Tim Parsey, senior vice-president and head of user experience design at Yahoo! Inc., is a veteran in the world of design. In his past assignments, Parsey designed Hot Wheels and Barbie brands at Mattel Inc., the world's biggest toymaker, and Motorola phones. He also ran Apple Inc.'s design studio in the early 1990s.
At Yahoo, Parsey is attempting to create unique user experiences and trying to ensure that designers play a part in shaping the future of the California-based Internet firm. "I would like to see the shift to a much bigger mobile presence and an experience that goes beyond devices become realities," Parsey said in an interview.
Edited excerpts --
What's changed from the time you joined Yahoo!?
I joined Yahoo a few CEOs ago, or about 18 months ago. Design had been sort of pushing into the service mode within the organization with people saying 'tell them what to do'. It's a journey about how do you get out of that (trap), and that's what I specialize in, and that's what we have been doing.
On a design level, it's really been about understanding talent around the world including India; understand how that talent can complement each other. I see some incredible skills here in India and it's been about managing these skills that you may not find in other locations. It's been about developing a higher level of process, vision, strategy and ultimately bringing together what we call design language. How do you express the brand through design, what is the language you use and at a crude level, it's about asking what colour should we have for the header. At a more nuance level it's about how do you bring a dynamic change and expressing value of the brand.
I would say we have done pretty well in terms of creating an infrastructure for higher level of design with the talent calibrated in line according to the vision and strategy. At Yahoo, it really is about coming together as a design community. There is an increased effort to push innovation and a lot of that is already happening, you may not see them in the market yet.
I am not allowed to tell you the ship dates or any other specific details. Yahoo is an amazing opportunity for the design leaders in terms of serving over 700 million users that the platform offers but there's an opportunity to modernize different elements and make it (design) fluid across all devices, there is an opportunity to introduce newer paradigms in Internet design. It's increasingly getting to be about how you enable that emotional design. For instance, emotional design for Yahoo Finance should be about trust, credibility and reliability. And if you go to an entertainment section, it becomes more about that 'wow, look how cool' expression.
What's it like designing on the Internet?
On the Internet, design is becoming even more critical. There are different attributes reflecting different value positioning for each of the players. There's positioning on creativity, sense of belonging, trust and transparency -- they are all values that you may hold for your best friends, for instance.
You look at the big players. For Facebook, it's sense of belonging, it's the meaningful value for them. You think of the early nineties when a sense of loneliness was at its peak -- I don't hear that anymore. You look at Google that stands for democratization of information; you can have the same information that a rich guy with fancy car has down the street.
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