User Interaction: making a difference in B2B platforms

User Interaction: making a difference in B2B platforms

How to reach your user …

The first step for a flawless user experience in business to business applications is to meet the exact needs of your client, without distractions or frustrations. The design is mostly there to influence the behaviour of visitors and users in an intuitive way, most of the time without them being aware of it. The user is central.

The design is not only a front, but is fully integrated with the content and functionality. On top of that comes simplicity and elegance that garantuees applications that are a pleasure to use. But user experience goes far beyond giving your client what they say they want.

To achieve high-quality user experience there must be a seamless cooperation of multiple disciplines, including content, code, marketing and design.

Usability versus User Experience

What is UX exactly? Is it adding a nice color to a screen? Or is it defining the wireframes? According to UX guru Nielsen we see two big topics. Usability and User Experience design. The ease of using the system is a different scope as the total user experience. The one can not go without the other but there is a clear difference. Usability is limited to the functions of the system. User Experience design als benefits by the above described content, the context and the expectations of the user about the results.

What makes a system usable?

The 5 quality usability components according to Nielsen:

  • Learnability: Is the application easy to learn? Do they need instructions to complete a simple task?
  • Efficiency: When you learned the system, how quickly can you complete your tasks?
  • Memorability: How quickly do you pick up what to do again? Is it easy to remember what to do?
  • Errors: How many errors do users make and how easily can they recover?
  • Satisfaction: Does the design make you happy?

But how do you design the “right” customer experience? Especially when you work with a complex technical product in a business to business environment?

What makes a system an experience for your business user?

Lets start with a definition. User Experience design is this:

Customer centric is a way of doing business with your user in a way that provides a positive experience before and after in order to drive repeat business, customer loyalty and profits.

User experience design is not just about offering great online experience, it means offering a flow from the awareness stage, through the first completed task through the process if the task is finished. User Experience has to be adopted by the whole company.

7 ways to successfully implement User Experience Design

  1. Research is your start. Define what you are solving before you start the design.
  2. Launch a prototype. Try as soon as possible and adjust your biases about the problem your solving.
  3. Adopt the user centered approach in every aspect of your business, from coders to the marketing department.
  4. Define a simple motto to live by that guides your teams trough complex design decisions.
  5. There is a lot of data. Use it! Ask for feedback, test, measure and adjust.
  6. What is the context of the users? When do they use it, what is the preferred device? What other kind of systems do they work with on a daily base.
  7. Create a diverse panel of critical and a few innovative clients. Ask these users to perform representative tasks with the design.
    Observe and let the users do the talking.

When building your business to business application, designing for a satisfied client is the ultimate goal. The first step to is focussing on what your customers care about. This is obvious, but it can be dangerously easy to find yourself viewing the customer’s world through a small lens rather than the other way round.

Good design is always user centered design.

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