Many B2B applications ignore industry standard design principles and best practices. These include:
Familiarity means the application’s interface elements and workflows match the user’s existing conceptual model by following well understood patterns. It’s also important to provide appropriate onboarding queues and play well with other platforms and interfaces that users are familiar with. For example, when selling to a Sales team, using Salesforce’s Lightning design system may be an advantageous approach that should be considered.
Clarity helps users understand where they are, what they can do, and what has happened. Signposts and cues are needed to help users understand where their current context lies within overall application. The application should provide feedback to the user to help them understand waiting times, how to recover from errors, and when actions have been completed.
B2B applications must also be efficient. People use applications to get a job done. It’s important to support beginners, as well as pro users by getting out of their way. Routine jobs should be simplified so users can get in the flow.
As products are developed, they often “morph” into the right product-market fit. Unfortunately, this can create “design debt”—disparate, disjointed experiences—as this process is led in most organizations by sales, product, or development.
What are the key tasks or goals your users are trying to achieve? What workflows are they using to to accomplish this? Try documenting each of the steps your users are going through to accomplish tasks and use this to create streamlined workflows.
Aligning these workflows across the entire system should be prioritized to retain users that are familiar with the system and turn them into delighted promoters. But beware, constant changes can disrupt current users if functionality slips or context familiarity is disrupted. Customer churn can be avoided by providing visual cues, migration steps, and incremental small changes.
We also recommend using Feature Flagging techniques or packaging a product’s features into common user personas inside the software to allow for a more streamlined experience when features are not often used across all user groups. Examples of this include the difference between Microsoft Office Home and Work editions, hiding configuration systems deep in a menu if it is only accessed by power users, or even a customizable navigation system found in tools like Salesforce or JIRA.