How payment processors can learn from Netflix's approach to design

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As payment processors evolve into full-fledged technology providers, they must make their tools as easy to navigate as a company like Netflix makes it to peruse its vast library of films.

Atlanta-based Global Payments is working with InVision, a startup design company that works with companies like Google and Netflix, to design a portal that will allow merchants to quickly work with banks or customers to reconcile and troubleshoot transactions, including addressing disputes and chargebacks.

With companies like Netflix, "we bring in the best tools to bring their ideas to life," said Stephen Gates, head of design transformation at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based InVision."For other companies, they may just be starting to understand the value of design, so we teach them the basics and bring about a design transformation for their user interfaces."

In some ways, Gates said, InVision operates "like Robin Hood in that we take the best practices of the design rich and spread that to all other companies."

Global Payments has benefited in having InVision provide the tools for the processor's design team and app developers to quickly present mobile app or website tests.

"The main thing is InVision helps with design thinking, so it's not a designer opinion against a product engineer," said Claire Bauden, vice president of product design at Global Payments. "By having InVision do this, we are getting user feedback, comments and recordings of user test sessions."
The process puts an end to lengthy in-house debates or arguments because the InVision process strictly relies on what end users say what works and what doesn't, Bauden added.

"That's what I really like about this job," Bauden said of the product design division at Global Payments. "We used to have a lot of guesses and opinions, and I don't want that. I want decisions based on facts — what the user is telling us."

Various InVision elements include mobile app prototypes, element libraries, photographs, navigation flows, web prototypes and architecture documents.

"We are the pipes that are letting all of that testing work happen," Gates said. "Our team can come in and work with a company to talk about the importance of design and share best practices so that when they launch the app or promo, it is the best it can be."

With Global Payments, InVision is providing the tools to go through the design process and solve problems that the consumer might face when interacting through a mobile device or online.

The tools that InVision and others advanced in mobile technologies can bring to a project are vital in a world of beta testing new services, said Steve Mott, principal of BetterBuyDesign, a Stamford, Conn.-based consulting firm.

As it is, there are some hoops to jump through, but not enough to deter progress. The networks have rules that call for separate certifications on every point of sale, every brand and every processor that might be involved with a merchant.

"If it weren't for the labyrinth of network rules, it would be a godsend for those who essentially build and try things and fix things on the development cycle in a way that digital payments requires," Mott said.

"Network rules are in place to make sure something new doesn't mess up the network," Mott added. "But a network-centric view isn't really relevant in the mobile world; what is relevant is the consumer experience for the app or site they are interfacing with."

First Data, Vantiv, TSYS and others also have advanced their integrated payments capabilities and introduced new digital and mobile interfaces for their customers.

"Ultimately, they are trying to please their merchant clients, but also maximize transaction volume," Mott said.

Processors in the past few years have become more self-sufficient in the digital and mobile world, and companies like InVision provide useful tools to decrease testing time and make the process more efficient, he added.

Global Payments has gone through that process the past five years, Bauden explained.

"In the past, Global designers were working on different projects with different tools, and it was painful," she said. "We changed to InVision and from that moment, when a prototype was locked in, the developers knew that there weren't going to be any more tests or changes."

The main vision going forward is that Global Payments is focusing on a consumer-centric approach, said Bauden, whose team operates out of Dublin, Ireland, and Atlanta. "The merchant portal is going to be the showcase for us in how we care about the merchant customer, with InVision helping us educate and push this internally as well."

In many ways, the introduction of faster prototypes and testing mechanisms could ultimately put an end to long testing periods, service bugs and consumer complaints.

"We create the design tools and help our customers like Global Payments really try to look at how they can take their design and be able to prototype it quickly and easily," InVision's Gates said.

Because InVision doesn't create the final coding to make an app operate, Gates acknowledges that the tech teams of their clients have to make the mobile and digital services handle the tasks that benefit customers.

"Global Payments is still very much the one doing the heavy lifting, and we are giving them the tools to either build faster or try things more quickly," he added.

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