This project was created within the new Service Design B.F.A. program at SCAD and summarizes the collective work of eleven undergraduate service and industrial design students. For this project we chose to reimagine the service that mobile voice and data providers offer to their customers. We chose AT&T as the subject for our research and continued to create new service strategies and touchpoints under their brand name.
Of the ten weeks spent on this project, 5 of them were spent on first hand contextual inquiry revolving around all things mobile communication. We participated in scenarios such as purchasing or replacing phones, observed and interviewed customers, distributed cultural probes that asked a variety of user types to catalog their phone use throughout their day, and conducted other activities that helped identify the needs of the people. Likewise, we searched for secondary research that would help us understand the positions and priorities of mobile service providers today and where infrastructure will be moving in the future.
After synthesizing our research, we were able to focus our attention on two key areas. The first, the customer lifecyle map, illustrates points of frustration and negative emotion that cause people to terminate their service and switch to another provider. One of our driving goals became to shift the areas in the negative red areas to the positive green areas to make customers more happy and therefore keep them attached to a provider they actually want to be with.
This second visualization, a service ecology, shaped our key strategy change for AT&T, to move away from just being an access provider and move towards being a content provider.
As a whole, our changes to AT&T’s overall service shift the priorities away from individual devices and segregated service offerings and instead put the spotlight on customer content. We’ve tied together and provided a reliable access method for all customer content with our idea of the AT&T Communication Hub. We’ve created seamlessness between the entertainment and communication environments within the customer’s daily life with our idea of the AT&T Home Server. We’ve also cut cycle time for in-store processes and support activities by better connecting each and every relevant piece together. By focusing on reducing tension points within our customer life-cycle map, we’ve also developed ideas based around encouraging exploration within AT&T’s offerings, creating a more transparent overview of the customer’s position within AT&T, and acknowledging customer loyalty with an experience based rewards system.
My focus within the final offerings revolved around identifying the core values each touchpoint should contribute to the service as a whole and on the design and strategy related to the communication hub touchpoint.
The communication hub can be accessed through a web application or desktop client. Any changes made through the mobile phone or the web application are automatically synced together. The hub acts as a mediator that intercepts all personal content and makes it available in one source. Calls can be made right from the hub, so access to all of your communication tools and data is always available even if your primary device goes down. Likewise, because the hub connects to the internet with a variety of network protocols, calls can easily be made internationally with no extra charges while your contacts never know the difference. The hub also acts as a task manager that's finally relevant to your workflow. Unlike other task managers that keep content in yet another silo, the communication hub positions these features where they're finally relevant, within communication. The idea for this touchpoint was created alongside Izac Ross, who also provided his wireframing and content strategy expertise to the mix.
All of the subscriber's chosen devices are linked to the communication hub and certain additional features are made available such as flagging a text message as a task.
Another key to our revised services' success is scalability between touchpoints. We quickly recognized that we could only create a great experience if each of our touchpoints were consistent with each other in terms of usability, visual design, and function. It was also necessary for these characteristics to be relevant to their context of use, medium, and input method. With this in mind, I also created the refined design for the screen interface of the in-home tablet, with cues taken from the communication hub. Wireframing expertise was provided by Darby Thomas and the physical tablet design was created by Jerome Tavé.
Likewise, the communication hub acts as a gateway to customer support and other account functions that in turn create stronger balance amongst all of AT&T's online functions and add a home for our proposed support ticket creation tool. By presenting all relevant account information in one source, we're able to create a service that leads users to be more aware of the service and knowledgeable about solving problems.Back