In a recent interview on PSFK to promote the new iPad app, Dave Lippman, Ebay’s VP of Design and Executive Creative Director – former Creative Director Apple Online Store, talked about design, creativity, and empathy. Some excerpt:
One of the luxuries of growing up in the internet age is being exposed to lots of clients. Part of the agency design life is always meeting new customers with new problems, constraints, and opportunities. You develop methodologies for addressing customers, and see all shapes and sizes. Bringing this to Apple was strange, as [their not talking about who the customer is] seemed antithetical to me. Their perspective was, “everyone in the world is our customer,” and we’re the customer, so [Apple designers] relied on things they believed in, their intuition.
The eBay customer base is difficult; there are buyers and sellers, there are people there for specific items, there are some people looking to integrate. We’re a marketplace for the world’s stuff — for everything in the world — and not a vertical. We help people to see all of the wonderful things, and to inspire them. As we got to know the customers and their needs for the iPad app, we were influenced by inspiration and utility, and are always building new features to balance that. It’s about creating this browsable, shoppable experience. The goal is not just to focus on the buyer, but also to give the sellers a better platform to sell, an opportunity to show their products in a bold, beautiful way. Bringing personalization to the seller’s side, and always trying to enhance it, is really important for understanding what professional sellers are selling, and providing utilities for them to be more successful.