ability to craft narratives becomes one of the most fundamental ways of communicating time-based interactions. 
  5. Visualize how a person interacts with touchpoints in order to achieve a goal. These time-based visualizations bring narratives and stories to life in accessible, approachable formats. 
  6. Articulate the value of designing for time-based experiences. This provides you with the ability to sell and evangelize for service based thinking. 
  7. Create rapid, low fidelity prototypes of experiences. Crafting prototypes of interactions helps show otherwise hidden system boundaries. 
Skills Developed 
You'll learn these practical skills: 
  1. Scenario development and storyboarding. Written and visualized scenarios act as the underpinnings for time-based interactions. You will learn to craft believable, future-facing stories of how people use new services and systems. 
  2. Customer journey mapping. Journey maps act as visual representations of how a person explores a service over time, showing connection points between people, products, policies, and interactions. These visuals can be used to illustrate both the problem (or existing) state of a service, as well as the future (or ideal) state of a service design. 
  3. Service slices. Many services include human touchpoints, and these touchpoints often shape how we feel about the entire service experience. You will learn how to create various “slices” of a service in order to show information flow, sequences of interactions, and the power dynamics between actors in the system. 
  4. Rapid prototyping. You will learn to visualize your ideas in two and three dimensions, showing how new service touchpoints will actually manifest. You will learn to prototype at different levels of fidelity, and to critique designs in order to improve upon them. 

What's included?

Video Icon 7 videos File Icon 16 files Text Icon 5 text files


Lecture: Introduction to Service Design
20 mins
Your project
Project Brief
49.6 KB
Project Files: All Telecom Materials (zipped)
4.92 MB
Project Files: Telecom Website Screenshots
1010 KB
Project Files: Telecom Mobile Screenshots
399 KB
Project Files: Telecom Bill
2.35 MB
Project Files: Telecom Phone Support Transcript
112 KB
Project Files: Telecom Tech Support Transcript
108 KB
Project Files: Telecom Pricesheet
642 KB
Project Files: Telecom Flyers
1.29 MB
Performing a Service Audit
Lecture: Performing a Service Audit
13 mins
Assignment 1: Perform a Service Audit
Service Slices
Lecture: Service Slices
14 mins
Assignment 2: Develop Service Slices
Customer Journey Mapping
Lecture: Customer Journey Mapping
12 mins
Assignment 3: Create a Customer Journey Map
Lecture: Narrative
7 mins
Assignment 4: Develop Scenarios and Storyboards
Lecture: Value
9 mins
Assignment 5: Develop a Value Promise
Lecture: Summary
2 mins
Slides: Introduction to the Course
5 MB
Slides: Performing a Service Audit
1.46 MB
Slides: Service Slices
789 KB
Slides: Customer Journey Mapping
445 KB
Slides: Narrative
389 KB
Slides: Value
359 KB
Slides: Summary
210 KB

Strategy, Innovation, and Education

Modernist Studio generates strategic value through non-traditional ways of thinking, brings that value to life through beautiful and functional design, and teaches organizations to harness the power of their own corporate creativity. 


What forms of payment are accepted?

We accept all major credit cards.

Who are you?

My name is Jon, and I'm a partner at Modernist Studio. Modernist is a strategy, design and education consultancy; in our business, we help our clients tame the complexity of technology in their product and service offerings. We do all of the things you'll learn in this course!

Who is this for?

This course is for designers, technologists, product managers, and anyone else working in product and service development. No previous service design experience is required.

Do I have to complete the course in a certain amount of time?

Nope! The course is built for you to learn at your own pace. Just dive in whenever you have time!