UI and UX for B2B is Tough

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I spend a large part of my time working on B2B Apps for my clients, the sort of Apps that manage a large amount of data. UI (User interface) and UX (User experience) for B2B Apps is tough, especially when you are primarily a developer.

The Problem

I recently needed to build a small subsystem for a client and the brief was effectively a single row on a spreadsheet with at least twenty-two columns of data. I know, helpful right?!

The brief was fine, I knew exactly what functionality the client needed, the issue was creating an easy-to-use UI that had great UX. My solution couldn’t just be a duplication of the spreadsheet on the web.

The Solution

There were a couple of obvious improvements I could make immediately. If data is duplicated among the rows, I can create a hierarchy. This reduced the “width” of the data; however, I was still left with seventeen columns of data.

I split the data a little more and managed to break it down in such a way so that the largest repeatable section was eleven columns wide, this was workable. Due to the nature of the problem, these eleven columns need to be configurable together.

Initial Feedback

I got an example page working and although there was a lot of data, I could read it. I sent it to the client to review and they were happy although they found it a little tough to parse. This is a common UI problem, especially with B2B Apps that have a lot of data. As developers, we are close to the data and can easily parse it, but we need to think about the users.


I took a step back and thought hmm, why is it difficult to read? There was visual separation between the data, but it wasn’t clear enough, I needed some colour and spacing. I alternated the colour of headings, ensuring consistency with heading types, added quite a bit more spacing and then boom, everything looked great. The client was happy

Now the UX

With the UI sorted I needed to work on the UX. The preview I showed the client was just for viewing the resulting data, we still needed all the management views and forms. For this I took the UI the client was happy with and added the relevant action controls, copy, edit, delete etc. Additionally, management pages only show a subset of the data, data that is specific to the action in question.

Still learning

As mentioned, most of the Apps I created are B2B. These Apps need to look pleasing, but the UX is far more important. I struggle with both, especially the UI. After twenty-five years creating Websites and Apps I’m still learning new tricks. One thing that I continue to overlook is spacing. You really do need to ensure there is enough spacing between sections of data, it is amazing how much difference a little space makes.

The blog post is part of a continuing series talking about a complex B2B App I created for a client. You may be interested in the previous blog post where I talk about needing to integrate with Business Central using OAuth2.