How we used the Good Services Scale to evaluate the GlobalScot service

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Good Services Scale is a tool that was developed by Lou Downe, the director of design and transformation for land and housing at the UK government. It allows you to assess the quality of your service using the 15 principles of good service design.

The Good Services Scale in Excel format, with a 0-4 scale across the top in red, orange, yellow, blue and green
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About Katie Dickerson

I'm a service designer with a background in content design and a passion for taking hard things and making them simple.

Surface Pro 4 – Tablet Review

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I have a circa 3 year old Surface Pro 4 to review. It is 64 bit with 8GB memory and a Core i5-6300cpu @2.4GHz.

So here goes…

Summary

  • It is thin, fairly fast, and better than any other Windows 10 laptop I have ever tried. 
  • The touchscreen feels like a gimmick at first, until you start to miss it, on laptops that don’t have it. 
    I actually tried to “Pinch to Zoom” a magazine photo. (MacBook trackpads also drive this behaviour)
  • Windows 10 works well on it, and the screen is rather good, but it reflects everything
    I never got to try the Surface Pen, as that did not get delivered with it. 
  • It is easy to switch between Desktop and Tablet mode, but it is a really annoying tablet. 
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Fidelity increases as uncertainty decreases

Graph showing how the fidelity of your product increases as uncertainty decreases, but asymmetrically

Reading Time: 3 minutes

No, this is not a couples counselling site.

I and others on my team have had a lot of discussion recently about what we are doing, why we're doing it, what we can test and why we are testing it.

In an agile team, this is healthy. As long as the discussion remains respectful, talking is great, because we need to reach a consensus, agree a course of action, and commit to it. As a team.

We may not all be 100% convinced that what we're doing is the right thing to do. But we all agree to do our best to achieve it, even if (sometimes) our motivation is to demonstrate that it was the wrong thing.

But you can only demonstrate that by doing the wrong thing right (if you see what I mean).

I saw this on Twitter this evening.

Then I did this recalulation.

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About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.

Love the problem and not the solution

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I have all sorts of training and qualifications that help me to design and build awesome solutions. It excites me. I love my job. Which means that I have to sit on the impulse to jump straight to solutions and remember to concentrate on the problem every single day.

The moment you start to design a solution, you are heading down a road that is harder to get off  every day that passes. It is human nature. You invest time, effort and your personal awesomeness in a solution and before long you love it. It can be emotionally painful to ditch it even if it is obviously not the right solution.  (I promise not to start talking about any of my ex’s). Even if you don’t like the solution, it is still hard to throw away the time and money invested in it. It is all too easy to roll out a solution that does not really solve the problem any more. 

The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is a tourist icon, but that is just a benefit. The problem it was built to solve was to get across the Golden Gate strait, thus saving the hours it would take to drive round the bay.

If an earthquake knocks the bridge down, the new one might be very different. The solution is variable but the problem is the same.

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Service Design – How we work

Reading Time: 2 minutesEverybody has a methodology for how teams should work. Some of them are great but most of them are complicated. Here is how Service Design works at Scottish Enterprise.

I am showing three diagrams but the middle one is the one I love best.

Let’s begin:

1. Super simple

We are not a software house. What we do is design and deliver services. We try to be a bit lean & agile and that involves iterating constantly. This means that a traditional discovery, alpha, beta, Live flow is a bit too waterfally for us (I may have just invented a word there).

What we really do in  Service Design is:

  • Find value
  • Develop value
  • Deliver value

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Designing for mobile first

Reading Time: 3 minutesWe recently released a Beta version of our export health check diagnostic.

It’s a simple thing that asks you 7 questions with yes or no answers. You can run through it in 2 minutes.

We know this, because we tested it through a rapid series of iterations. We made a prototype, put it out for testing and changed it the next day based on what we had learned the night before.

In the space of a week we had something we knew worked well, that people could use comfortably and delivered something of real value.

Export health check
Export health check (desktop version)

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About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.

Embrace uncertainty

Rhinoceros

Reading Time: 4 minutes

OK, here's a quiz

I was going to write some whizzy code for this, but then I thought: be agile. What's the quickest, cheapest thing you could do to test this idea?

So I'm going to trust you.

All I'm asking is that you read the question and answer it without thinking too hard about it … your gut instinct is what I'm after.

Take no more than 10 seconds to reach a conclusion.

Otherwise, I may have to write some whizzy code to stop you from cheating …

Question

You have £100 to invest. You decide to invest it in a bank account that pays 1% interest per day.

After 1 year, how much money will you have? Scribble it down. Right now. Doesn't have to be on a post-it.

(And it would be great if you could tell us your estimate in the comments at the end of the article.)
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About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.

It’s your first date. Behave …

Reading Time: 5 minutesWe’ve been experimenting with mood maps to record customers’ emotions while they use the prototypes we test with them. The results are revealing …

Mood maps are pretty simple graphs of emotion over time. You just observe someone interacting with the app or content you are developing and plot how positive or negative their emotions are for the duration of the test.

But they allow you to tell a story.

Here’s what a mood map looks like.

Mood map
So, how was it for you?

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About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.

Open up

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Those of you with a 4 (or even a 3) ominously close to the start of your age will recognise the title of of a song by Leftfield with John Lydon on vocals.

For us, it's about being open, honest and transparent about what we're doing.

We don't want to hide the successes – and failures – of the things we try. It's just as important that we learn from our mistakes as our triumphs.

So if we try something and it doesn't work … well, here's the data.

Up to now, we've been open(ish) about our results. They're on a wall, visible to everyone who comes to see us, and updated every day.

But they're invisible to people who don't come to visit. And updates are manual. So we thought it would be a good idea to automate them, and to publish them publicly. And update them more frequently.

Every hour? Every minute? every second?

Very short update frequency seemed overkill for our needs. The truth is, though, that we didn't, and still don't, know.

So we thought we'd try to find out what the best thing is to do. And you, dear reader, are part of our experiment.
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About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.