Think about all the frustrating products you’ve used at work. Expense reporting apps. Outdated CRM systems. Database management tools. In the world of B2B products, UX has historically been an afterthought.
But the status quo is changing. Enterprise UX — which refers to the design of business products — is in the middle of a renaissance. Startups like Gusto, Stripe, and Slack are setting the expectation that business products should be useful, usable, and satisfying. Even large organizations like IBM, GE, and Salesforce are positioning design as a competitive advantage and hiring thousands of designers to reshape processes and culture.
We surveyed 3,157 designers, developers, and product managers to gather insight into how business products have evolved — and where they’re headed next. What challenges do product teams face? How are teams structured? Are B2B companies really becoming more agile, or are they still chained to old processes?
Here are several key takeaways from the 2017-2018 Enterprise UX Industry Report.
UX design is still new to B2B companies
At companies with more than 500 employees, 35% of respondents reported that a full-time UX design role has existed in their company for less than three years. Across companies of all sizes, 53% of respondents reported that UX has existed for less than three years.
This shows us that UX design is still a new discipline to over ⅓ of established companies.
In any company, especially established organizations with entrenched processes and layers of management, a new discipline needs to fit into the existing culture to succeed — or the culture itself must change. And culture change is no easy endeavor.
Design consistency is the top challenge
Design doesn’t scale like engineering.
As teams grow, design processes eventually break. Unless a standard set of tools and guidelines are in place, every new designer may introduce new inconsistencies to the product — slight changes in color, typefaces, or design patterns altogether.
Add in the complexity of B2B organizations, and it’s no surprise that 59% of all respondents reported that maintaining design consistency is their biggest challenge.
To eliminate inconsistency and improve scalability, many companies are turning to design systems as a long-term solution. Popularized by enterprises like Salesforce, Microsoft, Intuit, and others, a design system prescribes standards for product development and all the design and code components required:
- Guidelines – The design principles, code conventions, and editorial guidelines
- Visual assets – Color palettes, typographic scales, grid definitions, icons, etc
- UI patterns – The design and code for repeating patterns in a product (e.g. page layouts, forms, buttons, etc)
- Governance and maintenance – Who can contribute changes to the design system and how changes get approved
Read this full article here.