Switching Up the Approach when Designing UX Interfaces for B2B Versus B2C

Switching Up the Approach when Designing UX interfaces for B2B Versus B2C

The cognitive psychology approach can help develop a deep understanding of human behaviour, mental models and decision-making processes for designing better UX interfaces.

The role of the user experience designer is one that can often go unseen. For customers, however, it is an experience that has a tremendous impact on how he or she feels while they go through the actions of discovering products, choosing what works best, and making the decision to hit buy.

CXM Today spoke to Hakan Gonen, a London-based UX research and service design professional, about how user experience can drive measurable improvements in customer satisfaction and business outcomes. “In my most recent role, I worked as the CX/UX Research Lead at EXD squad in Shell, where I spearheaded significant projects, resulting in measurable improvements in customer satisfaction and business outcomes. My passion lies in uncovering deep customer insights and using quantitative and qualitative data to tell compelling stories, inform design decisions and drive strategic business outcomes,” he says.

With a PhD in Cognitive Psychology, and work experience across B2B and B2C industries, Hakan leverages this knowledge to drive customer-centric strategies across various industries.

In conversation; 

What is the significant difference when it comes to designing UX interfaces for businesses?

Absolutely, there are significant differences between designing for B2B and B2C interfaces. B2C design generally focuses on creating engaging and user-friendly experiences for a broad audience. The key objectives here are to be intuitive, visually appealing and emotionally engaging to enhance user engagement.

B2B design, however, is usually more complex and task-oriented. It involves creating interfaces that facilitate specific business processes and workflows. The users in the B2B area are professionals who require efficiency and accuracy and often need access to detailed and technical information.

For example, at Shell, we designed the Market Hub portal with detailed functionalities tailored to the unique needs of various business verticals like marine, global mobility and aviation. The challenge was to ensure that these complex features were accessible and usable, providing a seamless experience that supports their business operations. Understanding the distinct needs and behaviours of B2B versus B2C users is critical to designing effective and successful interfaces.

How do you use data in decision-making, and what kind of data is helpful here?

Data is the backbone of my decision-making process. I employ both qualitative and quantitative data to gain a comprehensive understanding of customer behaviours and experiences. Qualitative data, such as in-depth interviews, focus groups, and usability testing, helps me uncover the underlying motivations and pain points of customers. This data provides rich, detailed insights into the why behind their actions, which is essential for empathetic design decisions. Quantitative data, on the other hand, includes metrics like customer analytics, conversion rates and survey results. This type of data helps validate hypotheses and provides measurable evidence of trends and patterns.

At Shell, for example, we used a combination of customer feedback and web analytics (Adobe) to optimise the user journey on our B2B e-commerce platform (Shell Market Hub), resulting in a 35% increase in customer satisfaction and a significant boost in sales. The blend of these data types allows us to make informed and data-driven decisions that enhance customer experience and drive business success.

Tell us about one project and how you measured its success.

One of the most recent impactful projects I led was the comprehensive upgrade of Shell’s Market Hub portal, a third biggest B2B ecommerce platform globally. This project aimed to enhance the user experience and optimise business processes for our diverse customer base. We measured the success of this project using several key metrics like customer satisfaction scores, conversion rates and overall sales figures. Post-upgrade, we observed a 35% increase in customer satisfaction, which was a clear indicator that the enhancements were well-received by users. Additionally, there was a significant uplift in conversion rates for the “order management” journey, demonstrating that the changes made the process significantly more efficient and user-friendly. These metrics collectively demonstrated that our user-centred design approach not only improved the user experience but also drove substantial business growth.

Teach us one thing about human-centred design.

Human-centred design is fundamentally about empathy. It’s about placing the customer at the heart of the design process and deeply understanding their needs, contexts, and behaviours. This approach ensures that the solutions we create are not only functional but also resonate with users on a personal level. One key aspect of human-centred design from a research perspective is iterative testing and feedback. This involves engaging with users early and often, using techniques like prototypes and usability testing to gather feedback and make continuous improvements. For example, in one of my recent projects, we implemented iterative testing for a series of new features on our portal. By creating low-fidelity prototypes and regularly collecting feedback from a diverse group of users, we were able to make continuous adjustments that aligned the final product closely with user needs. This iterative approach ensured that the features tested were not only functional but also intuitive and user-friendly, ultimately driving higher satisfaction and engagement. By focusing on the human aspect, we can create products and services that are not only effective and meaningful but also delightful to use.

How do you see genAI impacting the UX field?

GenAI has the potential to revolutionise the UX field by automating repetitive tasks, providing data-driven insights, and enhancing personalisation. It can assist in generating design prototypes, analysing large sets of user data to identify patterns, and even creating personalised user experiences based on individual preferences and behaviours.

However, while AI can significantly enhance efficiency and provide valuable insights, it’s important to remember that it cannot replace the human touch. The best outcomes in the UX field will come from a synergy between AI’s capabilities and human-centred design principles, ensuring that the technology enhances rather than detracts from the user experience. As we integrate generative AI into our workflows, it will be essential to maintain a balance, grasping technology to enhance our capabilities while keeping the user’s needs and experiences at the forefront.