Let's face it: B2B is infamous for a poor user experience (UX).
Many companies fear that changing their applications and websites will anger their current customers. To be fair, users usually don't take to change very well. Many also assume that B2B and B2C sales and marketing are fundamentally different. While websites and applications are part of the sales process, B2B sales typically don't begin and end by one visit to an eCommerce site.
As a result, B2B became all about the user interface (UI) and making sure that everything is efficient. Companies were willing to sacrifice great design in order to ensure efficiency.
However, that is all starting to change.
Why Does UX Matter?
In a competitive field like B2B, businesses no longer have the luxury to waste their UX and risk missing out on potential customers.
Now, websites and applications are what give your company authenticity. In fact, 94% of the first impression your website provides are related to design. Businesses need to establish themselves as thought-leaders and cutting edge subconsciously, through their web design.
As a result, research into UI/UX can help give your business a competitive edge. What your customer see matters: experts estimate that every $1 spent on UX yields $2-$100 in return.
The investment is worth it, but it’s also essential to stay on top of the latest research to make sure that you are investing in the right things. An outdated website could turn off your potential customers. The latest tech, on the other hand, will keep users on your website.
To keep you in the know, here are the latest trends and research in UI/UX for B2B:
The details on a website or app can make or break it. Microinteractions are often ignored in favor of the more significant parts of the design, but it is the animation, the call to action button, the need to swipe, that will make your website more user-friendly.
Want to improve the engagement on your page? Microinteractions are critical to encourage users to use your website or app. They are almost subconscious ways that the user is actively engaging and encourages further engagement. In the B2C setting, this could be liking a post on Facebook or getting an email notification.
If a user looks at your page and leaves, you've lost important ways to engage with them. Some reasons to include microinterations include:
- Users more easily interact with your website
- Improves navigation
- Directs user’s attention
- Creates a more emotional site
- Makes UX more rewarding.
Don’t forget the details that make your website easier to visit. Microinteractions provide better UX.
B2B users are infamous for their lack of time. In fact, 46% of B2B buyers will leave a website if it’s not immediately clear what the company does.
Business leaders and entrepreneurs don’t have time to read in-depth content. However, they are also always looking for ways to improve their knowledge base and want information from thought leaders.
As a result, content that is easy to skim has become an essential aspect of websites. Lists, clear headings, and summaries have all become popular for content that sells.
Web content is as vital as ever in B2B: 62% of buyers stated that they would make a business decision based on online content alone. Content that they can skim will help hold their attention as well as establish your credibility.
Chatbots have been around for a while. However, they have recently exploded in popularity for B2B. Although only 0.5% of all B2B companies harness the capabilities of chatbots, 22% of the fastest-growing B2B companies use them. What do these larger, growing companies know that everyone else doesn’t?
Personalization is not just a buzzword for the B2C market. In fact, 73% of B2B buyers state that they want personalized, B2C-like customer experience. Typically, buyers in B2B have more questions they need answered than B2C. Creating an individualized kind of experience through AI is just what B2B executives are looking for.
The average B2B buyer is 57% through their customer journey before they ever meet a representative. The challenge for businesses, then, is to find a way to get ahead of the process to reach a customer before they’ve gone too far in their customer journey. A well-designed website that offers personalization through AI is a great first step: the same report found that 61% of all B2B transactions now start online.
AI tech, such as chatbots, makes it easy for customers to get ahold of you and gives them the B2C experience they want.
In times past, animations were out of the question for good web design. They slowed down the page and made everything longer to load. This lag would create frustration for customers who would then lose interest in the website.
However, increases in browser capabilities have changed everything. Customers can now easily load animation and videos without sacrificing their patience and time. As a result, animation has become the newest buzzword in UX design.
Animation can play numerous roles across your website. Functional animation creates a UI that is far more engaging and operational. Functional animation works as a subtle animation that accomplished a clear purpose. For example, it could reduce the cognitive load or prevent change blindness.
Not only can animation accomplish certain tasks, but it also creates ease in transition on a webpage. For example, deleting an item could result in it sliding off the screen. This implies to the user that something expected has happened. It creates a smoother transition than an item suddenly disappearing from the screen.
It can also help to keep users interested when they have to wait for one reason or another. It’s commonly known that users are not patient when it comes to delays. New research shows that they will leave after waiting three seconds for a page to load.
However, animation can hack this process to keep customers waiting longer. It can use a psychological phenomenon known as “the labor illusion” that implies your servers are working. A loading bar, for example, will satisfy the user that you are doing work on their behalf. Animation could also be used to provide a short distraction as well. Both of these are ways to keep users engaged while waiting.
Responsiveness was on everyone's radar in 2018. B2B companies have been slow to adopt measures to make their websites mobile-friendly. New research, though, shows why responsiveness is the next important step for all B2B businesses.
Most B2B companies expect that other businesses and their decision-makers will be browsing from their desk. However, that is no longer the case.
Business is no longer stuck at the desktop. Company leaders are on the move, and they expect their tech to keep up with them. Mobile-browsing is extremely common for leaders and entrepreneurs. In fact, about half of all B2B executives use a tablet or mobile phone at some part of the buying cycle.
Just as importantly, responsiveness is a crucial factor Google uses when ranking websites. They know that many people come to their search engine through a mobile device. Although Google doesn't release specifics, responsiveness is a key part of their algorithm.
How easily potential customers can find you on Google is essential for capturing leads. Considering that 71% of B2B research start by using generic Google search terms, your ability to rank higher will mean your customers can find you.
You could be spending plenty of time and money coming up with a great SEO strategy. But if your website isn’t optimized for mobile browsing, it could be a waste of money.
Does Better UI/UX Design Mean Better Business?
While the latest trends in UI/UX can—and likely will—make your website attract and engage customers, there’s no way to know it for sure unless you’re tracking it. Don’t waste even a second with a new feature that isn’t connected to real human behavior. Google Analytics, Hotjar, Clicky, Woopra, to name a few, are a great way to get started.
IS a new UI/UX feature resulting in better business? Pour fuel on that fire, leverage more tools (while avoiding tag bloat!) and give your customers more!