In B2B eCommerce, UX designing is quite challenging because potential customers either had an experience with online stores, buying on eBay or Amazon extensively or had no experience whatsoever. Therefore, you have to find a common ground and adjust the platform to the requirements of both groups.
Having a great experience in eCommerce, gained for over 8 years, working for many B2B and B2C clients, we worked out a multi-staging process of web designing. Going through all these stages described below, helps to create an appealing and attractive platform.
We usually start with User Research. We conduct a field research and mix outcome of this research with other such as:
- Web Analytics,
- Competitors analysis,
- Analytics review, surveys,
- Benchmarking and trend analysis, industry reports etc.,
- Contextual inquiry.
This phase helps us know the customer’s needs. It’s a great basis for creating a list of necessary features. It’s also a great piece of knowledge about the company we design for and the processes happening inside.
Then we prepare personas. A persona is a fictional identity that reflects one of the user groups we design for. We try to assess as many points as possible – the description must be complex and coherent.
Usually, we create 3-4 personas for each project. Thinking about the needs of a fictional persona, a designer understands what a real person might need. Personas also help prevent some common design pitfalls, which may otherwise be easy to fall into, like overcomplicating. If you want to add new function just ask yourself – is it useful for this specific persona?
After personas, we move to a Design Phase. We use prototyping because any changes during prototyping are much cheaper (and faster) than during the implementation and development. We use mockups – interactive prototypes showing how the application will work. This allows us to verify whether the designer’s idea meets client’s expectations.
First, we conduct workshops. In teams, we generate ideas using personas. Then we do paper prototyping. After that, each team presents mockups and discuss them with other teams. Then we chose the best ideas and build one coherent mockup prototype. It’s much more efficient that single UX designers working on their own.
In the next phase, as we have the pre-approved version, we prepare digital versions of prototypes. They areclickable and will allow us to conduct user tests.
Testing prototypes with users is crucial for the success of every project. We do iterative testing. After the tests, we make some improvements on mockups and test everything again. It’s one of the most important stages – we believe that only ground testing prevents a platform from further critical errors.
If you want to know more about B2B eCommerce development, read our Magento B2B Case Study at TIM SA.
You can also meet us on Meet Magento Netherlands 2016 – we will tell a little about this project, qualified for the finals of Imagine Excellence Awards for The Best B2B User Experience.