Will Joyner
UX Design Leader

Amazon Business Account Management

Redesign to help business customers of all sizes manage the way they run their business on Amazon

Overview

Amazon Business(AB) provides procurement needs for business customers ranging from sole proprietors to large enterprises. As AB began to grow a surge of larger customers began to join the platform. This led to the need to support more complex use cases (ie: approval workflows, policy management, system integrations) as well as accommodate larger account sizes that contained thousands of users.

Our business customers also vary in how they are organized and handle their reporting and reconciliation. Therefore, our architecture needed to be flexible enough to allow customers to set up their account in a way that is consistent to how they run their company processes. The Business Settings page was the destination to manage all of this.

Problems we wanted to address:

  • Inefficient experience to manage large numbers of users and groups

  • Non scalable experience

  • Cumbersome navigation pattern

  • Not mobile compliant

The challenge

How do we provide an elegant account management solution that meets the needs for our small businesses, and scales to provide equal value to the complex needs of our large enterprise customers?

Customer types

As the product grew we started to realize that we had 2 different types of audiences we were catering to. Within each of those audiences were various personas and segments that we identified.

Amazon Business Settings

Business owners & admins

AB customers range from sole-proprietor and mom and pop shops to large enterprises, school districts, and hospitals organizations.

I participated in numerous customer calls to gain in depth understanding of who are customers and what were their needs.

What I learned:

  • Our larger customers in most cases mirror their p-card structure with groups to help with their reporting and reconciliation needs.

  • Education customers predominantly organize their accounts with groups that represent their school system, and university departments. This allows them to set up and administer payment methods and manager approval workflows.

  • Customers regularly got lost navigating through our hierarchy

  • Companies should also be classified based on the maturity of their procurement processes.

Amazon Business Settings

Internal customers (feature teams)

While my team was responsible for the architecture of account management, they were no responsible for solving all of the business customer problems. AB account management served as the gateway for discovery of over 2 dozen feature teams.

How I worked with internal teams:

  • I served as the glue guy between my development team and the other feature teams who utilized Business Settings as a home for their feature.

  • I coordinated syncs between product teams to raise awareness of the capabilities being produced, align on timelines, and drive CX consensus.

  • It was my responsibility to ensure that the CX was in harmony across all of account management. I designed and curated universal patterns that could be leveraged across all account management pages.

Top customer pain points to address

  • Inefficient experience to manage users and groups

  • Inability to model an organization as customer requires

  • Account management CX for mobile is non-existent

  • Internal teams: Need a scalable eco-system that is maturing with new features and capabilities. Feature teams need a home for their products, with re-usable patterns to meet the growing demands from their customers, and a robust and flexible architecture that does not get in the way of them providing the right CX.

Before and after journey of a customer who is looking for a group that is nested 4 levels deep. The 'after' journey shows the flow with universal search enabled

Before and after journey of a customer who is looking for a group that is nested 4 levels deep. The 'after' journey shows the flow with universal search enabled

Inefficient experience to manage users and groups

One of the more common user flows was around people management. It was evident to me that based on the existing flows that users struggled to find groups and people within larger accounts.

The pain of not having a universal search:

  • Some accounts had several layers of hierarchy and in order to manage users and groups within those layers users had to drill down through each parent group.

  • It also required memorizing which user belonged to which group, and which group was a subgroup of which parent group. Some customers had the hierarchy of frequent groups they managed written on paper.

Our usability diminished greatly as the accounts sizes grew. I lobbied for a universal search that would provide users with a familiar method of finding objects within their account.

Amazon Business Settings

Inability to model an organization as customer requires

Due to technical limitations such as lack of paginated APIs and server-side search capability, we are relying on browser based search plugins. These limitations prevented us from supporting more than 1K users in a group, or 100 groups for a parent. Customers that have no need for groups, or want to model more than 200 child groups have to work around our limitations and lose the ability to organize based on their needs.

How do we create a quick and reliable way for customers to duplicate the existing model of their organization into their Amazon Business account?

We decided a bulk upload approach was a suitable problem for this task. We also realized early that this would be a reusable patterns for uploading address books, existing approval workflows, and any future features that needed this pattern.

  • I provided the design for a bulk upload UI that provided admins with the ability to add up to 10,000 people.

  • I provided designs for validation email of upload results, with downloadable spreadsheet that contained errors.

  • Budding pattern library starting to take root, I started capturing patterns sharing them with the other designers for feedback and began to evangelize scalable patterns that were a result of this project.

v1 Deliverables

For v1 we delivered global search and updated list page that we would use to display

Improvement highlight video

This massive project was broken up over the course of multiple epics.

As we were without a PM for the vast majority of this project, I worked with our TPM and Dev manager helped to set the vision and define the scope for each milestone.

Watch the before and after changes below...

Growing pains & v2 deliverables
Amazon Business evolving. All the new categories and their corresponding features within Business Settings

Amazon Business evolving. All the new categories and their corresponding features within Business Settings

Improving our IA

After the Business Settings phase 1 design went live, feature teams began to adopt our patterns for upcoming features. As Amazon Business matured and began to target larger customers, new features were continuously launched.

Challenge:

We needed a clear hierarchy and organization. It was also crucial for us to determine a strategy for organizing future features down the road.

Design direction:

  • Led the design direction to organize over 3 dozen features into categories.

  • Worked with marketing and our writing team to define category names

  • Established rules and tenets for organizing future features

  • Formed a governance committee to help curate and steer new features into the right categories

Final design
Governance guidelines I co-created with our PM, SDM, & UI writer

Governance guidelines I co-created with our PM, SDM, & UI writer

Governance Committee

Tenets and guidelines for how to get features into Business Settings and work with our team

Amazon Business Settings

Desktop & mobile design

I led the effort to organize all the features into categories on the Business Settings page

Conducted cart sort and user study on placement for each feature

Worked with marketing and writing team to determine category names and order of features

Led the effort to make this page and all child pages mobile responsive

Amazon Business Settings

Category pages

Introduced category landing pages that serve as a place for like settings.

Introduced active and inactive states and worked with UI writer to define descriptive language for how to use features when inactive vs summarized meta data when active.

Amazon Business Settings

Mobile updates

Design updates made all page templates responsive

Provided design specs to define breakpoint and microinteractions.

Deliver results
45%
Percentage of new users invited via bulk invite feature that I designed
130K
Number of new users that joined within 6 months of the Business Settings redesign launch.
464
Number of new multi-user accounts that launched immediately after Business settings relaunch (a new record). We attribute this to promotion of new features designed to better scale. This also included 646 new users of which 78.7% were new to Amazon
500k
Number of users a business accounts can now support. Previously accounts could only support 1000 users. I led all design efforts to better support scalable patterns within our feature pages

What I learned...

This was an exciting project and a massive undertaking that took over a year to deliver. Some of my biggest take aways were as follows:

  • Provide small value that scales. When building systems designed for large enterprise and small shops identify the capabilities that will be used by all of your users first. Make those core capabilities rock solid and figure out ways to perform those capabilities at scale.

  • Help your internal customers support your external customers. The more I met with customers, the more I heard them reference our professional services team (pro-serv). I quickly learned that our pro-serv team was responsible for setting up the majority of our larger accounts. After identifying them as our 1st internal customer we leveraged their knowledge and needs to modify our roadmap. The same was applicable to feature teams.

  • When running a shopping mall, make decisions that are in the best interest of the stores. The Business Settings landing page is like the shopping mall and the features inside of it are the stores. In order for the mall to be successful, it needs to have stores that people want to visit and use. When we made changes to patterns or page templates, we made sure that they would benefit the tenants of our mall (our features). We we provide tools that help them better support their customers we all win.

  • Predictability over consistency. Early on in this project as we were onboarding feature teams onto our platform, I felt it was crucial that teams followed our leads on patterns on components. When teams would used different patterns to solve problems that our components solved, it was discouraging. I then realized that it was better for the user to use their pattern which may require 2 clicks to do the same thing that our pattern did which required 5. Eventhough our pattern could be reused in many situations, sometimes they seemed cumbersome when they were used just for the sake of consistency. If all our UX interactions are predictable, then they become consistent by default as they are consistently predictable.