B2B Website Design Best Practices

on January 18th, 2017
by Josette MIllar

When it comes to b2b website design best practices, there are certain key factors that everyone must employ to be successful.

Today's topic: Usability.

It's an important attribute, after all, isn't it? If your website isn't considered usable by your users, they'll gladly move on to the guy next door who will happily employ usability's b2b website design best practices to make their visit a fruitful one.

So, how do you make sure your users don't leave your cyber doorstep in search of a more welcoming virtual floor mat?

Jakob Nielson, crowned “the guru of web page 'usability'” by NY Times in 1998, and holder of many similar titles since, has founded his career on users' experiences of the World Wide Web. For years, Nielson has been a driving force, guiding marketers, web designers, and businesses toward more user-focused designs that play into human tendencies and consumer behavior rather than just painting pretty pictures.

As web designers, we're driven to create the best and brightest websites for our clients. What once meant shiny pictures and lots of pizzazz now means high levels of usability, among other imperative features. We use Jakob's expertise as guidance to ensure that we maintain b2b website design best practices while employing optimal usability with each of our creations.

Remember, you're designing for the user; you're not designing for you.

What we mean is this: You may have a hundred awesome ideas you'd like to use to trick out the next website you design, but anything past Level Easy is lost on the average user. User expertise stagnates at a fairly low level, and additional features and functions can easily be lost on your audience. In his article User Expertise Stagnates at Low Levels, Nielson states, “Learning is hard work, and users don't want to do it. That's why they learn as little as possible about your design and then stay at a low level of expertise for years.”

Today's user has a notably low attention level. As people, we're bombarded with advertisements, tasks, websites, and features all day, every day. In terms of web design, this means that all the added bells and whistles that you happen to think are necessary, whether it's because you see them as value-added functionality, or you're just proud of the extra this-and-that's your audience can obtain, may never even be noticed by most consumers. Exploration of user interfaces is low on the totem pole for much of your audience, regardless of your target demographic. Because of expertise stagnation, some of the most obvious and basic features, as told by a designer, may never be noticed by their user.

To combat this unintentional avoidance of functional opportunity, Nielson suggests the following b2b website design best practices:

  • Fewer Features. It may sound like an oxymoron on paper, but the more features you provide, the less they'll be used. Alternatively, less options means higher likely use.
  • Visible Features. Key features should be visible or people will have to work to find them (and quit).
  • Acknowledge Stagnation. Sometimes your most successful strategy comes when you acknowledge that you're not going to give something your all.
  • Just-in-Time Learning. Content is key online, and small tidbits in lieu of never-to-be-read manuals will make a big difference to your viewer. People are more likely to digest small bits.
  • Teachability. Well-designed error messages can enhance user independence.

Sheffield Media Group is filled with b2b website design best practices that can help you maximize your responsive and mobile web designs, among may other things. Post a reply below, and share your thoughts with us!

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