Service designer

Service designers create or improve end-to-end services. They focus on the user to uncover issues and test solutions.

Your role may involve the creation of, or change to, transactions, products, and content across digital and offline channels, including:

  • carrying out design research
  • engaging with users and stakeholders
  • visually mapping and presenting concepts
  • prototyping and testing

Starting your career

Subject choices

Useful school subjects for service designers include:

  • Design and Technology
  • Art and Design
  • English
  • Maths
  • Computing Science
  • Psychology

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some experience of working in healthcare by doing a work placement. There may also be opportunities to volunteer. This could help you when applying to university, college, or a new job with NHSScotland.


Foundation Apprenticeships

A Foundation Apprenticeship could give you the skills and work experience you need to start your career journey as a service designer.

Find out more about relevant Foundation Apprenticeships in:

Modern Apprenticeships

Begin or continue developing relevant skills and experience for a service design role by doing a Modern Apprenticeship. Useful Modern Apprenticeships include:

College and university

You might choose to do an HND or a degree before starting your career as a service designer. Examples of relevant undergraduate degrees include:

  • Digital Interaction
  • Digital Design
  • Product Design
  • Psychology

You could also do a postgraduate qualification before becoming a service designer. Relevant postgraduate degrees include:

  • Service Design
  • Digital Service Design
  • Design Innovation and Service Design
  • Service Management and Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Design for Business
  • Design for Healthcare

Many Scottish colleges and universities deliver courses in these areas. You should check specific entry requirements before applying.

Widening participation supports adult learners who want to go to university. If you’re an adult with few or no qualifications, you could get into higher education through the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP).

Many universities also provide access programmes to help you get the degree entry qualifications you need.

Search for college or university courses on My World of Work.

The role

As an NHSScotland service designer, you could work on researching a citizen’s journey through a new or existing service. You’ll then provide valuable insights on the development or improvement our services.

What you’ll do

Tasks you’ll work on include:

  • designing and managing complex design-led projects
  • conducting research to find out what users need
  • mapping the journey to look for and solve any problems they could experience
  • planning and leading workshops, focus groups, and interviews
  • explaining your findings to colleagues
  • developing prototypes to test your findings
  • presenting the final service blueprint to colleagues
  • preparing your design to be delivered
  • improving outcomes and experiences for users

Top Skills

As a service designer, useful skills include:

  • communication
  • teamwork
  • analysis
  • prototyping code
  • prototyping programs and products
  • strategic thinking
  • user focus
  • multitasking
  • time management
  • leadership

You’ll also need to have knowledge of:

Who you’ll work with

Service designers usually work with a group of other digital professionals. The product or design team can include roles such as:

  • product manager
  • delivery manager
  • UX designer
  • interaction designer
  • graphic designer
  • content designer
  • user researcher
  • developer
  • software engineer

Working environment

You’ll mainly be working in an office. However, you’ll be expected to travel to deliver workshops and meet with users.

Did you know?

We recruited our first service designers in 2018 when we set up NES Digital Service (NDS). NDS develops digital products that connect patients with clinicians. Find out more about NES Digital Service.

Learning and development

As a service designer with NHSScotland, you’ll learn a lot working in multi-disciplinary teams. These teams are made up of colleagues with clinical, care, and product expertise. Service designers working in the NHS build products iteratively and focus on learning from our users.

Professional bodies