During my time at the Royal College of Art, I’ve been inspired by the ‘design studies’ approach. These design studies are like case studies in business schools, and offer a conversational space focused on design practices and strategies. The aim is to inspire new ways of thinking about design direction and creating competitive advantages. With the design studies format in mind, I’ll be writing a series of mini-essays about my observations on services and customer behaviours. If you’re a design thinker like myself, or have a strategic role in shaping your product development or marketing positioning, I hope the…

Photo credit: @NCI

A scandal of design

Services can go terribly wrong. There was a reported tragedy in 2018 when the Chinese taxi app, DiDi, designed its shared riding service to encourage social connections between passengers and taxi drivers. This led to several serious crimes against females (including two murders), sexual assaults and sexual harassments during the rides. After examination, certain design features in the app — for example, allowing users to tag passengers with descriptions like ‘‘adorable’ and ‘long legs’ — were criticised as design flaws that encouraged sexual harassment during the ride.

This national scandal in my native China might be exceptionally awful, but as…

Image credit: @mikepetrucci

Are limited mode options restricting the potential of your service? intO’s Jonny has had this question on his mind, this month, while working with one of his RCA students on the D&AD / Barclays New Blood Awards brief. In this article, Jonny examines how thinking in terms of modes can benefit the customer experience.

— Forward by Clare from

Designing modes

The dark mode trend that’s circulating in the UX design world is a simple illustration of how modes can benefit users. By providing a function that switches off bright colours in the user interface, the dark mode facilitates a more…

Photo credit @halgatewood

Impacted by covid19, everything is taking longer than expected, whether that’s waiting in line at a retail store or boarding a plane. We’re even having to queue to shop online. Written by intO’s Jonny Jiang, this article explores how service design might try to bridge the gaps that WAITING is introducing to customer experiences in the retail and hospitality sectors.

—Forward by Clare from

Big queues equate to big problems

When countries around the world urged citizens to socially distance in order to flatten the pandemic’s curve, most of us accepted that queues were a necessary consequence. But as we, globally, begin to try to…

Photo credit: @BrookeCagle

Here is a blog post on ‘a project’ I am currently working on or perhaps living with. It is about using design approach to build a relationship. In a more designerly term, that is taking the relationship as an object for design.

A six-week project (A design sprint)

Jonny J

Business Director at | Service Design Researcher at RCA

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