A Comprehensive Guide to Designing B2B Websites, Part IV
When our team first connects with a client in the business-to-business (B2B) space, we know we’re going to need a different approach than for a consumer focused project. The good news is that designing and building B2B marketing websites has been core to our business since the beginning.
In this five-part series, we review the critical elements to keep in mind to drive your B2B website project to success.
The optimal B2B creative design provides the right balance of flair, brand consistency and credibility to best tell the story and connect with the customer. Building on the work in the planning, content strategy and user-experience design phases, the visual design phase overlays the visual brand on the foundation created.
Branding is critical to any marketing effort, and even the best designers struggle to build quality on an inconsistent or underdeveloped brand. Encountering brand issues in the design phase can frustrate the team, bring progress to a standstill and force long project delays. Often, the outcome is an environment that underwhelms B2B users and doesn’t perform as well.
You need to remember that the website is a brand experience, and shouldn’t feel like a purchased template that can belong to any company.
A few of the key visual components of the brand that are important to have defined before you start designing are:
- Logo and logo usage
- Color palette
- Fonts and font styles
- Imagery and image style treatments
Too much design flair can be gimmicky and is counter to the longer term relationship building that B2B requires. Not enough can leave users feeling like the site is out of date, doesn’t stand out or is missing an important “wow” factor.
Key factors to consider in B2B visual design include the following:
- Consistent and thoughtful interactions & microinteractions
- Clear navigation and call to action
- Page load animations and transitions
- Content hierarchy and narrative
- Motion graphics and infographics
Overuse of these key factors can make a website distracting, undermine credibility, and cause user abandonment if not properly managed.
It’s not easy to get lifestyle or product photography to tell a B2B product or solution story visually, and it’s often tempting to use simple graphics or icons to convey complex textual information, which can confuse or disrupt the user experience.
Consider using the following types of images to guide, focus and reinforce your content:
- Conceptual and contextual images
- Custom illustrations
- Textural patterns
With the visual design complete, it’s time to start translating your B2B designs and concepts into code.
Learn more in Part V – Development and Build.