This project was created within the new Service Design B.F.A. program at SCAD and summarizes the collective work of eleven undergraduate service and industrial design students. For this project we chose to re-imagine the service that mobile voice and data providers offer to their customers. We chose AT&T as the subject for our research and created new service strategies and touchpoints.

Project Timeline: 8 weeks

This Project was featured in Service Design Network's Touchpoint Vol. 2 No. 1, May 2010
Our mission was to holistically re-imagine the service that a mobile voice and data provider offers to its customers, from rethinking day-to-day use, to optimizing interactions with customer support, to creating a new infrastructure model.


Our first priority was research. The first five of this eight-week project were allocated to contextual inquiry to assess user experience and the successes and breakdowns in the mobile phone service provider market. We participated in scenarios such as purchasing or replacing phones; we observed and interviewed customers, and we distributed cultural probes to a variety of user types. Secondary research focused mainly on the current positions and priorities of mobile service providers (Fall ’09) and where infrastructure will be moving in the future. We also looked at user forums and customer complaints.

Cultural Probes

To gain greater understanding of mobile phone users, we created cultural probes for consumers to complete. The probe, a questionnaire about mobile phone and data service usage and a 24-hour mobile phone activity diary, was distributed in an easy to carry pocket-sized booklet form. Participants were asked to document every time they interacted with their mobile phone and other data services.

Other Methods

  • Conducted a competitive analysis of each of the major competitors’ stores and websites
  • Role played scenarios in order to gain both the perspective of the employee/actor and to test potential solutions
  • Conducted interviews with customers and completed personal media inventories
  • Conducted observational research of wireless device use and interaction


Primary and secondary research into competitors and emerging issues were analyzed, summarized, and modeled to give the team a larger view of the industry.


From synthesized research, we developed four customer archetypes. Each of these represents the extremes of wireless use, needs, desires, and drivers.


Customer Lifecycle Map

I developed this customer lifecycle map to illustrate points of frustration and negative emotion that cause people to terminate their mobile service agreements and switch to other providers. One of our driving goals became to shift customer emotion from the negative red areas to the positive green areas to increase customer satisfaction and service provider loyalty. This was submitted to the new crowdsourced service design textbook “This is Service Design Thinking” and appears on page 210.

Service Ecology

We created a service ecology to shape our key strategy change for AT&T, which was to make them a content as well as an access provider. Special credit to Nick Remis, with the help of Nathan Krischer, Chris Cantrell, and Jerome Tavé for this diagram.

Physical Sequence Model

Physical sequence models are used to examine a sequence of actions as they occur in a physical environment. Using these models we can find design opportunities for the physical space in which interactions with services take place. This diagram completed by Darby Kim Thomas, exposed the extraordinary wait times that a customer experiences in purchasing a phone.

Service Blueprint

Also known as a swim-lane diagram, a service blueprint is a graphic representation of how elements of a service interact with one another to form the larger service experience. Getting a new phone can be an exciting task. Negative experiences during this process can tarnish the customer’s view of the service provider. These downfalls include waiting too long to get a phone, poor customer service, and other things such as not being able to look at a contract before signing it. These incidents, good or bad, can affect what the customer thinks of the carrier for the rest of his/her contract. (Simplified for scale)


We developed a comprehensive list of possible design opportunities. We consolidated these opportunities into new services which we felt will mitigate emotional lows in the service experience, create synergy between touchpoints, and provides beautiful experiences for AT&T users.


Our changes to AT&T’s services shifted priorities away from individual devices, segregated service offering, and put the spotlight on customer content. Customer data lives above the phone level, shifting content from local to synchronized cloud storage, which can then be accessed through multiple touchpoints. The hub can tap into the individual’s “phone number” and fill the data access gaps we’ve identified from our research. I developed the initial concept of the AT&T Communication Hub and built the wireframes and overall structure from which Chris Wronski created visual designs to communicate the final concept.

ENVISIONING THE FUTURE: Experience Prototyping with Video

The following video is how we chose to expose and present the story of our new services and touchpoints. This video was directed, produced, and edited by me. The team as a whole developed the script and completed the various service evidence, renderings and simulation screens.

Mix Your Own

  • Industrial Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Service Design