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The Importance of UX/UI and Graphic Design for B2B Business Modelsby@abramova
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The Importance of UX/UI and Graphic Design for B2B Business Models

by Olga AbramovaJuly 26th, 2023
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Olga Abramova is an experienced Design Lead focused on tech products. She explains why design (UX/UI and graphics) is essential for B2B (especially in the IT sector) and how it can contribute to strengthening the business's position in the market. The main conclusions are: 1. it attracts new clients and helps them choose favor of your product; 2. it helps to keep old clients; 3. It makes it easier for companies to hire highly qualified employees that help to develop the best quality product.
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My name is Olga Abramova. I am an experienced Design Lead focused on tech products. With this article, I want to explain why design (UX/UI and graphics) is essential for B2B (especially in the IT sector) and how it can contribute to strengthening the business's position in the market.


B2B and B2C: Different priorities

B2B company owners often believe design is insignificant to them. The product works, engineers create cool features, and the clients pay money. Why should they be bothered by design concerns, then? Qualitative client accounting, well-established relationships with the customers, and often distributors, exhibitions, and meet-ups with the partners are the factors that play crucial roles in B2B decision-making in contrast to B2C.


The specificity of B2B is that the customer means a person who chooses in favor of a particular product and a partner company, is not always the product's end-user, as the decision on the usage of the specific product can be made by an IT administrator, CTO, or even CEO. In the B2B framework, the decision on the choice of the product and its importance, precisely the company from which to purchase it, depends on many factors: including the budget, the existing IT infrastructure, and the narrow sphere of business needs.


Thus every party engaged is less concerned with the product's usability and the company's marketing image than in the B2C business model, where design and level of usability comfort often play a dominant role.


That is why the design does not come in the first place. However, I believe the UX/UI and graphic design in B2B are severely underestimated. For example, a study by McKinsey revealed that companies that focused on design had 32% higher revenue than the ones that didn’t.


UX/UI and Graphic Design Importance for B2B Tech Products

People use B2C technologies daily, so they have some built-in design & usability expectations. Most customers use modern smartphones with up-to-date Operating Systems and other hi-tech products and B2C programs, where usability and brand design are vital to the product. Moreover, the overall level of design and usability in the world is constantly increasing because of loads of successful IT products.


Users get used to a certain level of comfort while using a particular IT product and therefore develop expectations regarding the design and usability quality. It is also worth mentioning that millennials are becoming a group that makes business decisions not only in the B2C sector but also in B2B, and according to the research by TechSmith, visual communication plays a crucial role to them.


Below I summarized the main reasons, which shall be taken into consideration by B2B businesses concerning UX/UI and graphic design.


  1. Usability flaws are irritating. There are several reasons why there is often a lack of usability in B2B products. First of all, in the early to mid-2000s, there were fewer established standards in UX/UI, so many B2B digital products created during these years used outlandish usability design solutions that became the basement of their products. Secondly, B2B digital products are harder to update because of the deep system integrations with the clients, complicated processes of decision-making, and overall misunderstanding of the benefits of efficient design solutions and their impact on the company’s revenue. According to Forrester, every dollar spent on improving a brand’s user experience can fetch $100 in return.


    As a result, it often happens that a B2B IT product has been developed for many years and got layers of UX solutions for separate parts, but as an entire product, it loses its usability and needs to be revised.

  2. An outdated brand design can downgrade up-to-date technologies. Despite the best tech solutions offered by B2B product-led tech companies, those technologies can be perceived as outdated if the first thing the customer interacts with is an outdated company and product image. It may lead to a situation when the company loses to more modern-looking competitors if there is no critical advantage in favor of the one company. In the end, people perceive visual information easier and primarily, and the product's image should correspond to its essence.

  3. On top of this, an outdated design may be perceived as a signal that the company does not seek to embrace changes. Direct B2B competitors earn points quickly if they come with a good brand and UX/UI redesign. Working on the product's UI/UX and graphic design means that the company is alive and dynamically changing for the better; stacking its products is a successful investment of time and money.

  4. The indirect competitors are a hidden threat. Nowadays, technologies are growing rapidly. B2C companies are not a danger today, but tomorrow everything can change. We see IT startups popping up every day! Sometimes IT giants buy them to widen or strengthen their possibilities. Usually, these indirect B2C competitors and startups have good UX/UI and marketing design. So, it won't be effortless to catch up with them in a day if the design and usability were not updated to a higher level in the previous years;

  5. The price of the product should match its quality. In many cases, B2B productsare expensive, raising fair expectations among the clients regarding a certain level of design quality. The designer's job is to make the product look and feel appropriate and have superior usability.

  6. Design and usability influence the hiring process. Suppose the business seeks to achieve the top position in a specific market. In that case, an experienced designer is a must, and hiring a professional designer to join a company without good design and usability expertise is more challenging. I learned from HR specialists it will also be much easier to hire experienced engineers and developers for the company with good branding and UX/UI of the products;

  7. The industrial design of the devices and packaging is also crucial. Packaging is a handshake, it affects the first impression of the product, and industrial design plays a fundamental role in the everyday usage of the device. Nevertheless, it is not only a part of the offline customer experience. The images of the device and its packaging usually fulfill a significant percentage of a company's website and other marketing materials. Remember, people perceive visual information first, so no matter how good your marketing materials design, weak images of your product and packaging can spoil it.

Based on my experience, I want to highlight that good UX/UI and graphic design can give to a B2B business:


  • It attracts new clients and helps them choose favor of your product;
  • It helps to keep old clients.
  • It makes it easier for companies to hire highly qualified employees that help to develop the best quality product.

In conclusion, UX/UI and graphic design are essential for B2B companies and benefit this business significantly. B2B, which recognizes this aspect of its product and business development, wins in the long-term perspective.