B2B is emerging as the current big force in modern e-commerce stream. The bigger the business gets, it becomes crucial for the websites to feel, look and connect well with the customers. B2B means that one company provides products or services aimed at the other companies’ business activities. The target audience of the offer is not individual customers but businesses.
The key is to keep the designs short, vital and abbreviated. Concentrating on user experience design for business helps cement your online presence. The two emerging streams in the field are UX and UI. Let us take a look at both the divisions – along with key points, trends and best practices by discussing the issues of design for the sphere of B2B services.
Business Strategies in UX/UI for B2B Commerce
To differentiate between UX and UI in short, as Rahul Varshney, Co-creator of Foster.fm puts it:
“User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are some of the most confused and misused terms in our field. A UI without UX is like a painter slapping paint onto canvas without thought; while UX without UI is like the frame of a sculpture with no paper mache on it. A great product experience starts with UX followed by UI. Both are essential for the product’s success.”
Designers working on the projects in this perspective, have to keep in mind the variety of business relations to offer the solutions corresponding to the specific client’s goals. The design look and feel needs to be in tandem with the company’s business ideologies. And hiring a professional team is often much cheaper in comparison with having an in house department in the company dedicated to design.
Designing for B2B commerce should supposedly involve methods of visual and content presentation which are different from the one presented directly to end users. It’s easy to see by examples of numerous landing pages: the ones aimed at companies use content, language, visual and graphic elements, placement of data blocks different from those which are targeted at individual buyers or users.
Though UX and UI both seem similar, there is a huge change in the design discipline of both the design elements.
UX or UED Designs / User Experience Design
You can define UX as socially minded with deeply analytical element also with a technical component mixed in. It requires you to communicate with people and get them to tell you their needs and use this feedback to analyze and come up with a better product later on.
The designs used for business is diametrically different in content, language, visual and graphic elements, placement of data blocks from those which are targeted at individual buyers or users. Business aspect needs to be kept in mind else we will lose out on conversion rates even if the site is visually appealing and attractive.
In short, UX is an :
- analytical and technical field
- measures and optimizes inputs
- the human-first way of designing products
User Experience is a conglomeration of tasks focused on optimization of a product for effective and enjoyable use. It is the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product. The definitions are confusing since the invention of the term in the late 1990’s
User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products, regardless of its medium.
If user experience is good, it has to be so good that you won’t even notice it. Another term for UX is the traditional‘ Market Research’. The designers need to start with users needs and make the product better with continuous researching. Ultimately the aim is to connect business goals to user’s needs through a process of testing and refinement to that which satisfies both sides of the relationship.
UX Designer’s responsibilities:
Strategy and Content:
- Competitor Analysis
- Customer Analysis
- Product Structure/Strategy
- Content Development
Wireframing and Prototyping:
- Development Planning
Execution and Analytics:
- Coordination with UI Designer
- Coordination with Developer
- Tracking Goals and Integration
- Analysis and Iteration
So in conclusion:
- User Experience Design is the process of development and improvement of quality interaction between a user and all facets of a company.
- User Experience Design is responsible for being hands on with the process of research, testing, development, content, and prototyping to test for quality results.
- User Experience Design is, in theory, a non-digital (cognitive science) practice, but used and defined predominantly by digital industries.
Points to note while creating UX for B2B:
1. Branding and company policy focused designs – Quality of design reflects the company’s image and performance and will impact conversion ratio. Designers are to understand their business goals and research target audience to give the best of results
2. Using social networking similar strategies and having the same look and feel in social media and websites – like headers and banners, logos, style of photos
3. Content strategy needs to be contemporary and consistent, combining visual and textual material
4. A minimalistic approach in look, feel and content – helping save time for busy customers – giving only what they are looking for – giving a to the point interaction and then giving them the choice to read in detail if they need it
5. Content, look and feel targeting different regions and countries, appeasing people from different cultures and background.
6. Core idea should be generating leads and thereby conversion by engaging customer interest
UX Design Strategies for B2B
1. Focus on CTA (Call to Action) Buttons – visible, impactful CTA with the perfect color, shape, and tagline to grab the ever-busy target audience attention
2. Value Proposition – Telling the customer in a catchy way why he should choose to collaborate with your company; what are his benefits he will get without making him search for the information
3. Be Precise – Do not overwhelm the customers with too much of information and apply design techniques and layout that bolster the visual performance of the core information.
4. Simplify Copy Blocks – keep it simple and easy to understand and determined based on thorough research and testing
5. Integrating Core Data into Pre-scroll Area – This will enable to catch the customer attention in the first few minutes and urge the customer to stay online.
6. Follow Color Psychology – Choosing to select the colors according to color psychology would help in appealing to a wider range of audience.
7. Using Effective Imagery – Using images just for the sheer fact that they are perceived faster than texts and helps as a powerful visual tool to the already impactful words.
8. Including Promo Videos – Using promo videos enhance the attractiveness of the site multifold.
9. Feature Special Offers on Landing Pages – Landing pages aids focused assimilation of content and grabs the customers immediate attention
10. Add Testimonials – Having clients giving out their signs of trust serves to better the customer faith in the brand
11. Presenting Contact Details – Easy access to the company authorized personnel through multiple channels like emails, chat windows, and calls, enhance the customer’s convenience in getting in touch with you thereby increasing the customer’s trust in your brand.
UI Designs/User Interface Design
UI could be summarised as artistically minded with a technical element. It is graphic and visual with a technical component to it and is used to define how people see things. UI is an older stream compared to UX and is closer in definition to what we refer to as graphic design, though the responsibilities are more complex with an aesthetic presentation, its senses, and reactions. User Interface Design is the complement of UX design, the look, and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product responsible for the transference of a product’s development, research, content, and layout into an attractive, guiding and responsive experience for users. It is a strictly digital profession, as per its dictionary definition and is the means by which the user and a computer system interact, in particular, the use of input devices and software – brand, graphic/visual, and front-end design. For customers, UI is a key element to trusting a brand and deploys web designers and user interface designers.
UI designer’s responsibilities:
Look and Feel:
- Customer Analysis
- Design Research
- Branding and Graphic Development
- User Guides/Storyline
Responsiveness and Interactivity:
- UI Prototyping
- Interactivity and Animation
- Adaptation to All Device Screen Sizes
- Implementation with Developer
So in conclusion:
- User Interface Design is responsible for the transference of a brand’s strengths and visual assets to a product’s interface to best enhance the user’s experience.
- User Interface Design is a process of visually guiding the user through a product’s interface via interactive elements and across all sizes/platforms.
- User Interface Design is a digital field, which includes responsibility for cooperation and works with developers or code.
- UI design produces a product’s skin – a product’s visual/graphic presentation.
UI Design Strategies for B2B
1. Visible Branding – Using branding in multiple ways such as headers, splash screens, preloaders, attractive mascots etc would get the customers to prefer your website over your competitors
2. Clear and Easy Navigation – Clear, easy to navigate intuitive websites are the need of the hour and that is exactly what the customers are looking for in a website.
3. Quick Scanning Friendly Content – No buyer wants to waste time looking through the whole content on the website. Easy to comprehend text thus becomes pivotal in keeping the customer glued to your site
4. Reduce User Efforts – Make your customer’s job easier by reducing the number of clicks needed, showing related products, making the sign-up process effortless and using pleasing colors on the interface.
5. Minimise Clutter – Reduce experimenting with complicated designs which are difficult for your clients to decipher. This might confuse or even scare the customers away from your website.
6. Standardize Landing Pages – Use landing pages only for specific purposes and promotions so that the users are not overwhelmed and their attention span diffuses.
7. Self – Explanatory Home Pages – Make the homepage informative of the exact goal of your website. It is the first-level contact with a customer – both visually and emotionally. If the homepage fails to impress, there is every chance that the user would move out of your page
8. Include Images – Using clear, superior-quality images have a manifold impact in comparison to just text content. You can use pictures, icons, graphs, illustrations or any other kind of image to drive your point home.
9. Introduction of Videos – Instead of using just text and image content, you can also add videos to your website to add visual impact. You can include presentations, testimony or educational content in the videos. Videos can pass on powerful messages to the customer in a span of few minutes.
10. Contact Details – Include the contact details of the company’s duty holders in a visible form on the site increases the customer’s faith in your brand
11. Gamification – Add ways for the customers to interact with your website and app. Conduct contests, display banners, add discounts, give out loyalty points. This will all help the customer coming back to your site for more.
To summaries, something that looks great but is difficult to use is exemplary of great UI and poor UX. While Something very usable that looks terrible is exemplary of great UX and poor UI.
As the time advances, it becomes imperative that these strategies are put to use in a good way to enhance and empower your B2B business goal.