Different lenses for understanding users

Ahead of user research week. I thought it might be useful to introduce some other service design principles, that it might be useful to think about when designing a new service, namely Life-Cycles.

Lifecycles can aid your design by giving an “outside-in” perspective of what customers experience across an entire sector.

Human Lifecycle– this describes how people behave in different key stages in their life. Thinking about this, gives you an overview of what really matters in people’s lives beyond what your organisation offers, and helps you understand how your organisation can support customers in major transitions in their lives e.g. from school attendance (Hackney Learning trust) to school leaver (ways into work), to employment, to renting home a home (choice based letting) to parenthood (children’s centres) and onto retirement (day centres for the elderly). What customers may need from your service will vary according to what phase they are in their lives and what transitions they are going through in their life.


The Consumer lifecycle – describes how people behave in a market when they make choices about their needs or wants. So if someone is going on a business trip they may use a number of services to meet their needs. How a service comes together and interacts (with those offered by your partners and competitors) affects the overall consumer experience. Understanding how people make choices enables you to design a service which supports them to make the right choices.

The Customer lifecycle – describes how customers become aware of a service, choose a service, pay for a contract, use that service, upgrade a contract, have incidents with that service and then either renew their contract or leave. Anyone whom has purchased a phone under contract knows that how you are treated during that lifecycle will reflect whether you renew your contract or go elsewhere. So thinking about that whole lifecycle and how a service deals with customers during the lifecycle can help increase customer loyalty, retain customers and optimise the contract holding experience. Commercial waste contracts is an area the council deals with where consideration of the customer lifecycle in designing a new service may help.

The user lifecycle – is a tool to help reduce costs, drive efficiencies and trigger new behaviours when people use the product or service. This tool helps you visualise the journey a user goes through maybe using multiple channels when they interact with your service. It enables you to visualise the service delivery across multiple channels to enable you to simplify and improve customer interactions.

In conclusion when designing a new service you need to do so through the lenses of the human, user,consumer and customer lifecycles.

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