Glossary of Terms for Service Design

Companies in a variety of industries are recognizing the critical role that Service Design plays in ensuring that products and services are meeting the right need and providing a human-centric approach from the very beginning. Service Design sits at the intersection of user needs, business strategy and technological magic that drives innovation, reduces risk and delivers competitive advantage.

In a world that is constantly changing, creating the right digital experience begins with Service Design.


Learn about 23 Terms about this content

The Service Design Litmus Test

Service Design is a process that focuses on designing service experiences that meet the needs and desires of users. While being cost-effective effective for the companies that provide them. It is an interdisciplinary approach that combines different skills to create solutions focused on the user and adapted to their needs, and that also takes into account the objectives and resources of the company.



A workshop that is typically conducted within 1-2 days, that provides a rapid deep-dive into various types of AI and what may work for specific organizations. When it comes to designing a digital solution, a guided bootcamp allows all key stakeholders to explore the possibilities, determine the data that will be needed and how to collect it, and then defines the strategy, built upon multidisciplinary and system thinking.


Business Designer

A services firm or design professional that helps companies apply design-thinking practices to ideate new strategies and business solutions to reimagine digital experiences.

Business Change Management

The methodologies, tools, and strategies utilized to address the human impact of change to achieve a required business outcome.


Customer Experience

The sum of the interactions a customer has with a brand, product or service, over the span of the relationship. It also represents the overall perception a customer has of your company or service based on their infractions with you.


The key principle behind Service Design, that puts customer experience at the center of all initiatives.


Digital Business Design

An approach to building digital solutions that involves solution architecture, implementation and integration, to integrate business and technology design to inform user roles, business transactions, processes, canonical information and events.

Design Sprint

Using an approach first created by Google Ventures, a Design Sprint accelerates thinking around a possible area of opportunity in a very focused format – usually within a few days.

Design Studio Projects

Applying design thinking methods to discover opportunities by understanding user, customer and stakeholder needs. These projects build upon insights between human needs and business capabilities to develop new technology solutions.

Design Thinking

A method for problem-solving and innovation based on custom methodologies guided by design professionals, who follow five key pillars: empathy, problem defining, ideating, prototyping and testing.


Experience Design

Defining and refining experiences based on a unified vision and customer understanding based on research and stakeholder input.


Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes—and it’s a core tenant of Service Design. It enables you to understand user needs, desires and frustrations and consider them when building solutions


Focus Group

A Service Design research prctice that bring key business stakeholders together to discuss issues and concerns about their digital experiences. They are moderated by a design professional but conducted in an informal way so that participants are comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions.

Full-Stack Designer

A designer with expertise into all of the elements of the product design and development process – from UX design, to UI design and front-end development.


Gestalt Principles

Derived from psychology, they are a set of principles that describe how our minds organize and interpret visual data. They can be used inform design decisions and shape the user experience.



Taken from the psychology field, it represents a mental shortcut which enables people to solve problems and make decisions quickly, based on what they’ve learned from previous experiences. It can be used to determine the usability of a digital interface.


Innovation Accelerator

A design strategy that applies lean startup methods to quickly define an idea, test it out and pivot to what works. It involves all of key stakeholders, who collaborate closely with an experienced design team.

Interaction Design

A subset of User Experience (UX), it is the process of considering the interaction between users and products. They factor in words, visual representations, physical objects or space, time and behaviors.

Iterative Design

The method for continuously improving and refining a solution or service and taking the pulse of users in order to improve the user experience.


Journey Mapping

A detailed visual representation of a customer or user journey across their relationship with the product or company. It can be hypothetical or evidence-based.

Artificial intelligence

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Key Performance Indicators

A quantifiable measure of performance over time for a specific objective. KPIs provide milestones to gauge the progress of a design or development team.


Launchpad Huddles

A Service Design methodology that focuses on understanding users’ patterns, goals and needs and then ensuring that software delivers in a human-centric, intuitive way – in terms of both the user experience and the user interface.


Mental Model

A mental model indicates how we perceive and believe how things work, or how a user expects a digital solution to work. They help to better understand user needs as part of the design process.



The process of getting users comfortable with your solution or service. Once a solution is designed and developed, it is a key step in enabling a positive user experience.


Prototype Labs

A practice generally used to evaluate a new design or solution before it goes into production. It serves to provide specifications for a real, working system rather than a theoretical one. It's also a low-cost version of an idea that can be tested, tweaked and improved based on user feedback.


Qualitative User Research

Research is a critical part of the user experience. It provides insight into your users’ thoughts, motivations and behaviors through data which cannot be measured or counted. It could for example, be feedback gathered from a stakeholder.



A visual depiction of a user’s experience with a service or solution. It helps designers understand the user journey and understand the users frustrations, needs and how they may respond to specific solutions or services.

Service Design

Service Design is a set of principles that allows teams to approach challenges by putting end-user and stakeholder needs at the center of the conversation. Using empathy research and discovery methods it enables them to rapidly dig deep into what frustrates a user, what employees need, and the underlying drivers and mental models of stakeholders.


UX/UI Design Services

A design process that enables service design professionals to build seamless experiences. It focuses on understanding users’ use patterns, goals and needs and then ensuring that solutions deliver in a human-centric, intuitive way – in terms of both the user experience and the user interface.

UX Design

The speciality of capturing how a user feels whenever they use or interact with a solution or service, and creating positive user experiences that solve specific problems or needs.

User Interfaces

The point of interaction between humans and computers. It contains all the features a user needs to interact with a digital solution. Service design professionals work to ensure that interfaces are user-friendly, intuitive and provide a positive user experience.


Visioning and Trends

A service design tool that enables companies to tap into changing user expectations and needs. It works to identify the trends and drivers that shape a specific market, crafts the concepts that help an organization succeed and creates a vision of the future.



Depicts the basic layout of a solution or website, visualizing how it will look. It is an important part of the UX process as it allows you to test and validate initial concepts before developing them into final solutions. Wireframes are one step before prototypes, which provide an early-evolution of the solution before it is mass produced.

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