Improving Wholesale B2B User Adoption - The Human Centered Design Approach

Mar 31, 2016 | Christopher Morse

Creating a solid user training plan is a significant, yet often overlooked component of implementing a new wholesale B2B system. And the lack of a pre-rollout training plan does not just mean an increased risk of scheduling conflicts and headaches. Without this planning, the risk of substantial revenue loss can be significant.

The best way we’ve found to reducing this risk involves user training that utilizes a human-centered design approach. This type of training stresses that learners respond best to information that has been tailored to their level of experience in the subject. For example, since each user of a new B2B platform will have unique objectives and use-cases, it simply doesn’t make sense to deliver a training session to everyone at once. In fact, besides taking up too much time, these types of sessions have a tendency to actually divert users’ attention away from the very features relevant to their jobs. However, when you work with the users to develop training methods tailored to their context, you save their valuable time and allow them to achieve user expertise.

In practice, accomplishing a thorough training of the platform requires dividing users into groups based on use-case. The reason for this is that it allows user to focus on relevant topics - preventing them from becoming overwhelmed with non-relevant information - while allowing them to use their shared context to enhance their understanding through shared insights.

We’ve found that this process is helped along greatly when the trainer recruits people from each use-case to participate in creating the training sessions. Here it is important to remember that trainers are essentially designers. They are designing, for unique groups of learners, methods of instruction and approaches to facilitating comprehension. And by working with the actual users, the session designer is better able to understand and meet each user group’s needs, which allows for something we call training design prototyping. This is the process by which designers create different training methods for each use case, with each method and approach being distinct according to each user context.

When the training designs are completed, trainers perform user-based training evaluations to determine the effectiveness of their designs. Each user-context is assessed according to the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction of the training design. Just as with the training solutions, there are many different methods to evaluate designs against the organizational requirements and goals. Ultimately, utilizing these methods allows the trainer to revisit any of the training designs until the objectives have been achieved.

User training is a very important part of any wholesale B2B rollout, and effectively designing and performing that training requires an intimate understanding of the user. To achieve that understanding, we use human-centered design, which ensures that we train according to user-context. We’ve found that this approach enables us to maintain the empathetic approach needed to achieve user expertise of a new platform.

Christopher Morse


Chief Experience Officer

Chris charts the path Envoy will take into the future. He works closely with Envoy customers to ensure Envoy predicts and solves the needs of the world’s leading footwear and apparel companies, and stays one step ahead of their business needs.