6 Ways to Reintroduce Joy Into Your B2B Software

It’s no secret that work tech can get boring quickly. Here’s how to design products that make your users excited to accomplish their tasks.

Written by Anna Niess
Published on May. 07, 2024
6 Ways to Reintroduce Joy Into Your B2B Software
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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As a product designer for enterprise tools, I focus much of my time on building products that help our productivity. But too often in our software, what we lose along the way are the opportunities to bring joy to work.

We anticipate delightful experiences with consumer apps, like the animated heart that appears when you like a social media post or the balloons that light up your iMessage screen when sending a “happy birthday” message to a friend.

But when it comes to our workplace technology, things can get stale. This is why sprinkling surprises throughout your B2B software can have big impacts.

How to Make Your B2B Software More Engaging

  1. Facilitate playful interactions between users.
  2. Celebrate users’ accomplishments.
  3. Smooth out transitory moments.
  4. Listen to your users when they give feedback.
  5. Make it customizable.
  6. Be inclusive and accessible.

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Keep Your Software Personal

When people choose software, it’s not just about what it can do; it’s about how it makes them feel.

When we design at Slack, we infuse our design process with little bursts of joy because we believe that software should feel as personal as a handwritten note. It’s our way of reminding our users that behind every line of code, there’s a team of humans crafting the experience.

These delightful touches, combined with solid functionality, are what draw people closer, fostering trust and enhancing the overall experience. It’s a recipe for creating software that’s not just used but loved.

Create Connections With Teams

Elements of surprise and delight are a great way to create connectedness between teammates. Imagine this: A teammate just nailed a big deal, and the good vibes start rolling in on Slack. There’s a flurry of emoji cheers in the channel — from a groovy dancing Sonic to a high-fiving cat — each one a colorful high-five celebrating the win. 

“How do I smooth out this friction? How can I make completing a task more rewarding?”

It’s these moments of genuine, playful celebration that not only bring us together but also cut down on the clutter of countless “congrats!” messages. It’s about showing a slice of who we are in the digital space, making the whole experience feel more like us.

Beyond being fun, emojis are like shorthand for our digital conversations. A simple thumbs-up or a green check can say “got it” or “all good to go” without typing a word. It’s about blending a bit of lightness with functionality, keeping the wheels of work turning smoothly.

When we introduced emoji reactions back in 2015, we had no idea they’d become the digital equivalent of a nod, a wink or a pat on the back. Fast forward to today, and you’ll see these expressive little icons everywhere, from Google Docs to LinkedIn, turning everyday interactions into something a bit more special.

Foster a Better User Experience  

Building moments of delight can make even the most mundane task more fun.

Think of the simplest task, like checking off a to-do list. When you complete and check off a task in Asana, a unicorn meets you for a virtual high-five for all of your hard work. This simple detail increases a user’s sense of accomplishment and brings more gratification for checking off a task.

Combined with great usability, these unique surprises can motivate you during your workday. But it’s not as simple as covering the screen in confetti. It’s important to look at your product through the user’s point of view and find strategic ways to integrate these elements.

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Create Features That Contribute to Functionality

Building these moments of joy into products doesn’t have to require a lot of resources (it probably shouldn’t!), but it does require a thoughtful approach. It’s a balance, where the feature should contribute to functionality, not hinder it.

Find Moments of Transition

Switching between tasks and starting or stopping a project are transitions that are primed for incorporating unique interactions into a product.

When designing huddles, we recognized they were like virtual open office hours, with hosts often multitasking while waiting for participants. To keep hosts engaged and alert them to newcomers, we drew inspiration from the ambient experience of waiting on hold or in an elevator. 

Our solution? Introducing soothing jazz music that plays when a host is alone, pausing the moment someone joins. This touch is fun, yes, but it also enhances usability and efficiency, turning a simple feature into an intuitive, engaging experience.

Look for moments of transition and ask yourself, “How do I smooth out this friction? How can I make completing a task more rewarding?”

Listen to User Feedback

Striking the right balance is key. Too many playful elements can disrupt the workflow. The goal is to add value without causing distraction, particularly during work.

Innovation doesn’t always equal success. For example, we tried introducing custom sounds for sent messages during calls. Although it seemed exciting, user feedback revealed it was more disruptive than helpful. We learned to fine-tune these features to ensure they support rather than hinder the experience.

Make Customizations

In crafting fun, engaging features, we always keep in mind that everyone’s tastes are unique. Giving users the freedom to tweak settings and turn features on or off lets everyone shape their experience just the way they like it.

Empowering users to tailor software to their preferences is key. For instance, we introduced our jukebox for huddles, which allows users to make their own song selections for the huddles hold music. Plus, there’s the choice to switch off the music entirely, ensuring we cater to diverse tastes and needs.

Be a Good Host

A big part of being a product designer is being mindful of the individual needs of the people who use our products. It’s important to build experiences that bring efficiency, satisfaction and inclusivity

Be mindful of users’ particular working styles, those with specific accessibility needs and customs in different countries. It’s essential to listen to user opinions in order to find ways to integrate delight into the features they will frequently use and love.

That ear-to-the-ground mentality builds trust by showing customers their opinions are being heard and valued. When we create a pleasant experience for every kind of user, we deepen that trust and create a community of loyal users around our product.

 

The Human Behind the Code

The marriage of functionality and delight in B2B product design enhances usability and strengthens the bond between users and their tools.

By listening to user feedback and strategically incorporating moments of joy into software, designers can create an immersive experience that reflects the human behind the code, fostering a community of engaged and loyal users.

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