December 9, 2013, 12:48 PM

eBay creates a design advisory board

The e-marketplace appoints graphic design expert John Maeda as chair.

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EBay Inc. has created a Design Advisory Board to enhance its product listings and web site features, it announced last week. John Maeda, former president of the Rhode Island School of Design and a graphic designer, will chair the board.

In his role, Maeda will work with product development and design teams across eBay’s sites, including PayPal and eBay Enterprise, the company says. He will report to CEO John Donahoe.

Maeda had been president of Rhode Island School of Design since 2008. Previously, he spent 12 years teaching media arts and sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was also the associate director of research at the institute’s Media Lab, according to the Rhode Island School of Design. He has published five books about business, technology and design.

“John Maeda is a recognized leader and innovative thinker in this space, who firmly believes in the power of art and design to help transform the 21st century economy,” Donahoe says. “John will be instrumental in helping us evolve our design thinking capabilities to deliver differentiated commerce products and experiences.”

Web design is an increasingly important topic among e-retailers, particularly as retailers strive to present their web sites in appealing ways to consumers on mobile devices as well as computers. “In today’s technology-driven commerce environment, design thinking is critically important at the intersection of business and technology,” Donahoe says.  To see how eBay’s web site design measures up, check Internet Retailer’s Design Guide, scheduled to be published January 9.

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