PayPay Inside-Out People and Culture

Design Chit-Chat vol.8 – Katie Cai


What is Design Chit-Chat?

PayPay has become a national service with 50 million users, and one thing that is indispensable in its development is the presence of product members with rich personalities from more than 40 countries around the world. The process of understanding the “differences” and “commonalities” in each other’s thinking one by one has transformed us into a team capable of creating ideas, approaches, and outputs that have never existed before.

In this Design Chit-Chat, we would like to present a series of member’s voices to give you as direct a picture as possible of the PayPay Design Team and its atmosphere of craftsmanship. This time, we would like to introduce Katie Cai from the design team.

Katie Cai

Katie Cai

Product Designer

Katie is an Australian designer based in Tokyo. Since 2012, she has worked with various agencies, brands, and startups big and small across Japan, USA, and Australia, focusing mainly on NPOs and Tech startups. She joined PayPay in 2021 as part of the “PayPay for Business” team before moving to the O2O Consumer team as Design Lead.

What is your team and what does it do?

I am currently the Design Lead for the O2O Consumer team, with a group of three excellent designers (and an ever-growing team!). Our focus is to provide the best design solutions and services that help connect users with our PayPay merchants and their offerings. Some products in our pipeline include Coupons, Stampcard and PayPay map.

Each product has a dedicated designer, and I am responsible for managing, providing support and ensuring that the design quality and user experience are cohesive throughout the O2O products.

What made you become a designer?

I’ve always been creative and grew up as an early 2000s internet kid (Flash animations, hacky HTML/CSS blogs, DeviantArt, etc.) The digital design space back then was a bit more chaotic and exploratory since there weren’t many established standards and processes. I thrived on experimenting, creating and breaking things apart and loved how accessible digital tools were, compared to traditional media.

Unsure of where to begin in such a broad industry after university, I got my start in advertising and worked in a Social Media digital agency, creating Facebook apps, campaigns and quick websites. Luckily, during my time there, the business also decided to make an in-house product (a Social Media automation suite) — giving me my first taste in UX and product design!

Thanks to this project, I realised the difference between a “designer” and “creative and that the general career path roughly forks out to two main choices:

  • Design as a means to visually express and tell a story → Art direction, Marketing design, etc
  • Design as a means to problem solve → UI/UX, Product design, etc.

I decided on the latter because I thought, as corny as it sounds, if I could apply my design skills to help make a positive impact for someone, however subtle, it would be more than I could ever ask for.

What projects have you recently worked on?

When I was working more hands-on in my last team, I worked on the “PayPay for Business” merchant platform with projects like the “Profile completion widget”. After moving into a leadership role, I oversee a wide range of O2O projects, ensuring quality and consistency, providing direction and support, and identifying ways for process improvements.

At PayPay, we also have the opportunity to work on side projects. One of the teams I’m on, called Design Chit-chat, is looking into creating opportunities where PayPay designers can share, learn, grow and connect with other designers and the industry.

Our Merchant platform — PayPay For Business

How do you come up with ideas?

Exposure, observation and data.
I try to stay on top of and expose myself to the latest tech, ideas, and trends to see if they can be relevant to my projects. Although I read and follow a lot of things online, I find that sometimes the best ideas can also come from our offline everyday lives.

Furthermore, the PayPay design team has many incredibly talented individuals with diverse expertise and backgrounds. We have opportunities for group design reviews and workshops; where we can collaborate, brainstorm ideas and get feedback.

What do you prioritize when creating a product at PayPay?

We recently passed the 50 million users mark! It means that our product is exposed to or directly affects the lives of 50 million people — which is pretty scary and exciting when you think about it!

On that note, while it is vital to understand and balance business objectives, the user is still core at the end of the day. The product team constantly looks for better ways to enhance the user experience and build a PayPay that users love.

My team won the CTO Award at the PayPay Hackathon 2022 event

What sort of challenges do you want to take on in PayPay?

As PayPay becomes more prevalent and widely used, our user’s needs and pain points would have changed since we launched four years ago.

I want to continue driving UX initiatives to build on our existing user research and knowledge bank by listening to more feedback from our users, both consumer and merchant. Pairing this information with quantitative data will help us empathise with our users and develop strategic evidence-based plans for future iterations so that PayPay can continue to evolve and be the best cashless solution in Japan.

A message for people considering a job at PayPay

If you are looking for a challenging, engaging, vibrant and international environment (that is not the “typical Japanese style company”), then PayPay it’s a great place to work!

Bonus cherry on the cake: We have real-time Japanese and English interpreter support, so language limitation is not an issue.

The PayPay Design Team
A day in the life of Katie
Wake Up
Have breakfast and do some light reading
Catch up on Slack messages and emails
O2O team sync up meeting
Work and meetings
Knock off and reflect on the day’s progress

Current job openings

*The recruitment status is current at the time of the interview.

Author: Katie Cai / Supervisor: YAGI / Editor: Mina
*Employees’ affiliations are as of the time of the interview.