Digital service design consultation: What it is and what the client gets
Are you an entrepreneur with a digital service idea or application concept in mind? Often, our attention quickly turns to the visual appearance of the solution and the details of the user interface. However, when asked about the potential users of the service or the problem that the new application solves, the answer is not always self-evident. It is often necessary to take a few steps back and clarify the actual problem we are trying to solve before we start designing an appealing user interface. This is where digital service design consultation comes in handy. Through consultation, entrepreneurs gain a concrete perspective on their ideas and can more easily identify the needs and potential challenges of their target customers. Consulting helps businesses view the service as a whole, which in turn helps define and prioritise the next development steps toward realising the idea.
Addressing user needs and pain points
The term "service design" may seem abstract to many. Through the design of digital services, we view them from the user's perspective and make them more tangible using design tools. This helps us articulate the service and identify pain points and needs from the user's and other stakeholders' perspectives. In practice, digital service design involves defining different user journeys, which serve as the basis for designing interactive prototypes of the service. Prototypes allow us to test the service with potential users before implementation.
Service design consultation in practise
What does the process of service design consultation entail, and what does it require from entrepreneurs? The consultation service is always tailored to meet the client's needs and the allotted consultation days provided by the ELY Center. Typically, it includes familiarising ourselves with the client's world through interviews with both the entrepreneur and potential customers. Observations are condensed into user journeys that describe the usage of the service from the perspective of a chosen user persona, step by step, from information search to service usage and giving feedback from the service.
By defining the user journeys, we can identify potential issues users may encounter and brainstorm solutions for them. These proposed solutions are then visualised in an interactive service prototype, creating a visual model of the digital service. Prototypes can be easily tested in a browser by clicking through the interface. After the consultation, the entrepreneur retains access to the prototype, allowing them to test the service with different users and gather feedback on their idea.
An interactive consultation process
Consultation is an interactive process where our role is to bring out the entrepreneur's expertise and vision in a tangible form. We optimise the entrepreneur's time in the consultation process by preparing user journeys and prototypes in a way that facilitates feedback and discussion. Whenever possible, we can also conduct a small user test, which is an essential part of service development. Based on user feedback, we can refine the service to meet the users’ needs and make it intuitive and easy to use.
After the consultation, the entrepreneur gains a clearer understanding of what is required to develop their digital service idea and how much resources should be allocated to it. We are more than willing to continue the collaboration after the consultation by providing a cost estimate for the work and assisting in further developing the idea.