Service Design vs UX Design - Choosing The Right Design Approach
UX Design
May 15, 2024
6 mins read
Service design vs UX design

Service Design vs UX Design

UX vs Service design
UX vs Service design

Source: Image


User experience, the world is talking about it. The expanding digital domain pushes every company beyond its boundaries to adopt innovative strategies to help establish a brand. Data shows that 86% of customers are willing to do more for a better customer experience. Hence, companies prioritize improving the customer experience, and the responsibility falls on creating a personalized experience.


The question that pops up here is how to design an experience that resonates with the user and keeps them engaged. Here comes the concept of user experience design and service design. These two powerful tools work together to create an engaging customer experience.


Is user experience design and service design the same, or is there a difference between the two? This blog takes you through the depths of both these concepts, their key features, and how they work together to orchestrate a seamless experience for the customer.


Exploring the Depths of User Experience (UX) and Service Design

As mentioned above, user experience and service design work together to create an engaging customer experience. However, there is a line of difference between these two concepts.

What is UX Design? 

UX design
UX design

Source: Image 

Their experience design focuses on creating user-centric interfaces and interactions. It ensures it covers all the touch points a user has with a digital project like a website, an application, or software. A user experience (UX) designer aims to make the platform engaging, intuitive, and enjoyable. UX design, or user experience design, focuses on crafting user-centered interfaces and interactions.


Just like a well-designed building is easy to navigate and use, a well-designed UX makes it effortless for users to achieve their goals within the product.


Key Features of UX Design That Build This User-centric Experience

Key Features of UX Design
Key features of UX design

Source: Image

User Research

The primary objective of user experience design is to follow intensive user research. It can be via interviews, usability testing, or surveys. Here, the aim is to understand the user's needs and pain points. Keeping this as a center point, the user experience designer creates the foundation of crafting an experience that addresses consumer’s concerns.

Information Architecture (IA)

Organized content creates a powerful impact. Information architecture is the pillar of a compelling user experience design. This aspect focuses on organizing the content and functionalities in a way that answers the customer’s query.

User Interface (UI) Design

While creating a compelling UX design, the UX designer needs to focus on various elements, including UI. It emphasizes the visual elements of a product, from layout and typography to icons and animations. The aim is to create a visually appealing and user-friendly interface. UI design is the aesthetic layer on top of the IA, making the user experience functional and visually engaging.

Usability Testing

Usability testing involves observing users interact with a product to identify usability issues. This iterative process helps refine the design and ensures a smooth user experience. Usability testing is like getting feedback on a prototype building – you identify weaknesses and iterate until you have a strong, functional structure.


Considering all these core elements, the UX design ensures the user can navigate the digital product hassle-free.


Example: Ordering Food Online

Imagine ordering food through a restaurant's app. A UX designer would focus on aspects like:

  • Clarity of the menu: Is it easy to browse categories and find desired dishes?
  • Ordering process: Can users seamlessly add items, customize orders, and checkout?
  • Visual appeal: Are high-quality food images used? Is the app layout clean and uncluttered?

UX Design Benefits

Increased User Satisfaction and Engagement

Creating an intuitive interface and user-friendly design makes the entire customer experience interactive and enjoyable. It also leads to higher customer satisfaction and enhances engagement.

Improved Conversion Rates and Sales

A well-designed user experience guides the user towards the desired actions. This eventually boosts the purchase or signing up for the services.

Reduced Support Costs

The key objective of user experience design is to make the entire interface easy to use. This leads to lower customer service costs for businesses.

Enhanced Brand Reputation

Every brand wants to carve a niche in the market. To gain a competitive edge, establishing a positive brand reputation is mandatory. A positive user experience plays a pivotal role in this. It helps in building a positive brand image and fosters trust and loyalty.

Competitive Advantage

The growing digital landscape and competitive business domain have pushed brands to adopt methodologies that differentiate their brand value proposition from their contemporaries. A well-designed user experience can be helpful.


What is Service Design?

Service design
Service design

Source: Image

Service design goes beyond the aesthetics and focuses on the core element. Consider it the pillar of UX design. It is a holistic approach focusing on planning and organizing a business's resources to improve employee and customer experiences.


Key Features of Service Design

Mapping Customer Journey

The core focus of service design is to map the entire customer journey to identify every user interaction with the brand. It outlines every aspect that the user will encounter when they get in touch with the brand.

Service Blueprinting

It considers the people, processes, and technologies involved in service delivery. It acts as a layout highlighting all the details of what needs to be done and which tools help deliver faster and flawlessly.

Multi-disciplinary Collaboration

Service design thrives on collaboration. It brings together the designers, the stakeholders, the customer representatives, and the operations team together. It ensures that everyone is in alignment with the targeted task and works towards a positive customer experience.


Service design often involves co-creation workshops where customers are actively involved in the design process. This ensures the service truly addresses user needs and expectations. Co-creation is like incorporating audience suggestions into the music – personalizing the experience and making it more relevant.


Example: Visiting a Doctor

Think about a visit to the doctor's office. A service designer would consider the following:

  • Appointment booking: Is the online scheduling system user-friendly? Can patients easily reschedule or manage appointments?
  • Waiting room experience: Is the waiting area comfortable and calming? Is there clear signage and information available?
  • Doctor interaction: Does the doctor effectively communicate and address the patient's concerns?

Service Design Benefits

Enhanced Customer Experience

Designing service with the user as the Centrepoint leads to a more positive interaction Das, enhancing customer satisfaction.

Increased Efficiency and Reduced Costs

Service design focuses on streamlining the process and reducing the redundancy. This saves time and cost and increases operational efficiency.

Collaborative Work

Service design has a user-centric approach, but it also brings together other elements of customer experience to work together. The designer, the business stakeholders, and the operation team work in the same line. Thus, it improves work efficiency and reduces the probability of delays.

Improved Employee Experience

Engaging employees in the design process and optimizing their tools and workflows can lead to higher employee satisfaction and better service delivery.

Data-Driven Decision Making

By incorporating user research and data analysis into the design process, service design allows businesses to make informed decisions based on user needs.


The Need for Service Design

Need for service design
Need for service design

Source: Image

For every business, enhanced user experience is the need of the hour. The surge of non-coding UX design platforms like Webflow, the designing work is simplified, sometimes the user experience design is not enough. A successful UX design is a result of several elements coming together. Enter the service design.


Earlier, the companies were organized around different sections of customer experience, such as marketing, sales, and billing. This created a separate team that didn’t work cohesively. Consequently, it delays the operations and also impacts the overall consumer experience.  


Consider an example, where the company has to create an application. There is a dedicated team for creating a homepage, profile, and chat preferences for the application. Every team is working on their dedicated task but separately. This could make the app confusing for the user. Here comes the role of service design. It brings together the different elements associated with the development of the application. 

They work together to create a user experience that is hassle-free and flawless. Service design helps in:

  1. Overcoming the delays
  2. Ensures optimal resource utilization and reduces wastage of time.
  3. This increases the overall team’s efficiency.


Even if you design a product that offers a great experience for a customer once, it might not last if it's too hard for the company to keep doing it. Service design helps ensure a great experience, which is something the company can deliver over time. It saves time, and money, and keeps customers happy.


The Overlap: UX Design and Service Design

Overlap of UX and service design
Overlap of UX and service design

Source: Image

Although user experience and service design have certain similarities, the above description showcases that they are distinct disciplines with unique focuses and methodologies. Understanding the key differences will help the designers and organizations leverage their strengths toward creating a more impactful experience.

Unfolding the Difference Between UX Design and Service Design

Service Design

  • Focus: Service design aims to focus on customer journeys across the different touchpoints. This may be both physical and digital. It looks at the big picture, encompassing the entire customer journey across all physical and digital touchpoints. This includes everything from a user's initial awareness of a need to the final service delivery and after-sales support.
  • Goal: Service design aims to optimize the entire service ecosystem to create a seamless and positive user experience.
  • Scope: It is not niche-oriented but targets a broader zone encompassing people, processes, and the physical environment.
  • Methods: User research, service prototyping, journey mapping, service blueprinting, and stakeholder engagement.

UX Design

  • Focus: as the name highlights, the user experience design considers all the digital touch points the user has while exploring a product or a service. It includes websites, applications, and software. It ensures that these interfaces are usable, intuitive, and enjoyable.
  • Goal: To create positive user experiences within a specific product or service.
  • Scope: Focused on the user interface (UI) and user interaction with a specific product or service.
  • Methods: User research, usability testing, prototyping, wireframing, and interaction design.

Tabular Representation of Difference between Service Design and UX Design

Service design and UX design differences
Service design and UX design differences

In the End: It is All About The USER

User experience and service design have a common goal: to create an exceptional user experience. While your X design focuses on user interaction with the specific product or platform, the service design considers the holistic approach, which includes the entire user journey. When these two aspects club together, they create a seamless experience for the end-user.


By understanding the nuances of each discipline, we can appreciate the unique value they bring to the table and how their collaboration fosters user-centric innovation.

A solution-driven person with a keen interest in solving problems in digital products through designing. I have worked with 15+ clients in successfully delivering digital products such as Saint-Gobain, HDFC, elgi Ultra, LuLu Group, IIFL, Stockal etc.. worked in 10+ digital products across domains such as Network security, Fin-tech, E-commerce, Healthcare, Recruitment, Real estate etc.. Research, Ideation, Wireframing, Designing, Prototyping, testing and delivery are my bread and butter.

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