Service Design for Changing Needs

We’re all familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but have you ever considered the breadth of different human needs within each of these categories? User needs can be vast and unexpected!

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Image of Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychology theory that demonstrates and categorises just how vast human needs can be. It covers basic physiological needs all the way through to self-fulfilment needs.

When designing for services, where users often have sustained interaction with a provider over a period of time and across a number of different channels, the needs they have can vary from touchpoint to touchpoint.

Take the example of booking a holiday, at various stages in that journey and interaction with an airline, the user has different needs:

Needs when booking a holiday


  • Experience joy
  • Be inspired
  • Discover somewhere new


  • Be reassured of site safety
  • Be guided through the process
  • Have peace of mind that the booking has been made

Getting on a plane

  • Physical safety
  • Peace of mind
  • Rest / sleep
  • Protection and stability
  • Trust for the staff and plane

Service providers must ensure they’ve done their research and know what user needs are at each stage in order to design for and meet them; it’s no good making assumptions!

In this example, online splash photography of beautiful landscapes and exciting activities might inspire a user when they are browsing for a holiday, but smart staff uniforms and formal safety notices are more likely to help them to feel safe when stepping on to the plane.

Source: SAS airlines

It’s important for service providers to consider how differing user needs can be met through differing styles and methods of communication, within the same brand.

At Bunnyfoot we specialise in discovering and designing for user needs. Contact us today to see how we could help you…

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Contact Caroline Bentley to discuss your needs:
0207 608 1670

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