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Austin Design Week: Service Design Q&A with Kati Presley

Kati Presley is a User Experience Designer with a diverse professional background that blends together journalism, graphic design, personnel management and strategic planning. At Rocksauce, she heads up client design discovery (including service design), product architecture and feature definition, all while directing our own UX team. Kati is also the co-founder and owner of the trivia company Get It Gals, Austin Chronicle’s “Best of Austin” winner for trivia events.

We were happy to get some of Kati’s time leading up to Austin Design Week, where she (along with founder and general manager Q Manning) will be running a can’t-miss workshop using service design. The topic? It’s one that’s near and dear to the hearts of nearly every Austinite – how can you make a fast-growing downtown friendlier for people?

What is service design?

Kati: Service design is designing for an entire ecosystem of service. Rather than looking at a specific project, you’re looking at every touchpoint a human has with that service or product.

Instead of being mostly product-focused in our work – “this is an app; this is what the app does” – with service design, there might be an app involved, but you also cover all of the touch-points. Service design starts from when a user enters the journey all the way through where the user might exit.

What do you enjoy most about service design?

Kati: I really enjoy watching people uncover their creativity! As adults, we sometimes cover up that side of us, without even knowing it. A lot of these service design exercises are created to strip back that cover and bring back some of the childlike excitement that comes with creative thinking.

Why pick the topic of downtown infrastructure?

Kati: I think downtown infrastructure is a very interesting topic that gets people excited and can bring up a lot of really cool ideas, especially in Austin. Right now, because we are such a fast-growing community, downtown hasn’t been able to keep up with the changes. So, thinking about how to change downtown for the better is relevant to everyone who might be attending Austin Design Week.

What are your success stories from service design workshops?

Kati: I feel like the biggest successes, right off the bat after walking out of a workshop, are the alignments between team members. For the companies we’ve done service design workshops for, we’ve been able to walk in and pull people from different internal teams, who have completely opposing points of view on what something should do or how it should function.

By walking through these exercises, we’re able to take a step back and get everyone on the same page – including us! If we’re moving forward on completing the project for them, it leaves no questions about the goal. Everyone decided on the challenge in that room.

How do you get buy-in on these exercises from people who don’t think they’re designers?

Kati: I think you have to start with clearly stating, “This might feel awkward to you, but good results will come from it.” Sometimes, people aren’t in their comfort zone, but if you walk them through what’s coming, it helps.

What should attendees expect to learn?

Kati: It’s going to be fast-moving! We’re fitting a lot of material into 90 minutes, but we want to give attendees strategies they can use to uncover the core problems facing a service design project. They’ll also learn how to ideate from those core problems. Not only will they leave with some cool ideas about how to change downtown, but they’ll have new service design tactics they can use in their day-to-day projects as well.

Register now for this free Austin Design Week event!

Wed, November 6, 2019
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM CST

The Riveter
1145 W 5th Street 
Austin, TX 78703

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