You’ve heard the phrase before: design is in the details. eBay and PayPal are taking that message more seriously than ever, focusing on new efforts to improve and optimize user interface design across their entire digital platforms. As part of these efforts, design leads are currently seeking to hire top talent, and setting new, specific priorities for developing quality user experiences across platforms.
eBay’s New Design Leader
As reported by AllThingsDigital, eBay has created a new role for design leadership, hiring Marie Tahir as Vice President of Design, Marketplaces. Tahir hails from Intuit, where she led the design and development of many consumer and small business offerings and experiences, and launched a company-wide effort titled Design for Delight. She will oversee building good design concepts into every aspect of an amazing commerce experience for eBay buyers and sellers. She also wrote the book “Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed.”
One of Tahir’s charters is to work with teams on “pre-viz,” which stands for previsualization. “Previsualization involves working with product teams early, well before there is a final product,” she said, “getting them to imagine what could be in a very comprehensive way. For example, what might we do now that we’ve acquired GSI Commerce? What might the new online shopping experience be like with that acquisition in mind.”
Tahir stresses that good design begins with seeing customers in context. “We don’t want to bring customers in where we are,” she said. “We want to go out to where they are. Customer intimacy is essential to good design. We especially want to focus on what they’re trying to do, but having difficulty with. Then, we need to put great design on top of that, coming up with elegant solutions.”
At the brand new eBay Design site, you can see examples of how designers are working with mobile, local and social concepts, seeking innovation. The site also incorporates outreach features, asking talented designers to consider working at eBay.
PayPal’s Design Guidelines
New design initiatives are also underway at PayPal, according to Sarah Brody, PayPal’s Vice President of Global Design. “Companies that don’t understand their users, and don’t understand design, will lose to companies that do,” she said. “At PayPal, we have compiled a list of guiding design principles. First on that list, everything we do must be completely reliable. That is key.”
“Additionally, our platforms need to be fast,” she noted, “and we must be seamless across devices, especially in today’s cloud-based world. For example, if you left a payment task on your iPad, when you pick up your iPhone, you should be able to resume the task exactly where you left off.”
“Seamlessness also applies to global regions,” Brody emphasized. “Through design, site quality and experiences need to be the same for every region. With all this in mind, though, our platforms must also be simple. Simplicity is a very important part of delighting customers.”
Both Tahir and Brody are acutely aware of what the eBay Design site refers to as the “new era for cross-commerce.” Designers at eBay and PayPal are focused on mobile, local and social digital channels, in addition to traditional web-based channels. Through all of these channels, designers can delight customers.