PayPay Inside-Out People and Culture

Design Chit-Chat vol.10 – Sekki Shiba


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 Sekki Shiba from the design team.

Sekki Shiba

Sekki Shiba

Design Department, Product Division Product Designer

Member of the Design Department in the Product Division. Born in China, he came to Japan in 2010. After working as a product designer at an IT company, he launched a startup with a friend and after four years of entrepreneurial experience, he joined PayPay in February 2021.

What is your team and what does it do?

As the manager of the Core App & Payment design team, I am responsible for ensuring the quality—including user experience—of all designs, as well as managing and supporting my team members. Of course, I am also in charge of certain projects and do the design work. Also, for the past year and a half, I have been focusing on building a design system, collaborating with team members to establish guidelines, updating and operating component libraries, and coordinating tasks with other departments.

What made you become a designer?

I’ve been interested in digital design since I was in junior high school. It was a time when Photoshop and Flash were popular. I remember designing my own website and creating simple animations using Flash.

Then I studied abroad in Japan, and while in college, my best friend launched a startup company where I was the only designer among the starting members. There, I was entrusted with designing of a social media app. I did not major in design, nor did I have any expert knowledge, but thanks to this environment, I succeeded in completing my first app through self-study.

I continued this work until I finished my studies, and it only seemed natural to continue my career as a product designer after graduation. As a side note, the social media app was later reoriented as a corporate internal communication tool and is still in service today. It has been ten years since its launch, and now more than 10,000 companies in Japan have adopted the system.

What are some recent projects you are working on?

I am usually involved in the core features of the PayPay app, payment related projects, as well as updating the design system. Recently, I have been working on renewing the notification feature, updating the home screen design, and a few other fun projects that I can’t disclose until release.

PayPay design system

How do you come up with ideas?

I use data, observe users, and get ideas from team members.
PayPay boasts a huge number of users, so it’s not too difficult to find out their opinions. I often search social media platforms and check app store reviews to see what people are saying.

UX research tactics are helpful if I want to know more about a particular user group, but it is also fun to identify issues firsthand. For example, I once went to a shopping area in Sugamo, Tokyo, and saw elderly ladies using PayPay. I tried to observe which screen they were confused with, and how long it took them to make a payment.

And then, there are many members in the design team from different backgrounds, nationalities, and cultures. We constantly come up with fantastic ideas through workshops and discussions.

What do you prioritize when creating a product at PayPay?

With more than 55 million users in the four years since its inception, PayPay is already becoming a social infrastructure.

So, many aspects need to be considered, such as the user experience when making payments and the value our design brings to the service as a whole. Thanks to this environment, we are committed to finding underlying issues, solving them, and creating new value. In fact, I feel that this is my mission and responsibility as a product designer.

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

PayPay is constantly developing multiple new features, so a design system which ensures product quality and a consistent user experience without losing momentum is essential. I would like to brush this system up to an even higher level of perfection.

Recently, we are considering incorporating AI into our design flow. With new AI solutions being created every day, we feel that it is no longer possible to just ignore them and keep designing as if they don’t exist.

A message to aspiring PayPay employees

The design team is a diverse team with respectful and fun-loving members. PayPay has contributed to Japan going cashless and grew to the company that it is today, but is still halfway through its growth process and continues to evolve rapidly. I look forward to working with more colleagues who are willing to take up challenges with us.

A day in the life of Sekki
Wake up, make coffee
Start work, check and reply to Slack and emails
Focus work time with podcasts playing
Take a midday walk and grab lunch at a local restaurant
Meet with team members
Kick-off meeting with PM and developers
Focused work time
Design review and todo check
Finish work

Current job openings

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

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