UX critique



Apptio.com is a B2B service designed to help CIOs streamline their operations. I have critically evaluated their homepage from a perspective of UX and branding, assuming that the goal of the homepage is to convince a prospective client to sign up.
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thought process

Before I even looked at the homepage, I started collecting data and came up with assumptions to build my feedback on.

B2B assumptions
  1. B2B sales cycle is 4 months
  2. Most of the conversions happen when a new fiscal year starts, and so in-depth research starts 4 months before that
  3. During the year there are waves of lighter research, focused more on getting a problem shaped
  4. B2B customers are information consumers, they are making rational decisions rather than emotional ones
CIO assumptions
  1. Most of the information input/output happens in the first half of the day
  2. Most of the decisions take place at the office, after lunchtime
  3. CIOs are information consumers. As a matter of fact, Youtube videos turned out to have the highest growth rate in the B2B information channels. More interestingly, videos about product features ranked number 1, “How-to use product” videos ranked number 2, and videos with reviews ranked number 3.

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B2B sales journey

Let’s look at the journey of the CIO: let’s say he/she heard about Apptio solutions during a breakfast meeting. He/she pulled out their smartphone, made a note, or even paid a short visit to apptio.com. After that, I think, he would be spending chunks of time when it’s convenient to pull out his phone and dig a little deeper.

He would go to the desktop version later to compare features, check for competing products, and learn about pricing options.

So, to give definition to the CIOs journey throughout the sales cycle, we will break down the process into 3 stages:
  1. awareness
  2. evaluation
  3. decision
(continue reading below)
  • Team: Meri Harutyunyan
  • Functions: UX feedback
  • Delivered: 2016
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(1) Awareness starts from the time when the CIO is away from a desktop computer. At that point, his triggers are curiosity and economy. Thus, at that point we should answer “What” and “How much…” questions. Most of these interactions happen during business trips and business-social meetings.

At the stage of (2) Evaluation a CIO wants to learn about specific features of products, and he's also interested in benefits, white papers and case studies, videos talking about features, reviews, and so on. At this time, the interaction is multi-channeled: mobile, tablet and desktop. The CIO is also looking into competing products and making comparisons.

(3) Decision: time for desktop comes later in the journey. That’s the time when the CIO is either converting, or needs a little more encouragement. And that’s the time when we are giving him an opportunity to convert and giving ourselves a second chance. That means make them engaged more by answering FAQs, sharing success stories, showing mini-problems with ways out, showing support by “how-to” videos, etc.

That said, I don’t want to discount the possibility of converting on smartphones. The trend is definitely there and rising quickly, but today’s research shows that most of the B2B purchases on smartphones fall in the range of up to $5,000. Highre-dollar transactions tend to happen on desktop computers.


Everything above translates to the need of having different content strategies and information architecture for desktop and mobile versions. At this time, the mobile version of Apptio.com is an exact replica of the desktop version.

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