B2B Sites + User Hostile Design

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by: David Armano

Jakob Nielson draws attention to the fact that most B2B sites are woefully behind when compared to their B2C counterparts in just about every measure.














He’s right.  But there are exceptions.  My team spent nearly five years evolving Grainger’s  uber-commerce Web site from an internally focused marketing site, to a user-centered and usable B2B transactional experience.   

Fast, easy, get in and get out—it’s everything that Grainger customers want and expect.  We averaged doing intense usability testing along with prototyping almost quarterly—and personas helped us avoid the “segmentation trap”.  The results helped us to architect an experience that blends B2C simplicity with B2B sensibilities. View Case Study:

From the report:
“User-Hostile Design
B2B sites often prevent users from getting the information they need to research solutions. Sometimes this is deliberate, as when sites hide the good stuff behind registration barriers. Other times it's inadvertent, as when confusing navigation prevents users from finding information, or when the information they do find is so voluminous and convoluted that they can't understand it.

A simple example: Many sites use segmentation, in which users must click through to the appropriate site segment. Unfortunately, these segments often don't match the way customers think of themselves, and thus require them to peek through multiple site areas to find the right one. Even a simple segmentation such as company size isn't obvious. What counts as small? Better sites will annotate their choices with a definition (stating, for example, that their small business segment targets companies with less than 100 employees).”

Original Post: http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2006/05/b2b_sitesuser_h.html