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The fuzzy front-end and the forgotten back-end: User involvement in later development phases

The early design phases, often referred to as the “fuzzy front-end”, have been closely examined by scholars and have a tendency to dominate the content of service design handbooks. However, there has been less focus on the back-end of the development process, both in practice and in academia. By combining theoretical perspectives with interviews of five service design practitioners and researchers, and observations of service design projects in healthcare, this work contributes to an initial exploration of the later phases. Findings indicate that service designers often have the deepest user insight knowledge in a team; hence, knowledge is lost when the designer leaves the project. This can make the project drift away from initially identified user needs, here called “user insight drift”. Drift can lead to an unintended mismatch between user needs and the service experience, due to decision-making in the later phases with limited consideration of user needs.

Almqvist, F. 2017. 'The fuzzy front-end and the forgotten back-end: User involvement in later development phases'. 12th EAD Conference - Design for Next.Available: http://www.designfornext.org