Skip to main content

Service Design Framework

Practices and tools for delivering optimal user experience journeys.

Appendix C: Glossary

Actors: The people who interact in a service ecosystem.

Align, alignment: Getting or being on the same page about goals, vision, plans, etc.

Artifact: The documented result of a design method.

Customer: Typically, a person who buys or uses a service or product.

Design thinking: A framework — including mindset, processes, and tools — that uses human-centered design to solve problems. Service design overlaps with design thinking.

Discover phase: The phase when you do project planning, research and synthesis, and socialize findings and artifacts.

End user: Another way to describe the person who uses a service or product.

Experiment phase: The phase when you create prototypes and tests to select the best solution and iterate with user feedback.

Fidelity: Level of detail, refinement, and resemblance to the implemented solution. Prototypes come in different degrees of fidelity, including low-fidelity and high-fidelity.

Human-centered design (HCD): The umbrella category that service design falls under; a design methodology that focuses on the people you’re serving.

Implement phase: The phase when you actualize solutions and continue to measure, test, and refine.

Initiate phase: The phase whose purpose is to align on the problem space, including goals, vision, constraints, and environmental considerations.

Key performance indicators (KPIs): Metrics against which you can measure the success of a product or service solution.

Method: A process for accomplishing the different outcomes in each phase, for example, desk research.

Methodology, design methodology: A discipline for solving a distinct kind of design problem. For example, service design and UX design are methodologies underneath the broader frameworks of human-centered design and design thinking.

Operations, operational: The organizational infrastructure and resources — processes, people and teams, etc. — set up to deliver a service. Operations can include workflow, but also contains other aspects of an organization’s structure.

Pain points: Issues with a product or service as experienced by a user or provider.

Problem space: The various components in the process of defining and resolving a problem.

Physical evidence: The tangible pieces or proof of an interaction during a service. An example is a folded end of a toilet paper roll as a physical evidence in a turndown service.

Product: Something in the physical or digital space that someone can own, possess, or consume. An app is a product; a hat is also a product. Today, there’s less distinction between products and services.

Prop: A physical or digital tool that actors use in the service delivery process.

Prototype: An early version of a solution that’s used to test and experiment with. Prototypes can come in various levels of polish — called “fidelity” — from low to high.

Resources: Information outside of the toolkit or Skylight’s materials that offer additional help in the form of articles, videos, or other formats.

Service: A service is an intangible transaction or system of transactions that don’t result in ownership. Today, there’s less distinction between products and services. For example, you have an app (a product) that’s used to stream a song (a service).

Silos: An organizational structure where different teams or units operate separately and do not communicate or collaborate. This can lead to duplicated efforts, poor services, and other problems for organizations and users.

Socialize “X”: Get an office accustomed to and adopt “X” (could be documents or practices).

Stakeholder: Anyone with a stake in a service or who’s impacted by it, from organizational leadership to frontline staff and users.

Strategize phase: The phase where you generate solutions, prioritize and plan, and create a vision of the project’s future.

Synthesis: Analyzing qualitative and quantitative data to pull out patterns and form an understanding of the landscape.

Tool: A technology product or other aid that helps you carry out a particular method — for example, Google Docs or MURAL.

Templates: The preformatted documents or tools that users of this guide can follow to help carry out a method.

Touchpoints: Where and in what format a customer comes in contact with the provider of a service.

User: A person who uses a service or product.

User experience: How users interact with a product and the process of understanding and improving it.

Workflow: The sequence of tasks and activities an organization uses to deliver a service.

Workshop: Sessions for groups of stakeholders to discuss the project and participate in activities to solve problems. These are a kind of method.

Embrace service design.

Ready to deliver better user experiences through service design?
Our experts are here to help.