5by5: Visualizing Service Design, Mauro Rego

Interview with Mauro Rego, Senior Service and Product Designer at Being Visual

By Thomas Brandenburg


“It is essential to know what needs to be communicated and to whom. There are instances where it is more appropriate to come up a contextual new tool for a specific solution.” —Mauro Rego


What are the essential tools and frameworks that help communicate visually in service design?

We can take the usual suspects, like User/Customer Journey, the Service Blueprint and the Business Model Canvas. They work well in communicating the basics elements of a service.

However all of them have some limitations. It is essential to know what needs to be communicated and to whom. There are instances where it is more appropriate to come up a contextual new tool for a specific solution.



What tools and frameworks do you incorporate in co-creation sessions while working with business stakeholders that aren’t adept in visual communication?

I am a big fan of the “Drawing a toast” exercise from Tom Wujec. I have reframed it to support group work when visualizing processes and services. Besides that it really helps to create templates on tools that they domain and can already generate a almost hi fidelity visualization, like templates for mobile design on Power Point.



What are common mistakes made service design visualizations?

There are three main common mistakes – overload, fluffy simplification and lack of insights.

Overload is when a designer tries to include too many things in 1 visual tool. A way to avoid it is try to focus in one question to be answer per visualisation (e.g.: a Customer Journey, answer “What are the user steps?”).

Fluffy Simplication is when the visualisation doesn’t answer any specific question and needs the constant explanation from the presenter. An example are those diagrams with three buzzwords or mind maps with random words. They might be good as an introduction and catchy for presentations, but they are really not enough for proper service deliveries.

Lack of insights is when you have a beautiful visual but it doesn’t answer anything about the service. It is usually seen on data visualizations that are really fancy designed, but no one can read any information that is shown in it. Did anyone say spider diagrams?


Are there any visualization tools for service design you are rethinking or have seen reinvented?

The last one that I tweaked was the usual storyboard. I was missing in it a specific frame. To initially pitch a service, you can use the elevator pitch, but it can not show how the service works in simple steps.

I decided to create the storyboard pitch, a 5 frames storyboard with specific questions to help explain the main elements (user, need, main touchpoint, activation, function and value delivered). You can download it here: http://beingvisual.de/StoryboardServicePitch.pdf



What resources would you recommend for people interested in incorporating visual tools and communication in their service design practice?

If you want to get a better understanding on visualization, get the book “Functional Art” from Alberto Cairo,  Making Comics from Scott McCloud and Show, Don’t tell from Don Roam.

I also share inspirations and links about Service Design in the Service Design Berlin facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/servicedesignberlin) and about visualisation in the Being Visual facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BeingVisual.de/)


Be sure to check-out Mauro’s workshop, “Visualising Services” at the upcoming 2017 SDN Global Conference

Check-out other conversations at 5by5.blog