News, UX Design

Combining Service Design and UX

Genalda Silva, UX Consultant

People are the heart of services – Service Design is a multi-disciplinary methodology that enables a more holistic view of the design process. At UX Connections, we use a variety of design and research methods in our process to unveil ubiquitous actions to improve relations and the delivery of services.

Difference between UX Design and Service Design

In UX our focus often is on the trio: users, business and technology. We study these three entities to deliver a product with a seamless experience to users that is aligned with the business goals. This encompasses all aspects of the experience including: the interactions, the service, the product and the visual aspect. On the other hand, Service Design is a segment of UX that focuses on providing a holistic view of the entire system where the service exists. In principle, Service Design is also user-centred, however, the intent is to uncover other relations that happen on the background and are not directly related to the user. As many actions in the system are ubiquitous, Service Design helps resolving issues in relations in the background that could influence how the service is delivered to customers. This results in an ability to sustain the high-quality standard of the service for a longer period as the different parts of the system are able to communicate more effectively and evolve.

Service Design Methods

At UX Connections, we combine UX and Service Design methods suited to the needs of each project to design experiences that are tailored to the user’s needs and match with the vision of the business. Here are some examples of methods that we use in our process:

Co-design Workshop

We run group sessions where customers or stakeholders are engaged in design activities to uncover new ideas, priorities and flows.

Co-design workshops provide us with first-hand insight on how users use the product, learn their motivations and ideas to improve the design.

We provide participants with everyday materials (paper, sharpies and post-its) and guide them through design exercises to create sketches, storyboards or prototypes.

User scenarios

We explore plausible stories that describe in detail a meaningful interaction with the service through storyboards or plain text. 

Writing user scenarios requires to identify a specific context in which the action takes place, the character’s goals and the response of the system. 

Problematic areas of a current service offering can also be developed into scenarios to brainstorm solutions.

Ecology map

The ecology map is a representation capturing all the key roles that influence the user, organization and service environment. 

The map is built by first displaying all the entities, and then connecting them based on the type of value they exchange.

We implement this practice also to help reveal new relationships that must be taken into account for the system to be successful and sustainable.

Service Blueprint

A service blueprint is a diagram that visualizes the relationships between different service components — people, props, and processes — that are directly tied to touchpoints in a specific customer journey (Gibbons, 2017).

Service blueprints are effective as they:

  • Bring strategic benefits for the business by focusing on the larger understanding of resources and processes
  • Help identifying weak links on the customer journey and opportunities for optimisation 

Service Proposition

A service proposition is a business proposition that aligns the business vision with the customer’s needs. It enables us to communicate the concept and engage with stakeholders of the business to transform the designed solution into a working service. The proposition answers the following question can be answered:

  • Do people understand what the new service is or does?
  • Do people see the value of it in their life?
  • Do people understand how to use it?


The service roadmap is a timeline that defines a progressive process of development and delivery of a service solution. 

The goal is to identify the minimum set of features needed to be ready for the first release, and then the following enhancements that could be made to achieve greater impact. 

These methods help us view the bigger picture of how a company delivers a service and how it is received by customers. 


UX Connections, the UX agency with UX/UI consultants to help your digital product succeed.



Gibbons, S. (2017). Service Blueprints: Definition. [online] Nielsen Norman Group. Available at: [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].

Polaine, A., Løvlie, L., Reason, B. and Thackara, J. (2013). Service design. Brooklyn, NY: Rosenfeld Media.

Stickdorn, M. and Schneider, J. (2012). This is Service Design Thinking: Basics, Tools, Cases. Amsterdam: Wiley.

Tassi, R. (2019). Service Design Tools | Communication methods supporting design processes. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].

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