Starbucks <3 Zeplin

Starbucks isn’t just a passionate purveyor of coffee, but everything else that goes with a full and rewarding coffeehouse experience. In their words: “Every day, we go to work hoping to do two things: share great coffee with our friends and help make the world a little better.”

Jason Stoff
Jason Stoff
Sr. Designer, Digital Products @Starbucks

We had the chance to chat with Jason Stoff, senior designer at Starbucks. (Fun fact: He even designed a replacement icon for Zeplin!)

How is the design and development team set up at Starbucks?

We’ve got an internal Digital Product Design team that does the UX and visual design work for the core Starbucks apps and website. We work hand in hand with our internal Product and Engineering teams to develop and test our products, and our Global Digital Marketing team to actively promote what we’re doing and why it’s cool.

How is the overall design workflow?

We generally create wireframes and explorative prototypes early in our design process. We try and create a solid UX foundation with low fidelity wires and interactive flows, and once a direction is promising, we start revealing those design ideas to broader audiences inside the company. After we’ve gotten the necessary approvals, we refine our wireframes and move into visual design and engineering.

Where does Zeplin fit in the workflow?

"We basically consider Zeplin to be our source of truth for collaborating with Engineering. If it’s not in Zeplin, it’s not official."

We start using Zeplin as soon as we’ve got a solid direction — we create a new project starting with our wireframes, and we invite our peers from Engineering to make sure they know what we’re thinking. We continue to update the project as wireframes get more refined and screens are added or removed, and we add other team members to the project as needed. Eventually, finished visual designs replace the wireframes.

We basically consider Zeplin to be our source of truth for collaborating with Engineering. If it’s not in Zeplin, it’s not official. We’ll tie some projects to Slack channels, too, so we can all get a good idea of when something has been updated. We also use Zeplin’s Scene feature to share designs with other stakeholders and Starbucks designers in other markets.

You’ll want a coffee after reading this post
You’ll want a coffee after reading this post 😅

What is the one best thing about Zeplin?

Choosing one thing is actually a little tricky for me — I really like so many aspects of Zeplin as a product, it’s unfair to single one thing out. In the end, I think using Zeplin has created more time for our team to experiment with designs, as opposed to manually creating design spec documents. Those docs are no fun to make, and take a substantial amount of time to maintain. Since we began using Zeplin, we’ve been able to spend more time experimenting with various designs for each feature.

Speaking to our engineers, they agree — they prefer not having paper or PDF spec documents, instead being able to reference designs on-screen. They also like having access to project previews, assets and style guides in one place.

"Since we began using Zeplin, we’ve been able to spend more time experimenting with various designs for each feature."