Content Strategy = Service Design via Content

Heinz Wittenbrink/@heinz



  • Can we use service design to describe content strategy better?
  • Can we understand content strategy as component of content strategy?
  • Can content be understood as a dimension of services?


@jenmccutchen: Content Strategy in Service Design

@MikeAtherton: Customer Service Design: Content Strategy in the Spaces Between

In focus:




Content quality

Touchpoints represent fundamental building blocks in the journeys of customers as they interact with a product or service in multiple channels over time.

Orchestrating Experiences - Rosenfeld Media

Quelle: Risdon, Quattlebaum, Rosenfeldmedia.CC BY-SA 2.0

How do we design service experiences that meet our fluid expectations

... and integrate all these systems

... about all these touchpoints

... without demanding even more mediocre content?

Jennifer McCutchen


Service-oriented offers

Source Screenshot: Welcome to GOV.UK

To a user, a service is simple. It’s something that helps them to do something - like learn to drive, buy a house, or become a childminder.

Source: What we mean by service design - Government Digital Service

Government services are sometimes split into tiny pieces: lots of isolated transactions, products, and content provided by different parts of government that need to be used together by a user to achieve their goal.

Source: What we mean by service design - Government Digital Service

Service design is the activity of working out which of these pieces need to fit together,asking how well they meet user needs, and rebuilding them from the ground up so that they do.

Quelle: What we mean by service design - Government Digital Service

Digital by default

Source: A year in the making - the Digital by Default Service Standard - Government Digital Service

Start with user needs

Service Manual - GOV.UK

Quelle: User needs and revolutions - Government Digital Service Rechte: Open Government Licence

Agile delivery - Service Manual - GOV.UK

Continuous feedback

Agile procedures

Agile methods in large teams

Continuous internal improvement


Service Design

What is Service Design?

The planning and organization of people, infrastructure, communications and touchpoints required to enable successful services. It strategically addresses the complexity of today's multi-touchpoints in a language of human experience.

[Service Design is]

Service Design Done Well

"When two coffee houses open right next to each other, and each of them offers exactly the same coffee at exactly the same price, the service design decides whether you go into one and not the other."


Quelle: Risdon, Quattlebaum, Rosenfeldmedia.Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic — CC BY-SA 2.0

Service Blueprints

Quelle: Brandon Schauer, Adaptive Path Service blueprint for Service Design panel | You can view it… | Flickr.Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic — CC BY-SA 2.0

Use the service blueprint as a space in which different scenarios can be played out. The blueprint should show the essential parts of the service ecology so that you can track different user journeys through it in a number of “What if?” scenarios.

Andy Polaine, Ben Reason & Lavrans Løvlie: Service Design: Chapter 6: Developing the Service Proposition :: UXmatters

Creative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0, Quelle:

Experience Maps

Quelle: Risdon, Quattlebaum, Rosenfeldmedia.Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic — CC BY-SA 2.0

Service Design Basics

  • Strict user orientation
  • Multiple touchpoints
  • Holistic approach - interaction of different components
  • Frontend and backend design

Content strategy is service design with content

  • Content is a separate layer
  • It is independent of specific touchpoints
  • Content is always part of a service
  • Front-end and back-end strategy work together
  • Service design is digital native, but not digital only

Anatomy of a service

  1. services live through people, but they depend on a complex web of backstage systems and processes
  2. people interact with a service via touchpoints. The set of all these touchpoints forms a service experience.
  3. how the service is experienced directly determines the perception of the brand.

Content Strategy in Service Design


Content is created and used by people. But it is managed by the same complex web of backstage systems and processes. Content is perceived through touchpoints.

Content Strategy in Service Design

A piece of content can be present at only one touchpoint, or it can move between touchpoints. The amount of all this content across all touchpoints creates a content experience.

Content Strategy in Service Design

How well the content works - or doesn't work - across the ecosystem affects the quality of the service experience. How content is perceived directly determines how brands are perceived.

Content Strategy in Service Design

  • Content enables, explains and simplifies services
  • Content makes the experience of services consistent and holistic

Design process

Discover - Define- Develop - Deliver


Szenarios describe the actor's contexts

Activity What do they want to do? Space Where are they doing it? Time When is this all happening? Personal What's their emotional state and needs? Channel Which devices or platforms are used?

(Inspired by Cenny D D Bowles - Designing with context)

(Mike Atherton: Customer Service Design: Content Strategy in the Spaces Between)

Empathy Maps

Empathy Mapping: grok your users | Atlassian Team Playbook

Directed Storytelling

  1. Assign 1 person in your group to be “storyteller” and 1 person to be the “interviewer.”

  2. STORYTELLer: Describe the process... Walk through every step in excruciating detail.*

  3. INTERVIEWER: Ask the storyteller open-ended questions about the process.

  4. NOTETAKERS: Using Post-its, document the details from the story. Keep it to 1 idea per Post-It.


Affinity Diagram

  1. One by one, combine each notetaker’s Post-its into one diagram, grouping similar ideas together.

  2. Collaborate as group to agree on clusters and then name the clusters.

  3. Vote on the top three themes from the clusters that could differentiate the service experience if it was reimagined.


Customer Journey Mapping

  1. Using the documented research as guidance, identify each stage of the user journey.

  2. Identify the user’s actions, touchpoints, thoughts/emotions...

  3. Identify the frontstage content elements -- content needs, content types and formats, channels and key messages.

  4. IF TIME PERMITS: Focus on one or two areas of opportunity that would improve the experience.


Contentstrategie and Content-Marketing

Outside-in instead of Inside-out-Marketing

“You listen for the needs of your clients and you build messages that serve those needs, on and in their terms,” said Mathewson, a distinguished technical marketer for search at IBM. “Then you place these messages in convenient places in their buyer journeys – typically search and social media settings.

The messages attract them to your owned content marketing properties, where you can more deeply engage them, and ultimately convert them into loyal clients. This engagement initially takes the form of conditioning the conversation towards your brands and differentiating propositions, but ends in a strong relationship built on trust.”

B2B Best Practices: Content marketing with James Mathewson & Mike Moran - B2B News Network

Marketing and Discovery

  • Services become discoverable through content
  • Services are distributed through content
  • Content for external communication builds on content as components of a service
  • Content makes services understandable


Key points

  • User orientation instead of company orientation
  • Independence from channels
  • Strategy understood as holistic view, not as means-to-end relationship
  • No strict separation between frontend and backend strategy
  • Design and research as development of a common understanding

End Matter

Blogpost for Diskussion

Content-Strategie als Service Design - Lost and Found

Older versions and source code for this presentation:


CC BY-SA 4.0