Refining concepts and re-engaging with stakeholders led to the design of the Douceurs service. The final Douceurs concept is a service that enables and encourages people to send letters to their future. 

Design:

  1. Principles
  2. Business
  3. Line of Visibility
  4. Service Touchpoints
  5. Service Website

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1. Principles

The following ‘Service Design Principles’ have been used as a guide throughout the design.

  • Do not harm. Do not make people feel silly or embarrassed.
  • Transparency and honesty.
  • Anticipate well. Be thoughtful, be deliberate in a meaningful way. Be very subtle.
  • Help people feel secure. Take care of their details, data and information.
  • Connect the dots.Make it flow. Online – Tangible.
  • Design from the users point of view.
  • Apologize generously. Be socially apologetic for any mistakes.

Services happen over time, dynamic performances delivered through systems of people, things and processes. This is imperative to the success of Douceurs, as it happens over infinite periods of time.

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2. Business

Studying the ABS Stanford technique assisted in the development of the service as well as the business case. This was introduced by Gill Wildman from Plot.

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  • Needs: who it is for and what need it is fulfilling.
  • (latent need- existing need but not yet developed; hidden; concealed)
  • Approach: what are going to do and how?
  • Benefits: what value does it create for people?
  • Competition: who else is doing anything like this?

These images show how I created user scenarios using the character profiles generated in the development stage. An example of the people I concluded would use this service:

  • A parent giving advice to child.
  • A teenager keen to grow up.
  • An Alzheimers patient eager to record memories.
  • A pregnant women wanting to share emotions and thoughts with her unborn child.
  • A fiance writing to their partner.

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3. Line of Visibility

Documented below is the process I went through to generate the line of visibility. This means what the user of the service can see, what they can’t see and when.

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post_it2

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4. Service Touchpoints

The stamp that is used on the envelope in which the Douceurs product arrives in is a subtle, but important touchpoint. I designed this stamp using the Royal Mail’s Smilers service, therefore it enabled me to test an existing service whilst creating a new touchpoint for Douceurs.

The main touchpoint: “It is an intelligent decision to explore the product from the sender and receivers point of view.”(Graham Pullin, interaction designer).

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lynn_shostack

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Douceurs Identity and Product Packaging:


final_product

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Future Mail Postage Stamp:

postage

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Packaging Instructions:

packaging_instruct2

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5. Service Website

The website Douceurs.co.uk is the primary touchpoint for the Douceurs service. It is designed to portray the brand values of the company. It is clear, concise and very easy to navigate and has been designed as if the service really existed. It is a fully working e-commerce site that allows the user to register, log-in, and make a payment. The website is consistent with the branding integrated throughout the other touchpoints – using the same typefaces, colour palette and visual identity. The five sections of the website are as follows:

  1. About
  2. Products
  3. Account
  4. Questions
  5. Contact

1. About informs the customer what Douceurs is about and by discussing the service benefits encourages user participation. The videos document service scenarios and enable the user to see how the service would fit into their own life.

douceurs-about

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2. Products is used to inform the user of the range of products available, showing the different categories. These categories put the letters into ‘themes’ they were provided to reinforce to the user how the service fits into their life, for instance seeing the product designed for a love letter or a legacy letter immediately sparks off ideas and inspiration in the users mind. The purchase section is of great significance as this is when the service obtains vital details and addresses. It also determines the delivery date which then influences the price, so it is very important this section is clear and easy to follow.

douceurs-products

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3. Account is for use after purchase, it gives the user the opportunity to view how many years, months and days are left until delivery. This is acheived by a flash animated clock – linked to a database, which can calculate the desired figures. It also lets the user check their letter has been dispatched into storage safely and if the letter has been delivered safely. However, the latter would not be used regularly due to the large time that passes in between posting and delivery, it is unlikely that many users would log in years later to check but I felt it was still a necessary function to offer.

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4. Questions are used to put the users mind at ease with regards to questions many people ask when thinking about sending a letter to the future. Such as – what happens if I am no longer alive at the time of delivery? What happens if the receipeint moves house? etc. these are questions that were highlighted by focus group members and the answers help to make the user feel comfortable.

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5. Contact provides the details needed for contact, and the service head quarters. The way this section is worded is important as communication between the service and its users would be highly encouraged, after all … the service is all about writing letters.

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