Thursday, June 11, 2009

Service Oriented Design Reality?

True Service Oriented Design vs. Large Corporate Politics

We have started to discuss the service design and it’s concept. I really like the idea of experience as a whole interaction and focuses on you as a customer. I just recently read relevant service design topics on the web.

Dustin Curtis, who is a talented User Interface Designer, decided to redesign American Airlines Website after experiencing terrible time booking a flight via AA website. Dustin redesigned a front page in a few hours and suggested some things that are very important, but most importantly “customer experience”. After his posted his redesigned site plus some suggestions, he actually head back from AA User Experience Architect! This architect explained a few things.

A letter to AA:

A reply from AA:

The letter from AA architect touched a few things about Front and Back Stage Design process and how it is completely messed up system that they have to work in bureaucratic/political corporate environment. The website, especially AA would suffer tremendously due to many departments are in charge of area in the website. Each department have its objectives and goals to meet. By the time all of the contents are added into the site, it become large mess to customers. As a customer, you know what you need to do from their website. It is not a very long list of tasks, but the site makes it complicated.

Dustin responded a letter and mentioned that “customer experience is the new brand”. I have to agree with the idea. Everything, I mean everything the company communicates to the customer or the other way around must be part of corporate strategic plan. You have to shake your head to the airline companies. I am not sure about you, but I haven’t had good experiences when I flew. I don’t care for security procedures, booking, pricing, airport, scheduling, food, seating, and the list goes on. It’s a “have-to” thing to get one place to the next quicker. So you have to ask why don’t the airlines make the experience more pleasant, especially in the front end where a customer has to interact before flying. The during a flight and after is important too.

The UI design on the web and services people have to interact to be served are necessary evil that the corporations must to rethink. Sell the experience!

Another interesting read about painful process of corporate product development:

New experience in search engines:
Another quick note about the new development with a few search engines that just released to public.

Microsoft Bing is a new search engine that displays related content, but little more visually interesting to crawl the search engine. It shows you some related contents that you are looking for. Photos and videos search displays somewhat different from what you expected from Google. I especially like the thumbnail views of video that you can actually play a few seconds when you mouse over. $100 million marketing campaign is not just the hype only. It has some minus but the concept is good. However, there is already a talk about copyright infringement of music/movies in thumbnail’s view.


Wolfram Alpha, a maker of Mathmatica, released this interesting knowledge-based computing. They call it, “a computational knowledge engine”. Is this become the rise of machine? We have to see...

As of now, Wolfram|Alpha contains 10+ trillion of pieces of data, 50,000+ types of algorithms and models, and linguistic capabilities for 1000+ domains. Built with Mathematica—which is itself the result of more than 20 years of development at Wolfram Research—Wolfram|Alpha's core code base now exceeds 5 million lines of symbolic Mathematica code. Running on supercomputer-class compute clusters, Wolfram|Alpha makes extensive use of the latest generation of web and parallel computing technologies, including webMathematica and gridMathematica.

Wolfram Alpha

Are we seeing a new kinds of search engine here? Google was loved by everyone when it came out after a series of ugly search engines that didn’t provide anything that you can actually find information you need. Google’s simplicity made a difference. Is Google behind now? What users want from the search engine. Are they looking for a particular information, related information, or simple crawling. The users will be the judge to which search engine provides value/experience they want.


  1. Regarding Bing's video preview as copyright infringement, I'm not sure how a short preview could be considered anything other than fair use. It's clearly attributed, linked to its source, and if anything will help to drive traffic to the original. In my view, this is no different from song previews in various online stores.

    Wolfram Alpha is a fascinating project, but it's built to serve a different purpose than Bing, Google, et al. The former provides intuitive ways to access a cleansed and verified data set. The latter use various content analysis algorithms to return a ranked list of anything that might be related. A better comparison might be between Alpha and Google Squared.

    See also: Wolfram Alpha a Google Killer? Not... Supposed... To... Be

  2. I agree as well with Curtis’ points, The customer experience, from start to finish, for every interaction a customer has with the company is not perfected. That's where the problem is.

    What I was wondering is how UX can help? Who is responsible for service design? And what are some techniques to implement it?

    I would say large corporations often have CEO-level groups, marketing, product management who generally are responsible for strategic decisions, high-level. Does this imply that UX should be involved at this stage to help drive customer experience approach?


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