Service Design Trend Predictions 2024: What to Expect?

8 min read
Evelina Molis
Marketing Manager
Service Design

It’s that time of the year again! Let’s explore the anticipated trends that service designers and CX leaders are likely to face in 2024. We’ll thoroughly explore diverse shifts in service industries, evolving user behaviours and expectations, and impactful changes within service design and UX teams.

Building on our insights from 2023 (check it out if you missed it), this year promises intriguing developments in service design, particularly in areas like artificial intelligence (AI), where ethics and governance take centre stage. Privacy, transparency, and the pressing need for accessibility improvements will also be crucial as we approach the vital changes of the 2025 Act. Amidst this ever-evolving landscape, our goal is to uncover key trends, impactful changes, and emerging concepts driving the transformation in service design.

Before We Begin

You often come across elaborate terms like ‘adaptive innovation through continuous foresight’ on platforms such as LinkedIn. But let’s spare the thesaurus theatrics - don’t just envision the future; adapt to it and be prepared!

One of the most widely discussed predictions we shared last year emphasised companies actively seeking to anticipate future trends and disruptions, aiming to remain resilient in a rapidly changing landscape. And no, nothing is going to change here! While staying informed about industry trends is routine, facing industry disruption necessitates real-time adaptation to emerging trends, and some teams have already begun using technology and AI for it.

For example ElectroInnovate has already started using generative AI to enhance their capability to conduct robust contingency scenario planning by efficiently processing data, creating detailed scenarios, developing rich narratives, and generating strategies tailored to specific challenges.

Why did we choose to highlight this at the beginning? Well, we don’t release these trends each year just for fun; our goal is to assist your teams in preparing for what’s to come, whether it’s scenario planning, assessing future strengths and weaknesses, or simply providing you with valuable insights! Let’s dive in…

Trend 1: Notorious AI in Service Design, Again

AI-Enhanced Personalisation

The incorporation of advanced AI in service design for delivering highly personalised and context-aware service experiences that anticipate user needs has been a dominant trend in recent years. Once again making its return in trends, this integration is poised to extend beyond established technologies like AI, chatbots, and VR, venturing into more sophisticated realms such as augmented intelligence.

However, the focus this year will be on fostering a more seamless and harmonious human-machine symbiosis, addressing the ongoing challenge of creating interactions that feel natural and intuitive for users, a challenge that persisted throughout 2023.

Take ChatGPT as an example. While it excels in natural-sounding and human-like interactions compared to other tools, its current limitations lie in a lack of proficiency in comprehending the intricate emotional and psychological nuances that significantly shape human decision-making. It may also not consistently employ common sense reasoning in the way humans do, resulting in a shortfall in personalised interactions.

Navigating Ethical Guidelines

Besides integrating AI into various aspects of service design, there is a a noticeable trend towards prioritising the ethical use of AI. Design teams are now dedicating attention to transparently communicating about data usage, rectifying biases in algorithms, and ensuring that AI-driven services align with robust ethical standards. This concerted effort not only guarantees the responsible and unbiased use of AI but also positions companies to earn user trust and actively contribute to the ethical evolution of technology. 

It’s important to remember the impending enforcement of the EU’s AI Act in the first half of 2024, governing the comprehensive development, sale, distribution, and deployment of AI systems in the EU. The recent international AI Safety Summit, hosted by the UK and resulting in the Bletchley Park declaration, also further underscores the establishment of even stronger regulations for the ethical use of AI.

Trend 2: Data Odyssey & Privacy Shifts in Design

Data Interoperability and Portability

Beyond the realm of AI, the increasing emphasis on data interoperability and portability emerges as a challenge and opportunity for designers. Users wanting smooth data movement across services guide our exploration into how service designers manage this digital complexity. Embracing these trends not only connects the digital world more but also moves service design forward, putting user convenience and flexible data at the forefront of innovation.

Privacy-Centric Design

Once again, the focus intensifies on user protection, emphasising a shift towards user-centric approaches that prioritise consent, control, and transparent communication about data usage.

The recent adoption of the Data Act by the EU Parliament in November 2023, set to be enforced in 2026, not only empowers users with increased control over their data but also acts as a catalyst for service and UX designers. This regulatory development urges designers to embed more robust privacy measures and enhance the clarity of privacy information within their projects.

However, it’s important not only to meet compliance obligations (considering not everyone wants to read a 4,000 word privacy policy statement) but also to prioritise user needs. Service designers must understand what users want to know, when they need to know it, and how to communicate in a manner that resonates with their diverse preferences. Use concise summaries, interactive guides, and visuals for accessible and digestible privacy information. 

Trend 3: Beyond Waste Reduction

Conscious Consumption Platforms

In 2023, we witnessed an increasing number of service design teams and UX design agencies create services dedicated to reducing waste and minimising their carbon footprint. While this trend is here to stay, we anticipate a significant emergence of platforms and services designed not only to embrace sustainability but also to actively promote it further. Expect to see teams implementing personalised sustainability dashboards within services, offering users insights into the environmental and social impact of their choices, fostering a sense of responsibility, as well as sustainable and ethical decision-making.

Circular Design

To seamlessly integrate sustainability into the practices of service design teams, consultancies will prioritise the incorporation of circular design principles. This involves promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility across the entire lifecycle of products and services, encompassing circular economy practices and regenerative design. This could also lead to an increased likelihood of collaborations with environmental experts, aiming to develop services that actively contribute to eco-friendly initiatives.

Trend 4: Predictive Behavioural Design

In 2023, we highlighted a growing trend that prioritises people-centric approaches, incorporating behavioural science for a profound understanding of customer behaviours. The use of predictive analytics and behavioural science to analyse user behaviour is rising like never before.

The emphasis on understanding user needs may lead to the integration of neuro-design principles this year. Companies might leverage neuroscientific insights more and more to create services that cater to the emotional and cognitive aspects of users, ensuring a more holistic understanding of customer behaviour (e.g. allowing users to provide feedback based on subconscious reactions and emotional responses).

Watch as archetypes and mindsets transform into sophisticated tools, with behavioural science taking centre stage in shaping personalised experiences. Anticipate technological advancements that deepen emotional understanding, marking a significant evolution in crafting tailored user experiences.

Trend 5: Multi-Sensory Experiences

With the recent rise of digitalisation and technology advancements, customers are constantly looking for experiences that leave a lasting impression. Last year, our focus centred on gamification as the prevailing trend in service design. Looking ahead, we anticipate teams delving into innovative approaches to craft services that engage multiple senses, moving beyond conventional visual and auditory elements to include touch, smell, or even taste. This shift creates more profound and immersive user experiences, propelling companies into a new realm of customer satisfaction and brand recall. Does it sound a bit out of this world?

Consider financial apps as an initial foray into multi sensory design. Some have already incorporated subtle sensory elements. For instance, when users achieve a financial goal or complete a transaction, certain apps provide a gentle vibration, establishing positive associations with financial accomplishments.

While these are early steps, they offer a glimpse into the potential for increasingly immersive and diverse multi sensory experiences. This evolution is anticipated to unfold further in the coming year.

Trend 6: Accessibility and Beyond

In a conversation with our Lead Design Researcher, Azia Ali, our in-house expert in accessibility research, it became clear that full inclusivity still remained a challenge for many companies in their design research processes throughout the past year.

Only 3% of the internet is accessible to people with disabilities - Dept Agency, 2023

Even though the European Accessibility Act (EAA) has continuously inspired a global movement towards inclusivity, the deadline for the latest Act is now approaching even faster and is coming into force on June 28, 2025. By then, companies must ensure that the newly marketed products and services covered by the Act are accessible for people with disabilities.

It is noteworthy that the EAA does not impose detailed technical restrictions, providing room for innovation and flexibility in design approaches. However, it cannot be underestimated that as of June 28 2025, customers will also be able to file complaints before national courts or authorities if services or products don’t respect the new rules.

This impending change will undoubtedly give a necessary push for some companies and their design processes in 2024.

Trend 7: The Office, Virtually

In 2024, significant changes will unfold not just in the design of services and consumer behaviours, but also in the way teams collaborate and innovate from the inside out. As collaborative tools evolve, integrating AR and VR for immersive and interactive design sessions, we expect to see design and UX teams co-create in virtual environments besides already advanced project management tools.     

However, it's important to acknowledge that the wide use of these technologies may take some time, given that they are still in the developmental phase before achieving their maximum potential for utilisation.

Future-Proof Service Design

We hope you've enjoyed exploring these trends with us! Share your thoughts and insights on service design or your own trends on our social media platforms.

Stay tuned as we unveil comprehensive insights into service design trends in finance, tech, and healthcare in the upcoming weeks. Be the first to access exclusive content by signing up for our newsletter today!

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