Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Learning Log #5: Vending Machines

Along the lines of Service Design, it has also become less and less of a person to person type of services. It has become more of a person to machine service. Vending machines are service designs that have been around for a long time. It seems odd since I talked about McDonald's and Starbucks, which have human interaction, to vending machines which do not, but are still a service design since they serve people. I've been noticing at more places that your ordinary vending machine is not just used for snacks and drinks anymore. There are places in which you can get a whole meal from a vending machine or an ipod or a camera or even ice cream. I find it interesting that becomes less used as person to person communication. The technology in our world is almost like it is taking over human interaction with one another.

There a place in New York called, "Bamn!" that serves your food automatically through a vending machine. Ipods are not only being sold at the Apple Store, but in vending machines too, you can even customize them with accessories that the also have in the vending machines. In Japan, everything seems to be a vending machine now. There is not a lot of human to human services anymore, they have relied on vending machines to take over for them. Even the snack and drink vending machines have been upgraded, they have more of a robotic feel to them. Vending machines are just another example of service design, but are they really helping society by getting rid of some of the human interaction? Here's a video that I found that explains some of these vending machines:

Learning Log #5: Service Design

I find service design to be not even noticed as design. People go from day to day using subway card machines, using their cell phone, buying something to eat at a fast-food restaurant or catching a taxi, but not know that they are a designed service. Many of them work so well that people do not notice. Like we have learned throughout this semester, you only notice design when the design is bad and needs to be fixed, but when design is good, people do not recognize it. This describes a characteristic of a service because it is intangible. In many ways it is a design that went through a long thought process and resulted in an organized functional design. A couple that comes to mind are McDonald's and Starbucks Coffee. McDonald's and Starbucks Coffee have become pretty much become universal. Everyone knows what they are and knows what kind of products they are selling. They have branded their names so well that if you were to show their logos to people, they would recognize it. This is a map of the world that shows how much these two companies have taken over the world.
These companies are so large that they must be doing something right. Their service design has been able to make them become as successful as they have become. They both possess qualities and characteristics of a service design. Many people would not think these were 'designs', in thinking that a design is more of an art term, but indeed a service is a methodical design.

The characteristics are the service is intangible, a provider ownership, co-created, flexible, time based, active, and fluctuates by demand. The culmination of these qualities and when they are done well, makes for a successful service. Services that I mentioned before of McDonalds and Starbucks have portrayed all of these qualities.

The process of the service design becomes extremely important. From the time someone comes into a Starbucks until they leave is crucial in this process. How it is acted out for a positive outcome is how it was ordered, created a delivered to a customer. This applies to all services.

The question came up of 'why service design?' It was definitely a question that I pondered over. It's true, not many people think of design of services to people, but they are certainly something that someone has to do. It's remarkable how complex they become, but people are usually satisfied. It baffles my mind how people can design logos and do branding for it is a representation of the company and have a logo that everyone knows about. It takes a lot to really discover a design that will do that, for all people to know it. We talked about universal design in my History of Communications class and how design because this International Style. I found International Style can really relate to Service. There has to be a universal way that people know service design.