Many Trampoline Parts is Not Good Design. Captain Obvious, I know. Yet, that was exactly my experience in taking down and in putting up our new trampoline for my family. Read on.
There are many close parallels between product design and service design. Assembling my new trampoline and disassembling my old trampoline taught me about how to design for service and how to design for customer experience.
Here’s my story.
Product Design: A Trampoline Parts Example
I recently took down our 3 year old trampoline because we bought a new one. Our old one was broken, and I was very apprehensive to take it down because I remember what it was like to set it up 3 years ago:
- It took a long time
- I felt frustrated
- The parts didn’t fit well
- There were too many parts and I became confused
- Customer service wasn’t helpful
- And I felt like a failure.
I’m not being over-dramatic; I’m not the most hand person and I really struggled to put the trampoline together 3 years ago. Taking it downs was something I wasn’t looking forward to. I would’ve rather gone for a ride on my GPS.
Well, I took the old trampoline down and here’s a picture:
I took down the safety enclosure, the springs, the jumping surface (the bouncy thing), and the structure. Here are some statistics on parts and time for taking down the old trampoline:
- Safety Enclosure Parts: 12
- Trampoline Parts: 33
- Time: 35 minutes (trampoline only, not safety enclosure)
Now, when I put together the new trampoline, it was significantly easier, pleasant, faster, and I felt like a champion – “daddy the super hero” is what one of my kids called me. Here are the statistics for putting together the new trampoline:
- Trampoline Parts: 12
- Time: 15 minutes (trampoline only, not safety enclosure
Here is a picture of the new trampoline:
The time difference between the old trampoline and the new trampoline was a 57% decrease in time! That means the less time it takes me to deal with the trampoline equates to more time I can spend with my kids.
Time Difference: 57% decrease in time to assembly trampoline
Parts Difference: 63% decrease in parts
What is Design for Service?
Service Design is about managing the components of a service and its interaction – the varying touchpoints – with the customer. It involves the following:
- What is the purpose of the service?
- Who are the actors involved in the service?
- What does “perfect” service look like? Feel like?
- What is the process path and customer journey of a “perfect” service? Describe each touchpoint.
- What are the failure-mode scenarios? What are the appropriate service or system response for each of those failure-mode scenarios? Describe each touchpoint.
The above are just some items that need to be considered when designing for service.
Service Design: Difference in Customer Experience
True, my experience doesn’t involve a touchpoint with a human or with a service. But, my interaction with a product (the trampoline) exposes some principles that clearly apply to service. Here are some key takeaways:
- Design with fewest parts as possible: without the safety enclosure, there was almost a 1:3 difference in parts. Analogous to service, service design needs to be architected with the fewest steps, parts, and touchpoints as possible.
- Design with simple structures: our old trampoline was a circle shape and I found that the legs were very hard to put on because a circle, while simple, is sometimes not molded to specifications perfectly. While the new trampoline was designed as a hexagon – straight lines – and that was very easy to put together.
- Design with purpose: I wanted to spend the least amount of time putting a trampoline together and more of my time playing on it with my kids. Service Design should be viewed from the same perspective – what does the customer hope to accomplish? If the customer were designing the service, how would she do it?
If you think about, the above points are almost common sense. But experience tells us that it’s clearly not common practice. This means there’s great opportunity for who wish to improve both products and service.