How to Improve SaaS UX Design? Examples and Best Practices
What does SaaS UX design mean, and why is it important? Learn how to improve the design of your SaaS products, applications, and platforms.
Written by RamotionJun 7, 202211 min read
Last updated: Aug 22, 2023
The modern problems of a highly-connected world have resulted in modern solutions. One such leap is the creation and adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS) products and applications. Leading organizations all around the world have subscriptions to various tools and platforms that can make their tasks easier. These include managing relationships with the customers, internal communication and administration, tracking the progress of projects, and a lot more. Almost all these services fall under the definition of SaaS.
The audience of SaaS, therefore, is particular about efficiency and would want solutions that are useful, usable, and also valuable to their organizations. The design of SaaS applications, like any other product or service, requires that the target audience be prioritized and their needs take center stage in the design process. The new products, and even the new features of existing products, must be created with a user-centered approach. Since modern users expect SaaS solutions to make their lives easier, it is essential for such applications to deliver, or the users may shift to other alternatives.
This is why UX design for SaaS is critical. In this article, we introduce the concept of UX design in SaaS, highlighting the importance of user experience design for any SaaS company. We also share a list of best practices that can serve as a checklist for your future projects on the design of SaaS applications.
Read along as we enter the complicated world of SaaS and try to conquer it using good UX design principles.
SaaS in UX design
From the perspective of UI/UX design, working on SaaS software can be complicated. On the one hand, the traditional considerations of design need to be taken into account. On the other hand, designing a SaaS product or service also requires some understanding of enterprise UX design, as these products are primarily used by big and small companies.
What is SaaS in UX design?
UI/UX design is critical to the success of any SaaS application. From registration and onboarding to ease of use in performing all the tasks, SaaS UX design covers all the user touchpoints. It is essential for designers to focus on the design of SaaS applications to ensure better usability.
When working on the design of SaaS applications, UI/UX designers need to be mindful of the entire user journey and also ensure that the overall goals and values of the target audience — organizations in this case — are not compromised. This means that when designing the UX design strategy for SaaS, these important factors must be kept in mind.
Looking at the structure of any SaaS solution, it can be seen that such solutions themselves are highly complicated. The target audience may not be highly technical so as to understand all the backend processes. This is why good design practices are essential for the success of any SaaS application. The overlap of UI/UX design with SaaS development ensures that all the needs of the target audience are kept in mind throughout the process. This means that the products thus created are truly helpful for the users, helping the organization as well as the customers.
A SaaS product or service created with a user-centered approach will not only increase customer satisfaction but also help in the conversion of leads. Loyal users, better reviews, and a wide customer base is something that all businesses long for. If you’re running a SaaS business, now is the time to focus on better design practices, so you can reap these benefits.
Importance of creating a good SaaS UX design
Just like any other business, some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) for any SaaS business include the level of customer engagement, user satisfaction, and conversion rate. When it comes to digital products, it is impossible to improve these KPIs in the absence of good design practices. When dealing with the design of SaaS software and solutions, it is important for designers to choose an appropriate UX design framework, devise a strong strategy, conduct user research, and stick to the basic principles of design, to achieve desirable results
Following good design practices for SaaS applications can prove to be extremely helpful, both in the short and long term. Some of the ways in which UX design can add value to SaaS are as follows.
Increased customer engagement
One of the most important benefits of UX design in SaaS development is that it promises increased customer engagement. When the audience is presented with a simple user interface, one that is not difficult to navigate, they are more likely to perform their tasks efficiently. In workspaces, where the users generally have to use a certain platform for longer hours, it is essential that the design be aesthetically pleasing, interactive, and responsive so that the customers do not get frustrated. This is what good design principles bring to SaaS applications.
Simplified user journey
It is also crucial to consider that a SaaS product cannot be created with one particular organization or audience group in mind. The functionality of such a tool or software should be scalable as well as adaptable for different types of organizations. This is where the important rule of mapping the user journey from UX design comes in handy. Incorporating the principles of design in the development of a SaaS application ensures that all the user journeys are considered throughout the process. This then helps in simplifying these journeys, highlighting the major touchpoints of the users, thus meeting their major needs at all times.
Better return on investment (ROI)
Good design of any product or service ensures better usability. This, in turn, helps in increasing customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are not only loyal to the product or service but also help in its promotion, thus bringing more business. In other words, the good design of any SaaS application can result in an increase in the ROI, proving the worth of UI/UX.
Best practices to improve SaaS UI/UX design
The design of a SaaS application can seem complicated at first. However, the SaaS UX process is not as daunting as it appears. Just like any UX design process, certain guidelines and tips prove extremely helpful. Based on the common practices in some of the leading designs, a list of SaaS UX best practices is presented below. These practices simplify the design process and ensure better end results.
What are the best practices to improve SaaS UI/UX design?
Here are some best practices that can help you improve SaaS UX design:
- Keep it simple
- Design for all platforms and devices
- Ensure easy registration
- Improve the onboarding experience
- Create a better information architecture
- Provide an efficient search tool
- Give access to support
As a UI/UX designer, you can use these best practices as a checklist to add value to your future projects.
1. Keep it simple
SaaS applications are quite complicated themselves. One of the most important jobs of a UX designer is to simplify the user interface and experience as much as possible. This does not mean that the key features are compromised but that the interaction of users is given more attention. Creating a familiar experience with the help of easy-to-use buttons, gestures, and text or media content helps in making things simple and clear.
2. Design for all platforms and devices
Another important aspect to consider when working on SaaS UX design is of the application’s adaptability and flexibility. Since a SaaS application is to be used by multiple organizations for various purposes, it is critical that the design is not restricted to a single platform or device. If, for example, an application is only designed for iOS devices, it leaves a big section of the potential audience out of the design. This can be detrimental to the overall performance of the SaaS application.
3. Ensure easy registration
For the users, registering for a new service is almost always a frustrating experience. This is where the users have to provide a lot of information and spend at least a few minutes with the user interface without actually enjoying the services. It is essential for SaaS applications to have a simple and easy registration process, so the users can get it done in little time with lesser effort.
4. Improve the onboarding experience
Learning a tool can always be overwhelming for new users. This fact stays the same for SaaS applications. Therefore, along with an easy registration process, it is also important for designers to create a simple and useful onboarding experience. This means that similar to the registration process, onboarding should not take a long time. Additionally, the overall idea is to educate the new users so they can interact with the SaaS software in a way that can be the most beneficial.
5. Create a better information architecture
When creating any tool for the digital environment, good information architecture (IA) is always essential for its success. SaaS applications can benefit a lot with the improvement of their IA, as this can help users navigate with ease and find the right content with little effort. Even a well-designed tool with numerous unique features can fail if the users are not able to find all the information they need.
6. Provide an efficient search tool
Given that SaaS applications have a lot to offer, it is not unexpected that the users will get lost in the information and feel overwhelmed. This is where the power of a search tool can come in handy. UI/UX designers should make sure that a search tool or feature is always included in the design of a SaaS product or service. Additionally, they should also ensure that this tool is powerful enough to cover all the bases and provide answers to almost all the queries of the audience.
7. Give access to support
One of the defining features of a successful SaaS product is the availability and efficiency of its customer support. Although designers cannot do much to improve the performance of the support department, they can ensure that access to customer support is made an integral part of SaaS UX design. This will provide the users with a way to reach out for help and get their questions answered while using the tool instead of using other search engines and third-party resources.
Examples of great UI SaaS design
There are several great examples of SaaS UX design that can be used as inspiration. These best SaaS UX design approaches follow the practices listed above. When observed closely, it is not difficult to observe SaaS UX design patterns in these examples.
What are some examples of good SaaS UX design?
Following are some of the best SaaS UX design examples:
- Jotform’s simplicity
- Slack’s onboarding
- HubSpot’s information architecture
- Jira’s dashboard
- Canva’s overall web presence
1. Jotform’s simplicity
Jotform is one of the simplest SaaS applications to use. There are a number of templates on offer and the users can tweak them as needed without spending a lot of time learning any complicated processes.
2. Slack’s onboarding
Slack is best known for its onboarding process, which appears to be quite personalized. When using Slack for the first time, the users actually get a good taste of the application’s UI. This makes the process interesting and engaging at the same time.
3. HubSpot’s information architecture
HubSpot is one of the most widely used SaaS platforms in the digital age. One unique feature of HubSpot that makes it successful is its information architecture. It is extremely easy to navigate the platform, and the content is so efficiently organized that the users can perform their tasks without getting overwhelmed.
4. Jira’s dashboard
Jira is another excellent example of a good SaaS UX design. Taking the efficiency in information architecture to a whole new level, Jira’s dashboard gives a lot of control to the users but also ensures that the overall picture does not frustrate them.
5. Canva’s overall web presence
Canva is one of the most popular modern design platforms. The overall web presence of Canva, from its website to social media, helps this tool stand out in the market. Using the best practices of SaaS UX design, this tool prioritizes the needs of the users, thus adding value to their overall experience.
The design of SaaS applications is one of the tasks that modern UI/UX designers may come across in one way or another. The best way to be prepared for such projects is to know how SaaS UX differs from any other type of design, such as customer-facing products or services and enterprise UX. Although the general principles stay the same, there are some subtle differences that can impact the design process and the products created as a result.
The examples and best practices listed in this article can help you get started with the design of SaaS applications. These guidelines can be altered based on the needs of the users, the nature of the service, and the goals of the organization. Once you understand the principles of SaaS UX design, you can add more exciting projects to your portfolio, establishing your career as a UX designer.