This website is the result of the research activity done by Roberta Tassi during her graduation thesis, further developed within the framework of the cooperation between DensityDesign research group at INDACO Department - Politecnico di Milano and DARC - the Research & Consulting Center of Domus Academy.
Service Design Tools is conceived as an open platform of knowledge, to be shared with the design research community.

The thesis work was named "Design della comunicazione e design dei servizi. Il progetto della comunicazione per la fase di implementazione" (Communication Design and Service Design. Implementing services through communication artifacts) with Paolo Ciuccarelli -Politecnico di Milano- Elena Pacenti and Chiara Diana -DARC, Domus Academy- as supervisors, in October 2008

The initial purpose was an investigation about the relation between communication design and service design, starting from the observation of the existing practices in the field of service design. The critical points and the opportunities concerning the use of communication tools during a service design process also emerged.

TOOLS PROVENANCE MAP



The service design takes form from a multidisciplinary process, merging several figures and competences.
At first the tools used during this process were taken from the fields that gave rise to the service design practice: social science, business, design and technology.

The major contribution came from the industrial design -that has seen the development and establishment of several methods and techniques over the years- even though those tools didn’t fit well the design and communication of more complex solutions.
The last years saw the birth of new tools -specific of the service design practice- that are able to face the higher level of complexity and to communicate also the immaterial aspects of the project, like time and experience.

TOOLS COMMUNICATION CAPABILITIES MAP



The aim of this representation is showing when the tools are used during the design process and which kind of communication they can support.

The map reveals the continuous presence of moments of communication with external figures along a hypothetical design process, displaying the tools that are used to set up the dialogue and the figures that can be involved.
Some tools appear several times with different aims and different levels of openness, indicating for example that some features of the notational tools used in the first part of the process can be taken and used later in order to communicate the project in the implementation phase or even during the service delivery.

COMMUNICATION DESIGN AND SERVICE DESIGN



The analysis of the existing practices brought me to the assumption of an overall point of view in order to identify the specific needs and communication requirements emerging during a service design process.

The system represented here allowed the evaluation of the existing tools and the identification of lacks and opportunities.
First of all the communication is affected by the recipients with their own cultural features, competences and language (who).
The moment in which the communication takes place is also significant because it implies different needs but also a different level of definition of the service idea that has to be preserved (when).
Those two elements (recipient and phase) determine five different situations that are particularly interesting because critical from the point of view of communication.
Then I tried to understand which aspects of the project have to be communicated in each one of these moments (what). The contents of the communication can be the context, the system, the offering, the interaction or the feasibility, each one with a specific level of depth depending on the situation.
The choice of the communication modalities depends also on the aim, which is more cognitive, emotional or behavioural in relation with the specific situation (why).
The final step –depending on all the previous elements- is the adopted communication modality (how) that can change in terms of participation of the recipients and in terms of form of representation produced.

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