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Good Services

"How to design services that work"

by Lou Downe

Well crafted handbook on how to create and think of services that are surrounding us in our daily lives. Vast majority of chapters was introduced by a real life story that then helped to illustrate chapter's topic. I found this storytelling helpful and gave me more hands-on feeling when reading through the book. Last but not least I really like book's typography and typesetting.

Compared to other books on service design, this one tries to be a bit more ambitious since it tries to answer a question "What is a good service?". Each chapters tries bring a piece of possible answer to this question. So eventually it all builds up and one should have a better idea of what makes a good service.

Main takeaways I got from reading

  • Name services with verbs instead of nouns - it makes them more accessible to less savvy users
    • e.g. 'Fee remissions' would be a noun, 'Help with court fees' would be a verb - the latter is easier to search (Google) for and more understandable by people
  • Conway's law - your service mimics your organizational structure (and users don't care about that) - a good service is good at abstracting away underlying structure that its users don't care about
  • Collaboration within organization is a priviledge that should be nurtured
  • It is important to identify number of decision pionts. This then tells you how many steps hour service should have. The more decision points, the more steps your service should have. Also then pacing your service in a way that it forces people to slow down when they should focus properly is important. E.g. a banner that prevents (non) adult users to visit your alcohol e-commerce site. Pace is super slow there and user has to deciede either or.

Some quotes I liked from the book

  • "Inclusion is about more than just accessibility."
  • "Lack of diversity in your team leads to the lack of diversity in your service"
  • "A good service is good for everyone - users, staff, organization and the whole world" (it might be tricky to balance out needs of all of these interested parties)
  • "Google is the home page for most services"