Ask DN: How Do You Do Usability Testing And User Research For A B2B Service?

over 5 years ago from , UX designer

I have researched some of the usability tool and method. But you can see the target users are general/consumer users. How about the users in b2b service?

Generally in my case, my b2b users are very particular users. So the feedbacks are generally comes from sale's side. I feel it is not very proper and the comments may not close to what really users' mind/thought.

So I was wondering how other UX designers do the usability testing or user research for b2b service?


  • Ben Patterson, over 5 years ago

    I work on UI/UX for an enterprise application, and I know where you are coming from. In my experience sales does provide decent feedback, but more direct feedback is super important. Consider sitting in on sales calls to figure out how sales is pitching your product and what customers are asking for.

    I think the best thing to do is to cultivate some friendly customers and sit down with them for interviews. Figure out how they are using your product, if there are any gaps, if there are several different people using it, etc. Talk to them as much as possible.

    If you can't meet with any customers, do research into the industry and find out how it works, and design your product around that role (or, more likely, roles).

    Pure UX concerns are honestly less important in enterprise software than in consumer software. It's important to design a usable product, but first and foremost the it must do something valuable for your customers.

    3 points
    • Colby GergenColby Gergen, over 5 years ago

      Agreed with the above. I'd note that it would behoove you to make friends with your top salespeople - particularly ones that get the "power users" of your product. In my experience, those salespeople are more likely to understand the value of testing/research and will know which users/customers are likely to agree to an interview, testing, etc. They can also proactively be on a lookout for opportunities to bring in product research folk.

      0 points
    • Gaël PGaël P, over 5 years ago

      One caveat though, sometimes the salespeople's clients are not the users. In that case you have to find a way to talk to actual users.

      0 points
    • NiFeng Liu, over 5 years ago

      I also agreed with your opinion. I think the opinion from sales side can help to improve the product function and point out the defect of the software. But for UX concerns, sometimes really hard to know what user would face or be frustrated with when they are using the software. So I am wondering if designer couldn't reach the user or sit down with them for interview, how designer interview them? Try to communicate with the user and use the remote desktop to observe how they use?

      0 points
  • Deb Johnson, over 5 years ago

    This is literally why I quit my job at a small startup a few months ago. I begged to talk to actual users, not just sales people who told me what users "wanted" based on feedback from sales calls with the people buying the product, not using the product. When I pointed this out and asked to talk to actual users, I was told that it "interfered with the sales cycle". As others have mentioned, there is very little concern for UX in B2B sales. In the end of the day, everything starts and ends with closing deals.

    0 points