Visual language use at Swedish Migration Board

As migration increases the processes supporting migration boards as well as migrants face increasing demands for quality, effectiveness and efficiency. The Swedish Migration Board piloted the use of the VISUAL language in this complex area, where laws, international policies, multiple actors, and relationships are intertwined.

The VISUAL project supported the Migration Board in taking a service perspective on the process of spouses, registered partners or common law spouses moving together in Sweden, where one of them already is a resident.

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VISUAL in Lancashire

The VISUAL project supports Lancashire County Council in England in their effort to transform the way that they deliver services. The Council is responsible for a huge variety of services to over a million people in the North West of England. These services include libraries, schools, highways, social care, environment, public health, waste and trading standards.

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Tony Roberts, Senior Public Health Coordinator for the Council explained why they are looking for a new approach, “In Lancashire, we are embarking on the most significant shift in the way we deliver services in over a generation. We are moving away from a traditional ‘public service’ approach of delivering services to people and towards a more empowering approach – exploring innovative ways of securing the health, wellbeing and prosperity of the people and communities of Lancashire.”

This change in approach has led the Council to exploring different ways of going about designing services. “We aim to design services around the expectations and experiences of the people who use them, not of the people who manage them”, Tony explained. “That means having a much better understanding of how their contact with us makes sense within the context of how they live their lives.” Read more ›

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Greetings from the SDN conference

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For the seventh year SDN is organizing its global conference. This year in Stockholm, with around 600 participants. The theme of the conference is Creating Value for Quality of Life. Apart from a Buddhist monk convinvcing us that not everything can be designed, Nathan Shedroff recapturing his work on Experiential Values, and Service Designers focusing on the largest and most important challenges, there were two particularly interesting themes from a VISUAL perspective.

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Case study: “The eMarket place experience”

The VISUAL case studies form the basis for assessing and developing the VISUAL language through practical application. The second industry case study in VISUAL was hosted by FINN.no, Norway’s largest digital market place with approximately 3.5 million unique visitors a week.

Through the FINN.no website, individuals and businessesConcurrency can sell or buy products ranging from furniture to motor vehicles, find real estate, look for or offer craftsman services, and more. Most of the exchanges of information between buyers and sellers are supported by self-service platforms.

Kathinka FINN.no

Fredrik FINN.no

The purpose of this case study was to investigate the journey that small companies experience when they try to become corporate customers of FINN.no. “Some of the systems for corporate advertisers are known to be handled manually by sales personnel, involving many instances of phone calls and e-mail exchange with customers”, says Kathinka Fürst Ihlen, Product Manager at FINN.no. “We must develop and redesign this process further and adjust it to fit the other systems in our service”, she adds.

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Case study: “The energy experience”

VISUAL is tested iteratively each year through empirical case studies with our industry partners, as a basis for assessing and developing the language. The energy supplier Hafslund Strøm was the host of the first industry case in VISUAL.

Thor Haugnæss

Thor Haugnæss

“In recent years we have adopted several new communication channels to support the dialogue with our customers,” says Thor Haugnæss, business developer at Hafslund. “It is challenging to provide a consistent customer experience across all the channels, especially since there are several actors within the Hafslund group who are involved and directly touches upon the customer relationship.”

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In-house designer’s practice vs. agency designer’s

During the last 10-15 years there has been a lot of focus on the service designer as part of design agencies. Evidence of this can be found by looking at who is tweeting, who are active on linkedin groups, and the lineup of speakers at conferences for professionals. Not that there are no other roles and no other organisations that service designers are working in. Just as in any other design discipline there will of course be so called “in-house” service designers. Architects are working in building companies, interaction designers are working in public sector organisations, etc. In earlier work by Holmlid and Artman, focusing on procurement of well-designed IT-systems, we noted that there are strategic, managerial as well as design practice implications of an in-house position.

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Why do we need a visual language for service design?

The number of digital services that we have to deal with has exploded. They are provided through a range of different marketing channels and across various technical platforms, and we order everything from cinema tickets and new summer clothes to travel cards and holidays. Even public services have gone digital, and this year a million Norwegians submitted their tax return online.

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This is VISUAL

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The VISUAL project
Project leader:
Ragnhild Halvorsrud, SINTEF ICT
E-mail: ragnhild.halvorsrud <at> sintef.no

Project owner:
Lasse Pedersen, Halogen
E-mail: lasse.pedersen <at> halogen.no

Funding:
The project is an innovation project supported by the Research Council of Norway.