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Service Design Studio: Southwest Airlines

The service design class is focused on understanding and designing services that help people. The course is a combination of individual activities, readings, peer-to-peer presentations, and team projects. The first five weeks of the class was focused on researching and understanding waiting in line experiences. The next fifteen weeks were spent working with a challenge partner, in this case Southwest Airlines, to design, prototype and refine new services to streamline and make the start and end of the service more human-centered.


This 15-week service design studio aims to improve the start and end of the service experience for Southwest Airlines. The studio involves but is not limited to: research work, ideation, and prototyping work. The project will begin by gaining an immersive understanding of waiting in line experiences and then move on to designing, prototyping, and refining new services and service delivery modes for Southwest Airlines. The project partner is Southwest Airlines.

Opportunity Space / Product

Phase 1: Link to Presentation

Phase 2: (in progress)

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My Role

Research in service design is the process of gathering information and insights about the users, the service, and the service ecosystem in order to inform the design of a service. It is a crucial step in the service design process as it allows designers to understand the needs, wants, and expectations of the users, as well as the context in which the service will be used. Research methods used in service design include:


User research: This involves conducting interviews, surveys, and observations with the users of the service to understand their needs, behaviors, and feedback.


Contextual research: This involves studying the environment in which the service will be used, including the physical and social context, as well as the broader ecosystem in which the service operates.


Competitive analysis: This involves studying the service offerings of competitors in order to understand what works well and what doesn't.


Benchmarking: This involves studying the best practices and standards in the industry in order to understand what is expected of the service.


The research is typically used to inform the creation of personas, user journeys, service blueprints, and other service design deliverables. It is an iterative process, and the insights gained from research are often used to inform the next round of research, as well as the design and implementation of the service.

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