Marcelo Gatti joined Infocorp as a graphic designer, and from then on 17 years have passed! At first, he did everything: Sales collateral, brochures, websites. He now leads the UX/UI team, participating in all the product creation phases, from ideas to interfaces, going through everything comprised by UX and UI, and is proud to see how products and apps designed by his team are used by millions of people, making them love their banks.
Tell us about your job in Infocorp.
I started in Infocorp 17 years ago. I joined on 2033 as a designer. I was the only designer in the company. I did everything… I designed interfaces, did mock-ups in HTML, I also worked in marketing doing sales collateral, brochures. But then I specialized more on things having to do with interface and usability. Now I lead a team that takes part in the creation process for a product, from beginning to end. Everything having to do with UX/UI (user experience / user interfaces) design, until the UI implementation. Besides meeting with customers, I work a lot with project heads to coordinate tasks with various teams and analysts to define requirements and features. Also with Marketing, regarding Infocorp branding, and at sometimes the HR team.
How is Infocorp’s design team made up today?
We are a team made up by UX/UI designers and front-end developers, and I hire supplier companies whenever the job demand so requires it. Being a multidisciplinary team, we all exchange ideas and contribute to all projects.
Tell us about your training. How did you learn about UX?
I studied architecture until the fourth year, I even made the architecture trip, and in parallel I had started to get a Degree in Graphic Design at the ORT. At some point, I did both careers at the same time, but when I returned from that trip I had to make the choice. So I decided to get my degree and, in parallel, I started working in design, which was what I liked the most. The career had multimedia design, and in that subject I started being passionate about interfaces, even if at the time they didn’t have all the projection the got to have. And then I started getting into interface design and user experience, and that path has continued until today.
How was the evolution of digital channels for banks since you began working in this subject 17 years ago until today?
At that time, when I joined the company, Infocorp didn’t have a defined market niche as it has now, when we are into the financial industry. Back then, we also worked in the health, insurance, and other industries. But we already had Banco Santander Uruguay among our first customers. And as time passed, other customers came, related to the financial industry, where we got to participate in their evolution. The biggest leap happened when the use of smartphones got to be more widespread. People stater feeling that immediacy when they wanted to transfer funds anytime, anywhere. Even though we already had the banking website, where people could make transfers and payments, I think that was the biggest breakthrough. As time passed, people didn’t want to go to the offices any more. They wanted to do everything by themselves, and this was even stronger this year with the pandemic.
And which would you say was the most challenging project you’ve had in your time in Infocorp?
There were many challenging projects. Besides working here, I travelled several times to do some consulting. For example, going to another country for two weeks and relieving an app, relieving a website, and finishing those two weeks with mock-ups to show the customer. Being their doing the whole process, from starting conversations with the customer to drawing in paper to then digitalize, was interesting but also challenging. When I did those trips, I always brought large blocks, pencils, and erasers, and I drew in front of the customer to interpret requirements, and that had a great impact. After that, those drawings were turned into wireframes, using vector drawing tools, to go from paper to something similar to a final result. And after I had navigation flows more or less approved, then we added art and did mock-ups and presented those too. We would to jobs in two weeks and the customer had a more or less tangible product in one or more mock-ups. It wasn’t developed, but you could see it in images, and the customer valued that whole process very much.
We had many of those… I remember one, for example, when the first iPad had just come out, we designed a super complex iPad app for a bank in Chile. I remember that it was super challenging, and we presented a bunch of screens.
And the most recent one?
App X. We got an interdisciplinary team together, throwing ideas around for hours, to create the app of the future for banks. In those ling meetings we loved each other, we shortly got to hating each other (laughs ), because we were all very passionate about what we were doing, and in order to put ideas on paper, we drew screens on the whiteboard to visualize how it would be. And there was also an important challenge because at that time we started working fully with Adobe XD, which is an app that lets us not only mock-up, but also interact between screens, introduce micro interactions, i.e., generate a much richer experience. You practically had the app running in your cell phone, but it was really a simulation. It was a great pride for me having worked with that team, having helped bring those ideas to light, which ended up great, and from there we even built a stand all about that product in an international event in Miami. You put a lot of heart, a lot of love in stuff. It goes beyond work, and when you see it become real, it’s fantastic. That was the main drive for the new app, i.e., App 7. Several ideas we had there are been taken now, and eventually others will be added.
Infocorp’s claim is “Helping people love their bank”. What do you do every day at work to achieve that?
Well, this claim comes from 2012 if I remember correctly… I designed the logo you see everywhere in the company. Since I heard it for the first time, I loved it. Because it is an expression of what me and my team strive for every day, which is taking focus to our customer’s customers, end users. For me, that phrase basically summarizes what user-centric design is.
And what would you say are today’s trends or main points of user-centric design?
First, you have to understand users and the tasks they are going to perform. Usability, that’s a very important point. Also responsive, so interfaces look well in all devices. Accessibility is another factor, and a point to bring out is appreciation, which is the way users feel when navigating the interfaces. In one of my presentations, I used a slide at the beginning, which showed a rich and flashy plate of hot food, with a text saying: “Users are hungry for a great experience”, and that’s because all users use super cool apps, so we can’t be at the same level as those apps. On the other hand, so there’s no extra friction when using our product we use the “follow the patterns” principle, i.e., following the patterns of what people use and know, such as social media, and making them feel that they are in comfortable and intuitive environments. Examples of this are: using the burger menu, or the tab Bar, which are familiar navigation modes for users. There’s a book I like a lot, called “Thinking Fast and Slow”, by Daniel Kahneman, that deals with this subject. It basically talks about two mental systems, systems 1 and 2. System 1 is fast, intuitive… For example, if you’re driving and you already know how to drive, you do everything from memory; and if you change cars, you won’t have any problems. System 2 is the one in charge of thinking. it’s as if someone told you to drive, but in a car with the gearshift in the roof, or on the left side of the seat. If we take the user out of that zone of familiar patterns, you get him into system 2, and it makes him uncomfortable. We should try to have users make things without thinking much, making it intuitive for them.
Let’s talk a bit about Marcelo on a more personal level. What are your hobbies? What do you like to do?
I love sports in general. I love watching sports and playing some. It’s a routine for me because it’s also good for my head. As a kid, I was federated in handball. I also played soccer and swam in the ACJ. Then I played basket for years, until now. Even as a grown up, I ended up being federated in table tennis. And with the pandemic, I started playing tennis, which is a sport I’ve always been a fan of. And I love playing it! On a personal level, I enjoy being with my family, I’m very familial, I like getting together with my mother, my brother and the family, seeing my nephews, and spending as much time as possible with my wife and 12-year old son. I have a group of friends that, given the current situation, I see way less than I’d like.
A place in the world? A place ideal for spending your vacations?
A place in the world is hard to say. I love travelling, and I was lucky enough to do the architecture trip, as well as work trips. And in the latter I always stayed for a weekend in the middle, so I remember amazing places I’ve visited, such as Isla Culebra in Puerto Rico, or the mountains in the Chilean mountain chain. Once I went to Panama and, through a customer that was the Ministry of Economy, they took us to see an indigenous settlement on the other side of Panama City, which is an archipelago in the Caribbean called Guna Yala. The water is warm, divine! Another place I love, that we have visited several times with my family, is Florianopolis. On the other hand, last year my wife, my son and I went to New York, which is a dazzling city. We walked 13 to 15 km every day. My 11-year old at the time took it all and was amazed, it’s an incredible city.
Tell me a bit about the perspective of a person joining Infocorp today?
One of the things I like of Infocorp, and probably one of the most important for which I’m here, is dynamism and the capability for adaption that the company has always had. It’s a company that never stayed in the same place, that always entered different market niches, seeing the possibilities, until it found the financial industry. It’s a company that always moved very fast, and that allowed me to learn a lot. We invest a lot of money in making products. That puts a lot of pressure on me, because interface undoubtedly is one of the most important parts of a product, but it’s also very challenging.
I remember when we made the Banking web product, we started doing a mock-up, to think about it, we made some demos, salespeople went and sold it, and four projects were simultaneously sold with a PPT. That’s the great part about my job in Infocorp: you always change, you’re always in different stuff, and that doesn’t let you ever get bored.