Creating an enthralling B2B website or mobile app requires far more than making it look good and explaining what you do. You want to develop a buyer persona to ensure you’re writing content with the right audience in mind. You want to conduct keyword research to ensure said audience finds you.
And yes, you most definitely want to make it look appealing so that people want to navigate through your web pages and eventually become a client. As, the key to this entire process is an engaging user experience. Once you get that right, you’ve won half the battle.
Best practices are like your starting points, they are not what you should end up with, but often where optimization begins.
In this blog, we’ll walk you through 5 best practices to ensure an engaging user experience on your B2B products.
- Making your product status highly visible
- Matching your system to the real world
- Allowing user control and freedom
- Using consistency and standards
- Offer help and documentation
As we have them aligned, let's get going!
- Making your system status highly visible.
One of the most important practices when it comes to B2B UX design is the user’s navigation through the product. To ensure an engaging user experience, it is important to keep users informed about what’s going on by providing adequate feedback. When designing B2B websites or mobile apps, always tell your buyers or users where they are when navigating your product. To achieve this, you can make use of:
- Breadcrumbs: Whether location-, attribution-, or path-based, ensure you use breadcrumb navigation on your product. This navigation works like GPS; it tells your users where they are on your product and how they got there every time.
- Page headers: The page header should resemble a copy of the navigation items or links. This is a good practice not only for SEO but also for user experience. If the page header matches what the user clicked, the user will be reassured.
- Highlight selected menu options: When you click on a navigation item, keep it highlighted, bolded, or underlined, so that your user gets instant feedback about menu options.
- Show progress bars: Include page-load indicators during page load. If buyers are trying to load a calculator widget or process a request, then a progress bar or notification of some sort lets them know what’s happening.
If you skip these elements, your product will confuse users, who will wonder where they are—a completely unnecessary friction point. Make your navigation status clear and visible.
Take a look at this example:
- Matching your system to the real world.
As Jakob Nielsen has stated,
“The system should speak the users’ language, with words, phrases, and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order.”
To maintain an engaging B2B UX, ensure you use phrases and words that your users are already familiar with. Eliminate jargon. The best language and tone of voice should come directly from your user’s mouths.
To achieve this, spend time talking to your customers:
- Ask them to tell you what your product means to them.
- What problem does it solve;
- How their life was before using it.
Take, for example, Swell Money,
Their value proposition explains what they do in very simple language:
They optimized their homepage by using words and phrases familiar to their users.
This was intentional and based on research. So that’s it. Ensure you conduct user research before design.
- Allow user control and freedom.
For B2B UX Designs, always eliminate anything that takes control out of the user’s hands. Here are three examples in which this heuristic is commonly violated in web design:
- Pop-up offers
We’ve all visited websites where a pop-up window suddenly appeared and asked us to join an email list or take a survey. While intrusive pop-up windows like these are annoying (pop-ups do work when done right), they’re worse if your buyer can’t reject them.
If you want to collect feedback, give users 100% control. Let them reject your offer. This will actually increase the quality of your surveys: Those who opt in are more likely, to be honest, and genuine.
- Auto-play videos
Another pet peeve for buyers is a website that auto-plays a video. This can be a nuisance, especially if it defaults to sound On. Don’t assume what your site users will want to do—let them decide when (if ever) to play your video. Video content should still be supplemental to text information.
- Automatic Carousels
Another example of loss of control that causes anxiety and frustration is automatic sliding banners. In addition to causing frustration, CXL research has demonstrated that automatic carousels don’t work.
Instead of using this distracting element, layer information in a way that makes it easy for buyers to discover and explore with full control over their experience.
Here’s an example of a better way. Evernote uses tabs to walk the user through related content:
- Use consistency and standards.
As Jakob Nielsen,
“Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Follow platform conventions.”
The last thing you should subject your buyers to is a sense of confusion. They shouldn’t wonder if words, situations, or actions really mean the same thing. Websites are not puzzles. Create fluid experiences that eliminate guesswork.
For example, Klima, on every page, whether the homepage or a product page, buyers see the same use of white space, a clean layout, and a well-organized information hierarchy.
This keeps buyers calm and makes it easy to scan the site quickly for important information. Consistency and conventions make your website “learnable,” and that’s a good thing—it will appear easier to use.
Compare that to Georgia-Pacific. They’re a huge corporation, yet the experience on related brands is different—navigation styles and standards change. This isn’t a unified experience and may cause confusion for some B2B buyers.
This style of product design would:
- Force users to adapt to different interfaces on a different section or microsite;
- Cause some users to think that they had actually left your main site.
- Offer help and documentation.
It’s imperative that your website doesn’t require instructions. Keep it simple, but do offer help.
Here are a couple of ways you can do it:
- Live chat pop-ups. The best time to get your buyer to ask a question is exactly when they have it.
- FAQs are useful, especially when used to respond to common questions or hesitations in areas of the site where users take action. The bigger the commitment you’re asking for, the more questions you’ll have to answer. FAQs are important to have in pricing tables or high-commitment landing pages (e.g. “Sign up”).
- Pricing tables can be rife with confusion. It’s good practice to split the overview of pricing plans from the complete features table. This will make it easy for your buyers to understand, at a high level, the different price points (while still allowing them to dive deeper).
Here’s an example: first the summary, then the feature-comparison table.
Wrapping it all up,
Whether you’re designing your B2B Product or going through an optimization journey, following these practices is simply an act of sanity. Even though these practices aren’t ironclad laws of product design, they’re the perfect place to start.