After carrying out the research experiments, phase two of the Douceurs project explored and developed service concepts. At this stage, service experts were approached and simple forms of technology used to further my thinking and understanding of words and communication.

Development:

  1. Technological Experiments
  2. Re-engaging with People
  3. Focus Group
  4. Thinking Aloud
  5. Character Profiles
  6. Reaching the Audience
  7. Moodboard
  8. Cultural Probes
  9. Branding
  10. Service Design
  11. Touchpoints

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1. Technological Experiments

Each of these experiments gave me an insight as to how people respond in extraordinary and different ways to handwriting and to physical letters.

Light Writing: The video below illustrates an experiment I carried out using LED’s, tape, magnets and batteries.

Writing on the Wall: Further experiments were set up using projectors, and were captured with a wireless cameras. I used the projector to display letters, emails and texts onto parchment paper, newspaper and blank walls and then interviewed recipients to gather responses and insights. I attached a wireless camera to the top of a pen and I watched the happenings being projected onto the wall in front of me. This experiment was really good fun and sparked many conversations to those who watched it.

Making Mistakes: The following video depicts a letter I wrote to my grandmother. Any mistakes I made were recorded and my hesitation of word choice is evident. Writing a letter in this way immersed my thoughts into how ‘Douceurs’ could capture these feelings.

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2. Re-engaging with People.

The experience of the service was tested by observing the person involved and interviewing them afterwards. This is a technique used by Service Designers to find out what clients do, what they think and how they feel. Early on the concept of sending letters to the future sparked of many conversation within the initial group.

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3. Focus Group

A small group of diverse people were selected to enable me to have a guided discussion about my selected idea. This qualitative method was used to share thoughts and opinions, feelings , attitudes and misconceptions. This was an interesting method to identify what people really think of my service and get their opinions on new ideas or improvements.

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4. Thinking Aloud

A few selected people were asked to ‘think out loud’ whilst using a part of the service. This revealed their expectations, experience and problems of using my service and prompted and encouraged them to speak out. I also studied how people feel when they go out to collect the mail – bringing in the mail is a detour that allows consumers to relax, unwind and come back a little more refreshed.

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5. Character Profiles

This exercise helped to establish an understanding of who the clients of the service are. I created an image and a short description of a fictional character. This helped me to understand and imagine what sort of client would use the service, and what their needs, experiences and expectations would be. It was an easy and quick method of gaining insight into users and I found myself questioning values of certain characters…“What would Sara do at this point?

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6. Reaching the Audience

I placed an advert in the local newspaper:

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7. Moodboard

I constructed a collage of different images and materials to visually capture the mood and atmosphere of Douceurs. I tried to collate both the service experience and the environment that the service would take place in. This created an unconscious, sensual and intangible value of the service that is difficult to capture in words. Some images are conceptual, some show details and some are metaphors.

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8. Cultural Probes

To encourage users to experience a component of the service, I asked people to write a letter to their future selves. These were people who responded to my newspaper advert, therefore people I did not know. These are some of the responses:

  • “It excites me to guess what it will be like in the future. I can only hope that at 32, I have more common sense than I do at 22.”
  • “I sincerely want to be able to remember daily routines.”
  • “Ten years worth of love.”
  • “I know I have told you what a caring person you are so I am just putting these feelings into words.”
  • “You used to be funny – I hope you still are.”
  • ”I hope you keep listening to music: remember how loud you should play it.”
  • “Enjoy the next chapter of your life with the same enthusiasm you always have and know how special you are to me.”

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I started with an understanding of users. I imagined what it could be. I experimented through prototyping and then encouraged participation. I will now make it work for real people and their lives.

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9. Branding

Clear and consistent throughout. Note how the aesthetic use of sealant wax and ink provoked repsonses.

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10. Service Design

The foundations of my final concept are based upon conclusions drawn from my initial research as well as intense insight into peoples lives. The Douceurs service enables users to write a letter to the future, either to themselves or to friends or family, and ‘stores’ the letter until the chosen date of delivery. The Douceurs product is the tangible communication vehicle – the envelope. To document the service journey (and co-design the service with others) I created a service wall.

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11. Touchpoints

All touchpoints need to be considered in totality and crafted in order to create a clear, consistent and unified experience. The user touchpoints are the areas of the Douceurs service that customers come into contact with. In order to deepen my understanding of touchpoints, what they mean to customers and how other companies design them, I have been collecting touchpoints that I associate with Douceurs.

The receipt: How can I design the receipt in such as way it will encourage the user to trust their letter will be safe with Douceurs? The font, the graphics , colours and images used all have to researched.

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Exploration into the relationship between branding and touchpoints:

sc000090c2Rough Service Concept Blueprint:

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