Almost every B2B company is unique because it tends to serve multiple kinds of users in the long run. While there may be some overlap between its various user personas, each group needs a slightly different approach to engagement. And this is precisely where user experience takes precedence in the design process!
In this blog, we will cover the most common B2B user experience roadblocks that companies often face. In addition, we’ll provide a solution for each challenge so you can implement them right away!
#1: 1-on-1 Interactions Aren’t Much Fun, or Even Defined!
A user’s immediate goal is not always to use your product or service. For instance, they might just be looking to validate their proof of concept. Thus, it becomes your job to provide them with a user experience that is both fun and functional.
The roadblock here is that you’re likely dealing with systems rather than one-to-one interactions, and this can make it very difficult to create a cohesive B2B user experience. But what does this mean for product design?
For example, if you’ve designed an entire taxonomy, it can be challenging to shift gears and create something new. But if you take a step back and consider the whole picture, this becomes easier than expected – your teams are already familiar with the product or service’s purpose!
Solution: Establish systems that incorporate all of your user touchpoints. This could include creating consistent interactions at each step of the UX process. For example, you could include a simple tooltip throughout your design that illustrates the next step in your interaction. This will help your user; and provide a more cohesive B2B user experience as you work to customize the user experience for each user type.
#2: Business-Centered UX Doesn’t Truly Reflect the Users’ Needs
As a B2B company, you know your product like the back of your hand. But it takes more than that to understand the industry you’re targeting. After all, there is a reason why your company exists in the first place – and this stems from a specific need that your industry has.
In other words, you cannot expect a UX designer to understand the needs of business owners – simply because they’re not business owners!
Solution: Establish a strong team of UX designers who understand your user base. But more than that, they need to know how your users think, why they’re using your product, and what they expect. Just as the previous roadblock depended on a cohesive experience, this one does as well. Incorporate UX designers into your development cycle early on to ensure that their user research is integrated into the entire design process.
#3: B2B Designs Are Often “Too Safe”
The first instinct of B2B companies is to be safe with designs. After all, you need your product or service to be reliable, which means that you need to vet out every element of your design carefully.
Unfortunately, this is perhaps one of the most significant user experience limitations for B2B organizations because it often leads to a design that is overly conservative and stifles creativity. Such a design will hamper user experience and limit your conversion and engagement rates.
Solution: Create a UX process that allows for seamless communication between teams and the ability to iterate quickly. If you’re designing something with an open-ended concept, such as a platform, this makes perfect sense. However, if your product is more finite in nature – think SaaS or eCommerce platforms – then you will need a longer time frame to get feedback from real users before releasing anything at all!
#4: The Requirements are Often Unclear but Expansive
It might seem like having specific requirements for your UX design will help move the project along, but this is often not the case. In fact, very vague requirements can harm the user experience and limit your ability to create a great design.
A great UX designer understands that if they have too many restraints, the design will suffer. And for B2Bs, design is not simply about how an interface appears. It is also about the purpose and function of every element.
Solution: Require the least amount of information possible to keep things moving forward. This is particularly true when it comes to early prototyping. If you need to keep your B2B product or service on schedule, make sure that UX designers can get started quickly without too much information. But this also does not mean that you should give your designers free reign. The idea is to provide just enough information so that they don’t lose momentum on a project but still have a clear direction.
#5: UX Designers Need to be “In the Know” about Business Operations
It is crucial for your business to get the UX design right in the first shot. One of the most significant limitations you will face as a B2B company is the lack of understanding among UX designers about your business. Of course, if you’re offering a product or service that has never been offered before within your industry, this isn’t a problem because you are setting the bar.
However, suppose your B2B product is similar to something already out there. In that case, you need your UX designers to be aware of the various tradeoffs and limitations that other companies face. Hence, this requires your UX designers to have some understanding of your company’s business operations.
Solution: There are two ways to approach this problem. Either make sure that your UX designers work closely with the top-level management within your company. Or, ensure that you hire people who already understand the operations of your business. If nothing else, put together a set of requirements for your UX designers to follow. This can be as simple as providing them with information about industry trends and your company’s business model or as complex as providing information about competitor trends and sales figures.
#6: The Process is Long and Deliberative
Another prominent issue with B2Bs is that they often take longer than most companies would like because of the sheer number of people involved in sign-off processes. It’s a mistake to think that all B2Bs have a lot of money floating around, so your product or service needs to be perfect before going live. However, good UX design is often iterative and requires frequent feedback from users. If you’re not getting feedback from users, you might as well be building a “perfect” product for a nonexistent user.
Solution: Get everyone on board with the process and put together comprehensive requirements so that there is no room for indecision. If your UX team needs sign-off at various stages of the design process, make sure to get vice presidents and directors involved so that they can get support from higher-level management. And if this isn’t possible, try to work closely with your UX designers and get sign-off for significant milestones or particular functions of the design.
#7: The Designers Lack Technical Understanding of Your Product
Lastly, one more issue is that the UX designers might not have enough information about your product, mainly if it’s a new development. And this is understandable because developing a new product has its own unique set of issues that UX designers might not understand. This is especially true if they are not working closely with developers.
Solution: Provide UX designers with access to resources within the company that can provide them with any technical information that they might need. This could include the CTO, the engineering team, R&D teams, etc. It’s also essential to ensure that your UX designers are fully aware of all of the current development milestones and goals so that they can account for any constraints in their designs.
What Are The Key Ingredients Of A Memorable B2B User Experience?
A good user experience is about delivering a fresh, new approach to solving problems. To be successful in your B2B UX design project, you need to tap into those aspects of your company that will bring out the “wow” factor and create an experience that users won’t forget anytime soon. Here are some ideas:
I. Be involved early on as a partner –
It’s best to get involved early on in the project so that you can contribute ideas and feedback at multiple stages of the design process. This way, it will be easier for you to give instructions or guidance rather than constantly asking for changes after each design iteration.
II. Provide extensive research on your customer base –
Designers need to get a good understanding of your customer base. This means knowing who these people are, where they are located, what kind of business they’re in and what kind of problems they encounter daily.
III. Design for the future –
A B2B UX design project is as much about the long-term as it is about the momentary. Keep in mind that you will have ongoing maintenance on the product; and it should be easy for users to navigate on their own. Remember that there are very few “set-it-and-forget-it” designs as the UX often needs (and should) evolve with changes in technology and customer preferences.
IV. Keep it simple –
Most B2Bs do not need to be flashy to capture the user’s attention. Instead, they should focus on simplicity in design and ensure that everything is easy for users to find and understand. After all, the purpose of a B2B project is to provide something that your customer base can easily use without help from your company.
V. Follow good design standards –
This is a somewhat abstract concept. Still, there are universal guidelines in design that you can follow to ensure that the UX of your product adheres to current industry standards. These include:
A. Creating a hierarchy by using typography and whitespace.
B. Using colors that communicate the brand message.
C. Providing easy-to-read labels and instructions.
D. Avoid jargon and words that your customer base might not understand.
In this blog post, we’ve examined a few of the most common roadblocks that hinder the best B2B user experience. We hope these insights will help you create an experience that is intuitive, easy to use, and memorable for customers.
In addition, please let us know if there are any other challenges or obstacles in your project that we didn’t mention here. Our team of design experts would love to hear from you!