Guide #024: How to approach UX design for B2B digital products


Guide #024: How to approach UX design for B2B digital products

UX for B2B

Working on digital products within a B2B environment provides the opportunity to learn about business processes as well as technology solutions.


Design for individual users while taking into consideration the needs of multiple stakeholders

Design solutions will need to take into consideration at least three stakeholders: your primary user - the person interacting with your platform, the customers of your primary user, and the company you work for. Understand how your company will gain value from solving the problems being explored. As your user base grows—for example, from hundreds to thousands—your design processes will feel more like B2C. Ultimately your end-user is an individual.


Understand the flow of data through your design solutions

When designing workflows for your features or products, understand how the actions of your users and stakeholders affect the data. During your workflow, at what stage is your product receiving data? At what stage is your user providing data? Are there any other entities that provide data that enable the workflow to be completed? Capturing the journey of data will help you find opportunities that might otherwise be missed.


Design solutions that can be scaled down or up as requirements change

When designing within MVP requirements, also have an understanding of future, post-MVP growth. Ask your product manager if any post-MVP requirements exist, or if there is any user feedback or feature requests that are being held for after MVP work is completed. It might also be the case that your developer cannot implement your full design within the allotted time. Being aware of the current limitations as well as future plans will help you create solutions that are scalable over time.


Create personas for your expert users, basic users, non-users, new users, etc.

Create profiles for the different types of users within your user base. Utilize these personas to identify who the best participants should be for pilots or research studies. For example, when piloting a new feature, consider testing it with your expert persona first. Design your “happy path” user flows around this subset of users. Understand the problems of your expert persona user group, collect feedback, implement and then expand to a wider user base. Plan new research studies and continue collecting feedback as you expand to wider audiences.


Avoid putting band-aids on band-aids by neglecting back-end updates

B2B products oftentimes have a mix of old and modern codebases. Solutions should be approached holistically across both front-end and back-end, as an updated UI may not provide a full solution. Design systems for B2B products should also evolve over time to incorporate new technologies and aesthetics.


Narrow down your research to specific user interactions or user pain-points

While doing benchmark research, narrow down your search to the specific interactions or pain-points users might encounter in applications outside of your industry. For example, adding items to a cart (as part of a checkout experience) is a common B2C user flow that can be leveraged within B2B digital products. Ask yourself, where have users completed similar tasks or come across similar experiences?


Utilize non-design information as part of your research

Read FAQs, knowledge bases or customer feedback forums to understand how the public interacts with and feels about the problem space you’re exploring. While this type or research might not include visuals or specific interaction examples, it can still provide valuable insights into what users want, and how other products are satisfying or falling short of user needs.


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