Birch Furniture
Service Design, Branding, User Experience & Interface

role  Art Direction, App Interface & Interaction, Facilitation
collaborators  Lois Kang, Lorri Chin, Rita Lei
advisors  Iran Narges, Amber Reed
length  14 weeks

A service concept. Birch is a sustainable furniture rental service that makes reusable and modern furniture easy and accessible to young adults in temporary living conditions.

+  This is Alex,  a 20-year-old international student. She is about to start her second year in the United States.

Intro — Life Isn’t Always Wonderful

Life is complicated, especially when you about to get independent. As young service designers, we decided to focus on young adults in their 20s to 30s, the time when they say goodbye to parents and say hello to self-management. 

+  This is Alex’s life territory map. She needs to figure everything out.

Start Broad — Territory Map

Service systems are complex. A territory map will help us document and discuss initial knowledge about our problem space. In this case, our territory map is everything that a young adult needs to deal with in their life.

+  One of the questions and respondent results from our Google survey.

Quantitative Research — Life Survey

Since our territory map is rather broad, we sent out a survey to help us focus on a specific problem space. In the survey, we asked many young adults about their perceptions and opinions of their life situations.


+  Alex has the same feeling. She’s moving into a new apartment. She loves good furniture, but she worries about what happens when she moves again.

Narrow Down — Furniture

Based on the responses from our survey, we dived into housing area of the territory map, specifically looked at the moving part. After listing out things that related to moving and studying existing services, we believed that furniture should be our focus. Furniture consumes lots of energy to move around, and it is troublesome for those young adults who are constantly moving between places.


+  Our team’s synthesis of interview notes. [RealtimeBoard]

Qualitative Research — Furniture Experience Interview

After identified our research area, we developed a question sheet and conducted interviews with several college students and young adults to learn their experience with owning furniture.


Dive Deep — Experience Map

An experience map visualizes a service’s key moments over time and how they shape a user’s experience. In this case, we use the map as a framework to synthesize our research findings, identify touchpoints, needs, pain points and opportunity, and prepare for ideations and potential design solutions.

Reveal — Problems and Concerns

For our audience, the annoying parts of owning a piece of furniture are both transporting and discarding furniture. Moving furniture can be difficult without manpower and a vehicle; getting rid of furniture is a time-consuming process, where furniture could eventually become big waste. Without trust, trading furniture in second-hand markets can be concerning.

+  Alex needs a serve that helps her make the right choice, takes care of her furniture, can be trusted, saves time and cares about the environment.

How can we create an easy, sustainable furniture service that designed for college students and young adults that live temporarily in cities?


Explore — Ideation

Based on the prompt and insights from the experience map, we brainstormed possible touchpoints and solutions, which we prioritized and combined into our service. After rounds of prototyping, we introduce to you…


Made with Adobe XD

Birch PhoneBirch Phone

Consolidate — Birch Furniture Rental

Birch trees symbolize home, beginnings, and rebirth. Like a birch tree, our furniture is given a new life every time it travels to a new home. From selecting furniture to return furniture, Birch makes sure an easy and seamless furniture rental process.


Stand Out — Birch Furniture’s Service Value

We created Birch Furniture based on the concerns and insights from our interview. As a result, we shaped four values as our guides, helping us to create corresponding features and touchpoints.

Zoom In — Touchpoints and features

Each slide above shows the meaning behind each value, followed by a set of touch points and features that further explain the value.


Zoom Out — Service Blueprint

As service designers, we look at a service holistically. This service blueprint maps how frontstage and backstage interact to deliver our Birch Furniture service. It helps us identify possible gaps and make sure the service work successfully.