Prototyping in digital service design - Exploring user needs for a meeting scheduling service
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School of Science | Master's thesis
(8) + 96
AbstractSoftware development has often been technology-driven, rather than taking a user-centered approach. However, in today's fast changing economy, it has become increasingly important to develop digital services that meet customers' needs. In recent years, design thinking has been acknowledged as beneficial for innovation and developing superior solutions to customers' problems. Service design has been described as the discipline that brings design thinking and new methods into services and thus, can be helpful with innovation. One of these methods is prototyping, which is extensively used in service design. Aalto University has developed a software-architecture and technical prototype for a meeting scheduling system (MSS) for heterogeneous calendar systems, as currently no solution for easy meeting scheduling between heterogeneous calendar systems exists. However, this previous study focused on the technical feasibility, rather than on users' needs. The objective of this research is to use prototyping as a service design methods to gain better understanding of the users' needs and design a service concept for MSS. Based on the existing technical prototype and software architecture, an interactive prototype was created and different design alternatives were created as paper prototypes. These prototypes were tested with four potential users. Based on the feedback from the users, a service concept was developed and visualized as a customer journey. Furthermore, design guidelines were created for the further development of the service. Using prototyping as service design methods for the development of digital services, concerns mainly a change in mind-set, than just introducing a new set of methods. First, the mind-set needs to change from feature-oriented to service-oriented thinking. Second, design thinking needs to be introduced to the development process and combined with the prevalent analytical thinking in software engineering. Prototyping is a core method in service design, which helps to put design thinking into practice. In service design, prototypes are used throughout the process, not only for evaluation, but also for exploration. As prototypes might only focus on small parts of the service, service concepts help to keep track of the big picture. We suggest using design guidelines to document learning results from a prototype session as input to the next iteration. Using service design, and specifically prototyping, in the development of digital services can be beneficial in order to increase the focus on the users, but challenges exist on a practical level It induces a shift from specification-driven prototyping to prototyping-driven specifications.
Thesis advisorRaatikainen, Mikko
prototyping, service design, meeting scheduling, service-dominant logic, digital service