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Digital Methods for Service Design

Roberta Tassi, Agata Brilli, Donato Ricci

From logs and information left in online spaces to data points self-generated by connected devices, digital traces have become more and more diffused over the past years. Along with some big-data approaches, Digital Methods of research - treating the actual content of users’ manifestation online (i.e. tweets, Instagram pictures, comments) - offer the opportunity to better understand people and behaviors through their online activities. This paper investigates how Digital Methods can be repurposed as a full-fledged approach for the Service Design practice, by offering a method to outline service design frameworks from a corpus of web data. This quantitative methods, in combination with the traditional qualitative approaches, leverage the continuous exchange of information that is happening in the digital space and suggest the possibility to automate parts of the data collection and analysis processes in support of service design activities. Grafting on several case studies - we will explain how Digital Methods could be used to identify and describe a set of personas by extracting and interpreting data from their online activities, and we will inquire into the application of the same methodological approach to map other frameworks - such as experience journeys or system maps - that are critical to Service Design.