Brief: Process of UI design in a B2B product of a content management platform and a rough cut editor
Field: UX/UI, B2B
Role: Team of 6 | UI Designer
Timeline: Three months | 2015
I participated in the project during my first job at Sobey International Business Group (IBG). Our business group worked with SONY to explore the global media industry market. Sobey has released Omni-media solution supporting our customers from the traditional TV to all media business including new media and social media, while advancing the technology to support IT development and hybrid cloud platform. Our solution included digital non-linear editing (NLE) systems, management and distribution services, which support all phases of news workflow – from acquisition and production through to delivery and archive.
In this project, I worked in a product design team of 6 members. Our team focused on the design of a new version of a content management software, file import module, and a web-based rough cut non-linear editor (NLE).
The difficulties for me
Our clients were European TV stations and users were professionals in journalism. For me, it was a totally new industry and I wasn't familiar with the users and workflow. I was so worried about my work after the first group meeting because I barely understood any functions and user demands.
Got involved in the professional workflow
Before I started to participate in the design process, I had so many things to learn to overcome the difficulties listed above. Following the experienced product designer's suggestion, the other two new employees and I started to learn the workflow of media/news industry. We started with learning about our company's system. Then, we went to a local TV station and observed their daily workflow. Although the workflow is a little bit different between Chinese TV stations and European TV stations, the local one was still a more practical choice at that time. We also interviewed several professionals in the stations about our confusion. We also got in touch with marketing and customer service , who in charge of the European market, to collect more information.
This was a big project. I worked in a product design team of 6 members. In our team, there was a product manager, 4 product designer, and a user interface designer (myself). To ensure that the design of features was reasonable and feasible, our product team collaborated very closely with other teams and departments in the company, included a European marketing team, system development department (DEV), quality assurance (QA), system integration department (DEV), and customer service.
After several rounds of discussion with marketing, clients, and developers, we finalized the functions of the new platform. For the next stage, our main goal was to determine visual style. Then I started to design the main user interface of Content Management, File Import, and Rough Cut. I also made high-fidelity demos to present our designs to customers and co-workers from other teams.
What I learned
In this project, I only participated in the process for three months, during which we mainly focused on function design.
Designing a business-to-business product was very different from designing a business-to-customer product. From my perspective, designing a B2B product was much more complicated, especially in a totally unfamiliar industry. During the process, I noticed that stability, efficiency, reliability, and integration of the whole professional workflow were more important factors, far more important than the user experience.
Different from B2C products, which focus on usability and user experience, the cost of learning functions of B2B products can be very high. Many companies provide professional training service to their clients. Also, different from B2C products' agile development model, the process of developing a B2B product takes months and the QA stage is very important.