Sign into the solutions or platform you’re using to manage your channel program.

Okay, no, keep reading! Let’s make this a mental exercise.  

How many steps does it take to access the information you’re looking for? Double check that number. Are there multiple login pages to reach your (or your partners’) destination? If it’s too complicated, you’re losing insight and, potentially, partners, from the get-go.

So, what should you be looking for in a great user experience or UX? I’ve included several best practices to point you in the right direction.


Get to Know UX

Before I get into any of that, though, let’s take a step back. What is UX — and why does it matter so much?

UX, or user experience design, prioritizes how users interact with websites when building out both individual pages and websites as a whole. Making decisions based on what will most benefit the user encourages those users to interact more with your site than otherwise. A user-friendly experience pays off.

To be a little more channel-specific, your partner program being UX-optimized can only bring good things for you and partners. Partners get a website that is easy to navigate and use, and you get partners staying in your portal longer.


Ease of Use is Your #1 Priority

Keep in mind that login process from before. Too many steps will tear your engagement rate to shreds. On that note, too many menu options and submenus will do the same thing. Don’t overwhelm partners with options; Present a smaller complement of easy-to-understand menu items. Consolidate where you can to prevent option overload.

A clear visual hierarchy is really important as well. Obvious calls to action and backlinks will help prevent frustration in new users (ever been on a website where you had to hunt for the information you needed, or even just a download button? Don’t be that website).

We’ve followed our own advice here with ZiftONE. The top menu has minimal options, with a sidebar that pops up for further options. Even in those further options, we tried not to overwhelm with so many options people click out instead of in.


Patience Pays Off

Don’t add too many options when launching your program. The tendency to add a ton of features won’t pay off as much as a clean, easy-to-navigate UX, at least upon initial release. To start: Be lean, patient, and, most of all, consistent with what partners are going to see.

With ZiftONE, personalizing and making custom pages in your partner portal is incredibly easy. We wanted to give customers the option to create custom pages and get them up as quickly as possible. How these pages look is up to vendors, but we’d suggest an uncluttered page if you’re just getting it up and running. You can always add a little more to pages as needed, but be patient and see how partners are interacting with your web content first.


Move into Mobile

I can’t stress enough how important the mobile experience is for channel partners. It’s 2019. People aren’t working strictly at their desks. More than ever, people are accessing online features from their phones — why make it difficult for them to do so? Partners are on-the-go and scoring sales wherever they are. Make it simple for them to add updates and new leads where you can.

How can you take this and help your own program? Focus in on the areas partners access when they’re away from their desks. Updating an opportunity should take high priority over, for instance, editing an email template, which partners almost certainly do at their desktop computers.

Now that you’ve got a better grasp on the importance of UX design, what are you seeing in the systems you’re using now? What would your ideal UX look like? Have any best practices of your own to share? Leave a comment and let me know.