What is a design playbook?
A design playbook is a codified informational record of the company’s design practices, style guides, pattern and component libraries, design standards, processes, procedures, and more.
It is meant to inform the design team and other stakeholders of all the steps and decisions that need to be made to create a consistent user experience for the end user.
The design of the UX playbook applies to any form of content that the design team may create – product designs, website and landing page frameworks, marketing collateral, etc.
Creating a design playbook helps companies scale the design function without having to worry about hampering UX consistency or quality.
Now that we have covered the what, you may wonder why creating a design playbook can benefit your business.
Why create a design playbook
When a company has small teams for its product design, it’s much easier for designers to collaborate and create better outcomes. But as companies scale and engage multiple teams with remote and non-remote members, the design process becomes more complex.
Design playbooks simplify some of these complexities and provide a seamless working environment for all design and non-design stakeholders. Here are some of the fundamental reasons why design-led organizations should prioritize creating a design playbook for their design life cycle:
Creating design consistency
Brand consistency is one of the essential qualities of a successful organization. Maintaining design consistency should not be compromised when hiring new design team members or deploying additional design teams.
If your business suffers from this problem, a design playbook may be the right solution for you.
A well-created design playbook has a repository of all guidelines, standards, practices, and all the other product information needed for designers to follow.
Since the design playbook is a constant guidance source for recruits from day one, adding new members to an organization will not affect brand consistency. They ensure that the design teams and members follow the business’s core values and beliefs.
Improving collaboration between designers and their teams
Designers of varying skill sets and levels often face friction when working together. Setting clearly appropriate standards and practices into the design playbook that instruct all designers on business goals and how to achieve them as a team is an effective way to mitigate this problem.
The design playbook directly improves collaboration between teams by providing a simple environment with preset rules and allows designers to focus on their products without needing to go through tedious processes.
Single source of truth
A playbook is a single source of truth for all design teams throughout the organization. It has an aggregate of standards, practices, processes, and instructions for all design organizations’ stakeholders.
Businesses can achieve complete brand consistency and UX productivity with one pool of resources common to all design teams. UX playbooks leave little room for friction between design teams as every designer has the same repository of information to source for their information, instructions, and design elements.
Streamlining process efficiency
Creating UX playbooks helps increase the operational efficiency of designers and their teams.
Organizations pushing designers to design faster without providing a supporting playbook is not good practice as great design is a multi-faceted creative process that cannot yield the best outcomes when rushed.
Instead, design playbooks focus on improving efficiency throughout the design lifecycle by creating a clear structure for design teams to follow. In other words, its design function is to simplify all processes for the design team to do what they do best – design.
Businesses that have created a UX playbook find that it’s an effective way to streamline the efficiency of the design workflow.
Creating an excellent work environment
UX playbooks provide a collaborative and inclusive creative work environment that endeavors to unify all design stakeholders. This design team unity is achieved by simplifying all employee processes and increasing brand value and recognition through consistent product designs.
Remember, creative outputs naturally flourish when increasing collaborative efforts and reducing friction between design and non-design stakeholders. Organizations deploying the right design playbook often produce a desirable work environment with a reduced probability of designer attrition while attracting potential, high-talent recruits.
Now that you understand why design playbooks are crucial for a design function’s success, let’s take a look at some examples that you can draw inspiration from.
Google's UX playbook examples
Google, a market leader in providing the best user experiences across industries, achieves its position through design playbooks specifically researched and designed for each sector.
A good practice would be to check how Google addresses the UX for your enterprise. This should give you a good base from which you can start improving your own user experiences.
Here are some of the playbook approaches Google has taken across varying industries:
Google's Ecommerce playbook
Google’s primary focus for its Retail and Ecommerce playbook is to create a friction-free retail experience.
Through extensive market research and attaining insights from the funnel of numerous websites, the company has simplified its playbook to address six main areas of Ecommerce websites; the homepage, navigation, search bar, category pages, customer conversion, and form optimization through answering a UX checklist of its twenty-five predefined market principles.
Google's Lead Generation Website playbook
Google’s lead generation playbook’s primary focus is to optimize the homepage so that customers don’t struggle to find what they seek and complete tasks. Their priority is customer trust and first impressions, providing users with clear information and content through a seamless experience.
Next, they value striking the right balance in website form-filling by collecting precise customer information while keeping the forms short enough for customers to stay engaged and follow through to completion.
Their playbook design aims to tailor the user experience for seamless conversion of users arriving at the landing page.
Google's Travel playbook
Google’s travel playbook targets the need to improve the customer’s travel booking experiences right from the early travel idea plan, through the booking, and post-booking experience stages.
This UX playbook streamlines the landing page, search engine, results, price comparison functionalities, signup, and booking feedback aspects of travel websites for the best customer experience.
In conclusion, a robust UX playbook can be essential to ensure excellent product outcomes by acting as a catalog and guidebook beneficial to all design and non-design stakeholders. As a design leader, it could be advantageous for you to explore how to create a UX playbook as a common design language for your organization.
Cubyts's design playbook
At Cubyts, we provide users with an Intelligent DesignOps Platform that integrates design strategy, processes, and workflows into the software product life cycle.
Through our platform, users can create their own elaborate and easily accessible custom UX playbooks that can help teams better manage their workflow and boost the quality of design outcomes. Contact us to find out how our platform can streamline all your design processes.