Building a UX Playbook

Understanding who you are designing for and helping people design for them. Building a UX Playbook.

As researchers, we often get asked, “Who is/are the [insert descriptor]?” This could be:


People believe knowing who these design targets are is the golden ticket to success because that is what we’ve been taught. Step one is to understand the people you are designing for. Do this and success will follow.

However, this is just step one. When you’re in a culture that is transforming, you’re making a wild assumption that people will know how to use the segments, archetypes or personas once they are created. You’re also assuming you’re able to communicate these models of understanding effectively so that people can take action based on what they learn.

Understanding human-centered design and the role of design targets within it must be considered alongside the creation of segments, archetypes or personas.

Design Challenge

Senior leadership wanted to learn more about the needs, behaviors, goals and attitudes of small business owners. Then, they wanted to use this new knowledge to help people identify and prioritize their roadmaps.

Our design challenge became:

How might we identify and communicate small business owners needs, behaviors, goals and attitudes in a way that this information becomes the bedrock for conversations on what it means to be a trusted partner to small business owners and people use this information to take action?

Building a Customer Playbook

We decided to build a “Customer Playbook” to internally communicate and generate conversations (through engaging, consumable, and visual archetypes) about customer needs and motivations, so internal teams could seamlessly and delightfully open and grow relationships with customers and reinforce the financial institution’s position as a trusted partner.

This playbook would also have “plays” and “how to’s” that provided information on how marketers, designers or product managers could use the archetypes to make day-to-day decisions about what customer’s need from a digital bank, and where the biggest opportunities are as we continue our digital transformation. It’ll be a living, breathing understanding of our customers and a toolkit for how to put this understanding into action.

Video: View the Customer Playbook

Synthesis of our research interviews and the beginning of persona modeling.

We wanted to better understand

  • Who is the ideal small business customer?
  • What is this person doing via self-service and when do they struggle?
  • What channels are people using to interact with internal teams?
  • What products and services are they using to accomplish what tasks?
  • What is the mindset of the customer throughout their financial journey and how do people’s behaviors, needs, goals, desires and pain points change throughout this journey?
  • What are the main triggers that lead to someone being open to a new financial product and/or service or switching banks?
  • What products and/or services do people typically adopt at the same time in their journey?
  • How do people become aware of new products and services, whether they are financial products and services or other products and services (insurance, shopping deals, local events…)?
  • When considering a financial partner, what criteria do they use when considering, evaluating and committing?
  • What incentivizes resonate with people if opening one account or multiple accounts at the same time?
  • What environment are we designing onboarding experiences for — when and where do people commit to open accounts (in branch, at home, with friends??)?
  • How far apart are we from customer expectations and what happens in our front/back office?
  • How do people need and want to get support (online, in branch, phone)?
  • When people interact with us, what type of support do they need, and what is expected from a bank and/or what is desired from a bank?
  • What is the ideal customer care experience (online, in branch, phone)?

The Team

We formed a cross-functional team of strategists, designers and researchers.

Director: Laura Cochran

Experience Strategy Leads: Mindy Yuen, Hadassah Damien

Design Director: Yoje Ho

Illustrator: Justin Winslow

Researchers: Joel Rosado, Amy Lanza, Ingrid Nieters

Content Strategists: Matt Chimel, Dan Cappello, Michelle Ammirati

Product Manager: Suhaib Habibullah

Read More:

Understanding Who You Are Designing For: Research Design

Communicating user needs: determining function and form. Building a UX Playbook.


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