User-De-centeredness in Service Design

Yutaka Yamauchi

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User-centeredness is a fundamental principle of design in general and of service design in particular. The current paper offers an alternative view of this concept. Here, the “user” is seen not as a self-evident and static subject that is firmly centered but as part of a performative interaction through which the subject is transformed―i.e., the subject is de-centered. As service involves users as people and not as objects, the agency of persons involved needs to be fully acknowledged. Based on previously reported empirical studies of service encounters, this study proposes the thesis that service should be seen as a “struggle” rather than harmonious totality. The subject “user” is an outcome of this struggle, not its a priori condition. Therefore, a dialectical process by which the subject develops must be designed. This perspective allows for design that is different from, or even opposite to, user-centered design. This paper discusses the theoretical framework and key design principles of user-decentered service design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationServiceology for Designing the Future : Selected and Edited Papers of the 2nd International Conference on Serviceology
EditorsTakashi Maeno, Yuriko Sawatani, Tatsunori Hara
Place of PublicationTokyo
Publication date2016
ISBN (Print)9784431558590
ISBN (Electronic)9784431558613
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event2nd International Conference on Serviceology. CServ 2014 - Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 14 Sep 201416 Sep 2014
Conference number: 2


Conference2nd International Conference on Serviceology. CServ 2014
Internet address


  • Service design
  • User-de-centered
  • Service as struggle
  • Dialectics

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