Attention Anchors

I’m skeptical about Schulze & Webb’s new found embrace of service design as a buzz word. The interaction designer in me loves their work and I think they make fantastic presentations but they strike me as dyed-in-the-wool product designers if not full-blooded technologists.

Matt Jones makes an interesting addition to the group but he seems to be cut from the same cloth.

His recent post on Maps as Service Design over at Pulse Laser made me cringe. It’s a fantastic project but it boils down to “Touchpoints as Service Design.” Or not even that. Actually it’s touchpoint — singular! This is a first-order perspective that focuses on the artifact. User-generated graphic design falls well short of the third- and forth-order potential that positions service design as something worth caring about.

Jones’ presentation at Frontiers of Interaction on The New Negroponte Switch has also been making the service design rounds for some reason. It’s aimed at interaction designers and it’s full of digital services (like Dopplr) that are better understood as examples of interaction design.

But Matt Jones does have a flair for neologisms.

In his presentation he coins the term “attention anchor” to describe “the physicalisation of the intangible data of a service … something that is in the world as a representation of a rhythm or habit of a service…”

He’s talking about touchpoints, but the “data, rhythms and habits” angle is an interesting facet for service designers to consider.

For more on the tangible-intangible continuum and product-service dichotomy, Lynn Shostack’s 1982 paper How To Design a Service is a good place to start.




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