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Service Design (MA)

Yizhou Yang

With a bachelor degree in industrial design, I had several internships to explore different design areas.

In a social innovation design project, I worked with Tsinghua University CIDIH and generated a proposal for Chengdu Government, in order to enhance the influence of Chengdu culture and attract the youth from other cities. And I once worked as a UX designer for a start-up company which built a platform to promote a digital innovation in study. I also played the role as a product designer to propose a new retail logistics system for a unicorn company implementing robots.

Among all these areas, service design is where I have the most passion and want to study further. I love probing into human behaviours, thus, I enjoy its focus on human beings and the research part of service design projects. Moreover, I believe service is the most powerful tool for wicked problems.

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Degree Details

School of Design

Service Design (MA)

I looked forward to the project collaborating with Modal, a design research practice specialised in voice commerce, because I was keen to explore a new medium between human and artificial intelligence. I had experience of user interface design, but all those interfaces were based on screens, which are unfriendly to some individuals. Conversational UI would be a road towards a more inclusive society.

As the social distancing today has caused social isolation, this project was aimed to explore how CUI can make up people’s lack of social contact. The research found that social connection is a basic need of human beings and communication with AI cannot replace that. Based on the insight that people’s conversations always come from a topic on a specific material, this project designed Shopal to be a bridge, which will use grocery purchase as the “material” to inspire people to communicate more.

Shopal — This project was an exploration about how Conversational User Interfaces (CUIs) can be applied for the low touch economy in the future.

The Voice Shop Assistant — As the state of our society and economy has been permanently altered by Covid-19, our partner, Modal Systems Ltd., which is a design research practice specialised in voice commerce, was seeking opportunities to make innovative moves.

In the near future, the pandemic will remain recurrent, bringing social distancing rules and a low-touch economy. At the same time, it shaped grocery retail with reduced physical interactions between customers and supermarket staff. The elderly is one of the groups of people whose lives are threatened most; in the meantime, their connection with technology is tighter than we thought. They have to adapt to modern life and learn how to use electronic devices. 96% of seniors are using a smartphone daily. Thus we decided to focus on the elderly shopping experience. Here CUI comes in, with requiring less cognitive workload and giving a command to it hands-free, so for this project, we partnered with the Modal to explore voice-based interface in experience for shopping then to encourage more social connection.

SeniorsShoppingVoice user interface

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