Service Safaris

Your constantly-updated definition of Service Safaris and collection of videos and articles

What are Service Safaris?

Service safaris are an early qualitative research method where researchers walk in the customers' shoes to experience a service from the customers’ perspective. By experiencing the service directly, they can find strengths, weaknesses and more as they build empathy with customers early in the design process.

Frank Spillers, CEO of Experience Dynamics, provides an overview of service safaris:

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“To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” 

— Marilyn vos Savant, Magazine columnist, author, lecturer, playwright and Guinness-Book-of-Records holder of the highest-recorded IQ 

In service design, designers optimize end-to-end experiences. They focus on user needs, touchpoints and seamless integration across the entire service. For example, when a customer takes the train, they encounter many service components. Some examples of components include:

  • They use an app to buy their train tickets.

  • They enter the station and look for directions to the ticket machines.

  • They use the ticket machine to collect their tickets.

  • They ask a customer service representative for information.

  • They look at the departure board for updated travel information.

  • They use their ticket to pass through the entry barriers.

  • They board the train and use the signs to find their seats.

A service blueprint for Starbucks coffee shop. There are three lines: the line of interaction, of visibility and of internal interaction. Different elements of the Starbucks service are placed above and below these lines.

© Interaction Design Foundation, CC BY-SA 4.0

On a service safari, researchers perceive and interact with individual components and the service as a whole. Service safaris help researchers:

  • See, hear and feel the service's experience as a consumer, not a researcher.

  • Learn how a service works from the customer's perspective.

  • Review the service as a whole, not by individual components.

For example, in 2022 and 2023, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky traveled across the US to stay in Airbnb rentals. He also made a room in his home available on Airbnb. Chesky discovered issues with the experience of being an Airbnb customer and a host. He used these insights to improve Airbnb’s service design.

How Do Service Safaris Improve Service Design?

Service safaris benefit service design in three primary ways:

  • They provide direct insight into how a service works and the customer experience. For example, a design team creates a café-oriented service involving an app. A “field trip” to Starbucks could offer a robust view of the many aspects of a well-branded coffee shop customer experience.
    Findings from safaris can directly inform design decisions. However, researchers must back up findings with actual user research.

  • They inform future research. Real-world insights help create hypotheses, guide user interviews and shape survey questions. Safaris turn observations into actionable research questions. These questions can further deepen researchers’ understanding of user needs and behaviors.

  • They build empathy within the design team. Researchers empathize with customers by experiencing the service as they do. This firsthand experience is invaluable for designing more intuitive and user-friendly services.

Direct Insights

When researchers venture out to get a first-hand experience as a customer, they can:

  • Observe real-world interactions. Researchers directly observe how customers interact with a service in their natural environment. Observations help identify pain points, moments of delight and areas for improvement. These observations might not be evident through other research methods.

  • Identify touchpoints. Researchers document every touchpoint where customers engage with the service. They note digital and physical interactions. Researchers must understand these touchpoints to map out the customer journey accurately.

  • Gather qualitative insights. Researchers collect qualitative data on their feelings, frustrations and satisfaction. This data deepens their understanding of the customer's emotional journey.

  • Analyze service flows. Researchers identify any inefficient processes or disconnects that could hinder the customer experience.

  • Influence management decisions. Researchers can present stakeholders with their findings to better convince them of the need for service design.

Future Research

Service safaris help form the basis of future user and ethnographic research. Safaris help researchers identify key customer behaviors and contexts. For example, insights from a service safari in a retail environment might highlight the following:

  • How consumers navigate the physical space.

  • The role of digital tools in their shopping experience.

  • Moments that lead customers to purchase decisions.

These observations can guide researchers to focus on specific behaviors, interactions or environmental factors.

Service safaris can uncover unspoken needs and pain points. For example, customers may repeatedly ask staff for directions in a supermarket. A positive experience with support staff may cause customers to overlook this as a pain point and not mention it in an interview or survey. This insight can inform the need for better signage in the supermarket.

Ann Blandford, professor of human-computer interaction (HCI), explains how user interviews help researchers discover the “why” but not the “how”:

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Insights inform the recruitment of participants for ethnographic research. Service safaris can identify the most relevant user groups for a study, which allows researchers to get the most out of their research.

Observations can directly inform the development of research questions. For instance, a service safari in public transportation reveals challenges with buying tickets. Future research might explore the context and specificities of this challenge with customers.

When to Conduct Service Safaris?

Researchers conduct service safaris during the empathize stage of the design thinking process. Since safaris can form the basis of future research and help gain an overview of service, they are often the first method researchers use. They can be insightful and inspirational as researchers can research their own or other services.

The design thinking process including empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. Dotted arrows connected each of these stages to show how the process is non-linear.

In the design thinking process, empathy helps define problems. This empathy fuels the entire design process and feeds into each stage. Early research methods like service safaris build empathy in a design team and are critical to user-centered design.

© Interaction Design Foundation, CC BY-SA 4.0

Some example scenarios in which a researcher might conduct a service safari include:

  • To begin the research process and map a previously unmapped service.

  • To research competitors or services from other industries to gain insights and inspiration.

  • To redesign or assess a specific aspect of a service.

  • To gather information that can convince stakeholders of the benefits of service design.

How To Conduct a Service Safari

Researchers conduct service safaris for both physical and digital services. For example, a digital service safari could follow the process of purchasing an item from an e-commerce website. Everything from a marketing email to delivery and contacting customer service should be part of the safari.

Required Resources

Safaris can be inexpensive and flexible. 

  • For example, coffee shop and public transport safaris need little investment. Researchers can be reimbursed if they work for or with the service they are researching.

  • For some services, safaris are easy to set up and run. Researchers can conduct safaris as and when needed. Straightforward safari examples include coffee shops or digital-only safaris.

  • Recruiting users is unnecessary. Researchers and team members conduct the safari themselves.

  • Multiple team members and stakeholders can conduct service safaris for diverse insights.

Conversely, safaris can also be resource intensive:

  • High-cost services need more investment. Especially if the researcher is investigating rival or comparative services.

  • Some safaris are time-intensive—for example, a long-haul flight or a service in a remote location.

Researchers may need funding and permission from management regardless of the resources needed. Case studies and stories of successful safaris can be helpful for researchers who want to influence stakeholders.

Prepare for Your Service Safari

Once researchers have the funding and permission they need, they use the following process:

  1. Set a goal or task a typical customer might have. In the coffee shop example, this might be to place an order in the app and pick it up at the shop.

  1. Choose where to start the safari. While it may seem obvious where the safari will take place (e.g., a coffee shop), service design encompasses every service component.
    For example, when evaluating a coffee shop, the safari may begin with finding and accessing the shop. How well is its location advertised? Is its signage clear? Is it accessible to all customers?

  1. Decide who should go. Multiple team members and stakeholders should conduct a service safari wherever possible. With several perspectives, researchers can better understand a typical experience. This approach improves empathy with and understanding of the service’s customers.
    However, each person must go alone. Researchers find it more challenging in a group to focus and put themselves in the customer's shoes. Group safaris can also result in groupthink, where the group’s identity overshadows individual opinions.

  1. Decide what to bring. Researchers may take a smartphone or camera to take pictures and videos and a notebook to record observations. Items a customer would typically have are also essential.
    For example, researchers may take an umbrella if the service safari occurs in a restaurant and it’s raining. Researchers observe small details, like where customers can put their wet umbrellas.

  1. Conduct the safari. Once you’ve planned your safari, the next step is to execute it. During the safari, pay close attention to the following (you can take pictures, videos and voice and written notes):

    1. The service touchpoints and how they fit together. How do you interact with the service, and are there any problems? Do you notice any disconnects between parts of the service?

    2. The service environment and any physical artifacts the service involves. e.g., coffee cups and seating.

    3. Which digital interfaces do you use while you’re on safari?

    4. Anytime you feel frustrated or confused by the service.

    5. Crucial thoughts or feelings about the experience.

  1. Talk to customers. You can gain further insights by talking to people. You can converse with other customers if it feels appropriate in the service environment. Conversations can give you an informal impression of their experience with the service.
    Ann Blandford advises how to approach questioning users and customers:

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Tips and best practices

Service safaris may seem simple; however, researchers follow these best practices to get the best results:

  • Use empathy maps. Researchers often chart their observations on an empathy map, which can be helpful in later research and ideation. Empathy maps visually represent the researcher’s thoughts, feelings and actions. If you also spoke with other customers, you can include their thoughts, feelings and actions.

    An empathy map template. It is a two by two grid with the user at the centre. Clockwise, the grid squares contain the words said, did, felt and thought.

    Design teams use empathy maps to inform further research, brainstorming and design decisions. Teams refer to the maps throughout the design process to stay empathetic and focus on the user.

    © Interaction Design Foundation, CC BY-SA 4.0

  • Get comfortable with role play and prepare fictitious scenarios. Some service safaris involve everyday tasks, like buying a coffee. However, others, like applying for a loan at a bank, do not.
    Researchers must often role-play for a more accurate customer experience during service safaris. Prepare scenarios and backstories to ensure the service reacts to you as if you were a customer.

  • Immersion is key. Embody the customer or user as far as possible. Limit distractions and think deeply about the circumstances in which a customer would use the service.

  • Be aware of biases, and don’t draw quick conclusions. Personal biases and mental models affect how humans perceive and interact with services. Try to keep an open mind on safari and do not assume all customers experience a service the same way you do.
    Alan Dix, HCI expert and professor, provides some tips on how to avoid personal biases:

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  • Use observations to inform future research. A service safari is a foundation for ethnographic research, not a replacement. Safaris reveal issues that inform later research questions. If a service safari is the only research used, it will be biased and unreliable.

  • Keep an open and critical mind. An open mind is essential for stakeholders conducting service safaris of their services. Remain impartial and expect to find issues and disconnects.

  • Run a trial safari. A practice run can help prepare for the actual safari. A trial benefits those who’ve never done a service safari before. Trials can reveal the need for deeper role-play and better observation recording, among other pitfalls. This process will improve the outcomes of the actual safari.

  • Ensure privacy and consent. Service design often involves audio and video recordings. Ensure you get permission from the people you record (e.g., other customers standing in line). Secret audio or video recording violates privacy.

Service Safari Pitfalls

While service safaris are beneficial to service design, they do have some common challenges:

  • Familiarity with the service. It can be challenging for some team members and stakeholders to get into the customer’s mindset as they can anticipate what’s next. For example, a team member may be familiar with a train ticket machine and overlook its lack of user-friendliness because of expert knowledge. To combat this, take advantage of other team members' and customers' lack of experience and knowledge.

  • Bias and subjectivity. Service safaris involve personal observation and experience. While you can use techniques to limit bias, it is impossible to be completely objective. For this reason, it is vital you conduct further and deeper research with real customers.

  • Potential disruption. It is difficult for researchers to pretend to be a customer in some settings. For example, a researcher cannot entirely embody a patient in healthcare.
    Overtly observing or participating in the service as a “fake” customer can disrupt the normal service flow. Disruption can lead to less authentic observations.

Service Safari Deliverables

Service safaris provide insights that can contribute directly or indirectly (through future research) to several service design deliverables. These deliverables assist the design team throughout the service design process. They help the team build and retain empathy, make strategic decisions and maintain a holistic view of the whole service.

Customer journey maps visually represent a user's interactions with a product or service over time. Service safari insights can help researchers identify critical points within the user journey. However, researchers should create user journey maps with insights from real users, not only stakeholders. This detailed understanding allows researchers to pinpoint areas for improvement and innovation accurately.

Frank Spillers explains how journey maps fit into the service design process and how to approach them:

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Personas are fictional characters researchers create based on research. They represent users who might use a product or service and help design teams remember who they are designing for. As with journey maps, service safaris should not solely inform personas. A holistic user research approach informs accurate and relatable personas.

A persona called Rebecca for Spotify. Rebecca is an audiophile. The persona contains Rebecca's basic information, when she listens to music, how she interacts with Spotify, her influences, her situation and her story.

© Interaction Design Foundation, CC BY-SA 4.0

Service blueprints chart the entire service process. Blueprints include “frontstage” and “backstage” components of a service. Blueprints also include “moments,” for example, when customers browse a menu or wait for their order.

As with journey maps, safaris can inform design teams when they create their service blueprints. While safaris focus on the customer’s point of view, researchers may observe other service components. They can include these observations in their service blueprints.

David Bill, service researcher at Amazon Web Services, explains the difference between “frontstage” and “backstage” in service design:

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Learn More about Service Safaris

Take our course, Service Design: How to Design Integrated Service Experiences, to learn more about service safaris and other service design research methods.

Learn more about service safaris from Frank Spillers on the Experience Dynamics website.

UX and Service Design Agency Clockwork Belgium provides a wealth of great tips and additional considerations for service safaris.

Our Master Class, Going from UX to Service Design, is ideal for those who want to move into the field.

Listen to the Nielsen Norman Group podcast with Thomas Wilson, senior principal service researcher at United Healthcare, for service design and research insights.

Questions about Service Safaris

Can you conduct service safaris remotely, and what adaptations are necessary?

Researchers conduct service safaris remotely for digital-only services. For example, a researcher may take the following steps on an e-commerce service safari:

  1. Click through from an advert on social media.

  1. Sign up for the mailing list.

  1. Read and review the emails they receive.

  1. Click on a promotional email to purchase an item.

  1. Review the website for purchasing information.

  1. Contact customer service for extra information.

  1. Purchase the product.

  1. Review the order and delivery information emails.

  1. Receive the order.

  1. Experience the packaging, information provided and finally, the product.

  1. Interact with after-sales support (help pages, customer support, etc.)

Researchers may conduct multiple safaris since digital services include many potential customer journeys.

Researchers must also consider the following adaptations for remote service safaris:

  • Note taking. Screenshots and screen recordings replace or accompany photos and videos.

  • Customer environment. Consider different situations in which customers use the service. Examples include at home, while commuting, on mobile, on desktop, etc.

  • Customer interaction. Forums and chatrooms can replace in-person interactions to get customer perspectives.

What role does photography or videography play in a service safari?

Photography and videography are crucial in service safaris because they capture what happens in real time. Photos and videos help researchers:

  • Capture interactions with the environment, including subtle moments that might go unnoticed.

  • Gain a comprehensive view of the entire service journey.

  • Spot problems, chances for new ideas and areas that need better solutions.

  • Create empathy for the whole design team, even those who weren't there in person.

  • Serve as references for creating customer journey maps and facilitating future ideation.

Researchers do not need to be expert photographers and videographers to capture valuable information. Similarly, professional equipment is not required. Most smartphone cameras or consumer equipment are enough for service safaris.

Ann Blandford, professor of human-computer interaction, covers the pros and cons of different research collection methods in this video:

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Are there specific methods for noting down interactions and touchpoints during the safari?

Researchers use these methods to note their interactions and observations during service safaris:

  • Observational notes. Researchers keep written notes, either with digital devices or pen and paper. Notes should be understandable yet brief. This approach ensures you do not interrupt the immersion required in a service safari.

  • Photography and videography. Researchers use photos and videos to capture moments and details that are hard to express in words. These visuals can show the setting and interactions, providing a detailed context for analysis.

  • Audio recordings. Researchers record conversations and background sounds. These recordings offer insights into the service atmosphere and customer feedback. They are also helpful for accurately quoting users later on.

  • Sketches and diagrams. Researchers sketch the layout of service areas, user paths and interaction points. These drawings help illustrate the arrangement and relationships within service experiences.

  • Sticky notes and flashcards. Researchers use these to easily document thoughts, observations and insights. They are handy for sorting and prioritizing touchpoints and interactions during analysis.

Each method offers a different perspective on the service experience. Often, researchers combine these techniques to provide a complete view of the service safari. Remember, you must have permission from anyone you record or photograph.

Mike Rohde, researcher, teacher and illustrator, explains sketchnotes and how they can be useful to researchers:

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Learn more from Mike in his Master Class, How to Become a Visual Thinker With Sketchnoting.

What is the most effective way to present findings from a service safari to stakeholders?

Researchers use a clear and structured method to share findings from a service safari effectively. An example process is:

  • Summary. Begin with a short overview. Highlight the main findings and their possible effects on the service design. Summaries let stakeholders quickly understand the research's core.

  • User journey maps. Show the user's journey with maps. These maps should cover interactions, key points, challenges and joyous moments. Develop these maps as you conduct further research with real customers. Maps make it easier to communicate user flow problems and areas for improvement.

  • Storytelling with visuals. Use photos and videos from your safari to share engaging stories about interactions and service settings. This method helps stakeholders feel more connected to what you found.

  • Data and insights. Support your findings with data where possible. Use quotes, numbers and analysis from the safari or other research to support the need for improvement.

  • Recommendations. State clear, actionable suggestions for innovation. Rank these by impact and how easy they are to implement.

  • Interactive session. Run a session where stakeholders can directly interact with your findings. For example, include a role-play session of certain service elements to show their positives and negatives.

  • Q&A time. Set aside time for questions and discussions. Q&As encourage stakeholders to get involved and offer a chance to gain insights and different viewpoints.

Storytelling plays an important role in effective communication. Learn from Ellen Lupton, writer, researcher, curator and educator, the role of paths and journeys in storytelling:

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Learn more from Ellen in her Master Class, Storytelling Through Visual Design: A Practical Guide.

How can researchers learn from unsuccessful service safaris?

Unsuccessful service safaris are valuable learning experiences. Researchers use them to refine research processes and improve future design outcomes. Researchers learn from unsuccessful safaris in the following ways:

  • Reflect on objectives and outcomes. Begin by comparing the safari's objectives against the outcomes. Identify where they separated to reveal differences to your expectations.

  • Analyze the methodology. Review the research methodology to identify any weaknesses or biases that may have influenced the results. Consider whether different methods or tools might have yielded more insightful data.

  • Review data collection tools. Examine the effectiveness of the data collection tools and techniques used. Inadequate tools can hinder the capture of relevant data, pointing to areas for improvement.

  • Consider external factors. Reflect on external factors that could have affected the safari, like timing or unforeseen events. Understanding these influences can help plan more resilient future safaris.

  • Solicit feedback. Gather feedback from team members to gain diverse perspectives on what didn’t work and why. This feedback is crucial to identify blind spots and areas for growth.

  • Document lessons learned. Compile the insights gained from this reflection into a lessons-learned document. Use this document to refine future service safaris and avoid similar pitfalls.

  • Share findings with the team. Share the lessons learned with your team and stakeholders. Discuss what went wrong and how to improve to create a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

  • Plan for flexibility. Recognize the importance of flexibility in research design. Incorporate contingency plans and be open to adapting the approach mid-safari to mitigate risks of failure.

  • Stay curious and resilient. Embrace a mindset of curiosity and resilience. Failures are stepping stones toward more effective and impactful design research.

Don Norman, emeritus professor of psychology, cognitive science and computer science, explains the importance of failure:

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David M. Kelley by Jonathan Chen (CC BY 2.0)

How can you adapt service safaris for different industries or services?

Researchers tailor the research focus, methodologies and participant engagement strategies for different industries. They do this in the following ways:

  • Customize research objectives. Define clear, industry-specific objectives. What works for a retail service safari might differ for a healthcare safari. For example, retail focuses on customer engagement and space layout. Healthcare prioritizes patient care and privacy.

  • Select relevant touchpoints. Identify industry-specific touchpoints and interactions critical to the service experience. For instance, digital interaction points in banking may be more relevant than in hospitality. In hospitality, personal service touchpoints are more important.

  • Adapt data collection methods. Use data collection methods suited to the context and goals of the industry. For example, indirect observation might be more appropriate than direct observation. Adaptability is critical in highly confidential environments like healthcare or legal services.

  • Incorporate expert insights. Researchers can involve industry experts or insiders in the safari. Experts help researchers understand the service context more profoundly.

  • Tailor reporting and analysis. Customize the analysis and reporting of findings to address the industry's strategic priorities. Highlight critical insights that can lead to competitive advantages.

  • Focus on sector-specific outcomes. Aim for outcomes that resonate with the industry's specific goals. Outcomes could be to streamline operations, enhance accessibility, or innovate service delivery.

  • Iterate and innovate. Be open to iterating the safari approach based on feedback and findings. Iteration allows for adaptations that could lead to better discoveries and deeper knowledge.

Researchers create or learn from business model canvases in new services or industries. Frank Spillers explains what business model canvases are and how to create them:

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How does a service safari differ from other UX/UI design research methods?

Service safaris stand out from other UX/UI design research methods because of their immersive, observational nature. This approach gives researchers deep insights into user interactions and service delivery processes. Key aspects that differentiate service safaris include:

  • Immersive observation. Methods like surveys and interviews rely on self-reported data. Conversely, service safaris allow researchers to witness firsthand how customers interact with services. Safaris capture nuances and behaviors other methods might not reveal.

  • Real-world context. Researchers conduct service safaris in the actual locations where services are delivered. This approach offers an unfiltered view of user experiences and environmental influences. Compare this to a method like usability testing. Usability testing often occurs in controlled environments and may not fully capture the use context.

  • Holistic service perspective. Service safaris give researchers a holistic view of the service ecosystem. This view includes touchpoints, interactions and the service environment. A broad perspective is essential for understanding complex service experiences. Meanwhile, methods like task analysis only focus on specific elements.

  • Empathy building. Researchers develop a more profound empathy for users as they engage directly with the service environment. This immersive experience can inspire innovative solutions grounded in real user needs. This approach contrasts with data-driven methods that might overlook a design's emotional aspects.

Service safaris can enhance the design process when combined with other research approaches. This comprehensive approach leads to more user-centered and effective service designs. Kendra Shimmell, vice president of design at Remitly, explains the importance of combining user and industry research in service design:

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What types of observations are most valuable during a service safari?

Researchers value observations that capture the entire customer experience and service delivery. Types of observations that are particularly insightful include:

  • User behaviors. Note both your actions and those of other customers. Pay attention to habits, routines and any workarounds users develop to cope with service shortcomings.

  • Emotional responses. Search for emotional cues that show satisfaction, frustration, confusion, or delight. Emotional responses can reveal unmet needs and areas for emotional engagement within the service.

  • Service touchpoints. Identify and assess all points of interaction between the customer and the service. Touchpoints include digital interfaces, physical spaces and human interactions. Understand these touchpoints to help pinpoint areas for improvement.

  • Pain points. Identify any difficulties or obstacles, including access barriers and usability issues you face. These insights are beneficial for future research.

  • Moments of delight. Record instances where the service exceeds customer expectations or provides pleasant surprises. These moments present opportunities to build upon.

  • User interactions. Pay attention to how customers interact with each other within the service context. Social dynamics can offer insights into user needs, behaviors and the service’s role in facilitating community.

  • Operational efficiencies. Note the effectiveness of the service’s operations. Observations include workflow, speed and quality of service delivery.

  • Comparative observations. If applicable, compare different service settings and times of day. This approach helps identify variability in the service experience. These comparisons can uncover opportunities for customization or targeted improvements.

  • Innovative uses. Look out for innovative or unintended ways users engage with the service. These observations can inspire new features or services.

Collectively, these observations provide a comprehensive view of the service experience. They highlight both strengths and areas for improvement. Document and analyze these insights to drive significant enhancements in service design.

How can you measure the effectiveness of a service safari?

To measure the effectiveness of a service safari, researchers evaluate the quality and impact of the insights gathered. Key ways researchers assess a safari’s effectiveness include:

  • Insight quality. Evaluate the depth, relevance and novelty of the insights obtained. When researchers conduct effective safaris, they uncover actionable insights. Insights reveal underlying user needs, pain points and opportunities for innovation.

  • Coverage of objectives. Measure how well the safari met its predefined objectives. Check if the safari sufficiently covered the service and customer experience and filled all knowledge gaps.

  • Follow-up research engagement. Check how well the safari has revealed new paths for research or found new questions to explore. An effective safari allows researchers to uncover questions and opportunities for deeper investigation.

  • Stakeholder feedback. Researchers gather feedback from stakeholders on how they presented the findings. Positive feedback indicates effectiveness, particularly about the insights' usefulness and presentation clarity.

  • Implementation rate. Track the number of insights translated into design improvements or strategic decisions. A high implementation rate shows researchers provided findings that were actionable and valued.

  • Impact on the design process. Evaluate how the safari influences the design process. Observe new team perspectives, empathy levels and new design practices or methodologies.

Design teams should evaluate these aspects step by step. This process helps them check how well their service safaris work and continue the improvement of their research methods.

One of the most important outcomes of a service safari is increased empathy with the customer. Learn how empathy affects good and bad design in this video:

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Literature on Service Safaris

Here’s the entire UX literature on Service Safaris by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Service Safaris

Take a deep dive into Service Safaris with our course Service Design: How to Design Integrated Service Experiences .

Services are everywhere! When you get a new passport, order a pizza or make a reservation on AirBnB, you're engaging with services. How those services are designed is crucial to whether they provide a pleasant experience or an exasperating one. The experience of a service is essential to its success or failure no matter if your goal is to gain and retain customers for your app or to design an efficient waiting system for a doctor’s office.

In a service design process, you use an in-depth understanding of the business and its customers to ensure that all the touchpoints of your service are perfect and, just as importantly, that your organization can deliver a great service experience every time. It’s not just about designing the customer interactions; you also need to design the entire ecosystem surrounding those interactions.

In this course, you’ll learn how to go through a robust service design process and which methods to use at each step along the way. You’ll also learn how to create a service design culture in your organization and set up a service design team. We’ll provide you with lots of case studies to learn from as well as interviews with top designers in the field. For each practical method, you’ll get downloadable templates that guide you on how to use the methods in your own work.

This course contains a series of practical exercises that build on one another to create a complete service design project. The exercises are optional, but you’ll get invaluable hands-on experience with the methods you encounter in this course if you complete them, because they will teach you to take your first steps as a service designer. What’s equally important is that you can use your work as a case study for your portfolio to showcase your abilities to future employers! A portfolio is essential if you want to step into or move ahead in a career in service design.

Your primary instructor in the course is Frank Spillers. Frank is CXO of award-winning design agency Experience Dynamics and a service design expert who has consulted with companies all over the world. Much of the written learning material also comes from John Zimmerman and Jodi Forlizzi, both Professors in Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University and highly influential in establishing design research as we know it today.

You’ll earn a verifiable and industry-trusted Course Certificate once you complete the course. You can highlight it on your resume, CV, LinkedIn profile or on your website.

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