How to Make Your SaaS App More Efficient and Easy-To-Use With Design
May 31, 2023
Developing a successful software as a service (SaaS) app requires more than just coding. You should give equal attention to its UX/UI design to make it effective yet simple.
This article overviews SaaS app design, highlighting essential design principles and our approach to creating SaaS products at Uitop.
Why SaaS apps are so popular
The SaaS model uses cloud computing to make software available to users remotely over the internet. Rather than burdening organizations with software downloads or installations, SaaS provides convenient access to essential business tools with a simple subscription. This flexible, cost-effective solution scales as needed and receives automatic updates, allowing companies to reap the benefits of software without the pitfalls of traditional licensing models. By leveraging shared cloud infrastructure, SaaS represents the future of application delivery for organizations of all sizes.
Statista estimates the SaaS market will grow to $230 billion in the next two years. These figures indicate its emergence as an essential framework for software delivery.
As an increasing number of companies embrace SaaS development, it becomes crucial to emphasize the importance of exceptional design that is not only visually appealing but also highly functional. Let’s explore why good design is so important in SaaS products.
Why SaaS application design should be convenient?
Think of a SaaS solution as a complex web of servers, databases, APIs, and UIs. In addition, SaaS solutions have complicated subscription models with varying tiers, add-ons, and customizable features. With careful attention to design, this complex network can be transformed into a clean interface with an intuitive flow.
Therefore, making sure your idea becomes a product people want and can use requires thoughtful UX/UI design. Let’s break down what matters when developing a SaaS app.
The key SaaS app design principles
With the right strategies, you can build a SaaS platform that provides an outstanding user experience. Let’s explore the primary principles critical to achieving this goal.
According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, this term refers to the quality of acting or performing consistently, meaning always doing the same thing or happening in the same manner.
Consistent UX/UI empowers users to swiftly adapt to new situations and acquire fresh knowledge without frustration. Nevertheless, design consistency is more than just aesthetics.
To achieve consistency in design, you should establish a detailed plan from the outset. Remember that following a consistent approach can prevent many issues throughout the various stages of the design process.
The clear and concise layout
Effective layout design requires the purposeful placement of each element to ensure clear and distinct functionality for the user. Products should be easy to understand and use from the first encounter.
We come across tons of content daily, but organizing it smartly is the trick to understanding this information. Take maps, for example. Their color codes distinguish various regions.
With this kind of organization, complex content becomes a lot easier to digest. Sections help us better understand and process complex information. Your app’s design layout should also adhere to a particular design hierarchy in every part of it.
A clear visual hierarchy in UI design informs, impresses, and persuades users with high expectations for the interface’s appearance. Mainly, creating a hierarchy in a design layout involves contrasting visual elements. The highest contrast elements grab the viewer’s attention first. This hierarchy helps guide the viewer’s focus and ensures information is presented in order. We can decide where to direct the viewer’s gaze.
For example, place important sections like “Dashboard” and “Settings” at the top of the menu bar. For less frequently used features, consider including them in a dropdown or secondary menu with smaller icons or text.
The clear and concise language
Ensure your SaaS solution’s language is user-friendly. Your app visitors want to easily find solutions to their problems. If your content is filled with technical jargon, it could cause frustration and drive them away.
To sidestep this pitfall, you should know your audience and share the information they need immediately. Use proper web formatting, like headers and lists, for readability. Keep it simple with short sentences and paragraphs. Be energetic and positive and avoid repetitive and too wordy text blocks. And remember that language should complement your SaaS design, not clarify it.
Visual cues are necessary to highlight areas of importance and enhance users interaction with your app. Visual cueing is powerful for our brains. We can’t catch everything we see, so a visual cue helps direct our attention.
There are two types of these clues:
Implicit cues. Users rarely pay attention to these cues, but they play an important role in their overall experience. They may involve imagery and highlighting certain elements. Increasing the amount of white space and using colors that contrast with one another can greatly improve a user’s ability to find what they’re looking for.
Explicit cues. On the other hand, the interface’s explicit cues are obvious. Explicit cues like arrows, lines, pointers, and icons show users exactly what to do next. For instance, icons symbolize various features and functions such as delete, edit, or search. The trash can denotes delete, the pencil suggests edit, and a magnifying glass signifies search.
A well-crafted SaaS app requires a combination of these cues to direct user attention toward vital interface components.
UI feedback is the response that your product’s user interface generates in relation to how users interact with it. This UI feedback serves three key purposes: responsiveness, engagement, and activity. It captures the user’s attention and can deliver a delightful experience when executed well. Also, feedback demonstrates that the system is actively responding to user input and can aid in understanding how it operates.
Microinteractions are widely used today to provide instantaneous feedback on any action. These small animations with a single purpose can transform mundane actions into unforgettable experiences. Additionally, microinteractions decrease the complexity of tasks that cause friction in the customer journey, preventing user errors and frustration that ultimately lead to a high churn rate.
For example, a text box border may turn green or red based on whether the entered email address is valid. Another example is when you hover over specific elements, like buttons or links, and they trigger subtle changes in color, size, or position that indicate they are clickable. Isn’t it more satisfying to interact with a web product that reacts to your every action?
Adaptive design adjusts the user interface to accommodate various screen sizes. Utilizing multiple fixed layouts renders the size that best fits the user’s device, ranging from phones to tablets and larger screens.
Not implementing adaptive design for your SaaS product may lead to frustrated potential customers and lower conversion rates. In addition, failing to provide a consistent user experience can create negative perceptions of your brand. Therefore, ensuring your product is easy to use on all devices to stay up-to-date with current technology trends is essential.
Testing ensures proper implementation of previously followed principles and their practical functionality in the field.
SaaS testing typically involves conducting usability tests to assess user success with a software solution. Usability testing is the process of putting a product or service through its paces with actual end users to find any usability problems and collect both qualitative and quantitative feedback. Test participants will carry out common tasks while observers take notes and gather feedback to determine participant satisfaction.
SaaS testing boasts a variety of approaches: unit testing, integration testing, load testing, stress testing, and beyond. For designers and developers, testing is essential for many reasons, such as guaranteeing quality, elevating performance, affirming reliability, instilling customer confidence, and verifying that the code operates as planned.
Adding new features and fixing bugs
Once your product is tested and ready to launch, the journey doesn’t end. SaaS companies are known for their ability to continuously update features, which is a defining characteristic of this industry. Updating features and capabilities regularly is crucial to staying ahead in the market, meeting evolving customer needs, keeping up with industry trends, and standing out from competitors.
It’s crucial to address software bugs reported by SaaS subscribers promptly. They expect a speedy resolution within hours or days.
How our Uitop agency applies SAAS design best practices
At Uitop, we firmly believe that designing with SaaS best practices in mind is the key to creating winning products. In our agency, we follow these practices.
1. Use color coding to help users find features quickly
Color coding serves as a crucial tool for distinguishing specific features and functionalities. Users can easily navigate by assigning blue to links, green to buttons, and red to draw attention to essential notifications. This system simplifies accessibility, benefiting individuals with visual impairments or those who require additional guidance.
2. Use whitespace to create a visual hierarchy and make an application easier to scan
Negative space, or whitespace, intentionally uses blank areas within a design. By incorporating strategic negative space, designers can effectively guide the viewer’s attention to the most significant aspects of the page.
When designing a SaaS application, whitespace can effectively define separate sections, including the navigation menu, content area, and footer. This division not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the app but also facilitates quick scanning, allowing users to easily locate the desired information.
3. Use icons and illustrations to convey information in a clear and concise way
We use icons and illustrations to convey information to users and improve an app’s performance. Instead of long paragraphs, we use visuals to communicate important details clearly and concisely.
Using illustrations can also enhance the detail and context of the content. When explaining a complex process or workflow to users, including a visual diagram or flowchart can improve their comprehension of each step. This approach can minimize confusion and heighten user engagement.
4. Use animation to add visual interest and make an app more attractive
Animation elements serve two purposes: adding visual appeal and highlighting key information that guides users through their tasks.
Animations are key to making your app feel polished and professional. A simple animation on a button click can offer quick feedback to users, boosting their confidence and making them feel in control.
Animation can also enhance user-app emotional connections. Playful animations make for enjoyable app experiences. Meanwhile, serious animations promote sophistication and trustworthiness in apps.
5. Use typography to create a sense of hierarchy and make the app easier to read
Creating a clear visual hierarchy for easy navigation is also vital in SaaS application design. An effective method for achieving this is employing typography strategies such as playing with font sizes, weights, and colors to differentiate headlines, subheadlines, and body text.
For instance, you might consider using a larger, bolder font for the primary heading on each page or section, giving it a clear sense of prominence. Conversely, subheadings could benefit from a smaller, lighter font to establish a hierarchy. As for the main body of the text, the aim should be readability – not too small to strain the eyes and not too large to overwhelm the space.
Design is one of the most important elements determining how users enjoy their experience with a SaaS application. By creating an attractive, easy-to-use user interface and providing helpful navigation and search features, you can ensure your customers have the best experience possible. This will stimulate customer loyalty, sustain a positive image, and allow you to stand out from competitors who have neglected design or user experience.
By having a strategic approach, utilizing appropriate resources, and partnering with a reliable UX/UI design firm, you can guarantee that your app is user-friendly enough to retain users.
Design’s role in enhancing usability and functionality is crucial. Users demand a seamless and effortless experience, and your SaaS application’s UI/UX design directly affects their ability to interact with and utilize your product. A skillfully designed app can streamline task completion, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.
Consistency in design, simple language, visual cues, regular updates and feedback, adaptive design, and thorough testing are all essential to the success of any SaaS app. Your product will be efficient and easy-to-use if you follow these guiding principles.
A consistent layout across all elements makes navigating and completing tasks easy, even with new interface elements or different design styles. You can increase satisfaction and engagement levels by reducing the mental effort required for users.
Adaptive design allows the app to adjust to various screen sizes and resolutions, which is essential since users access SaaS apps from various devices. With adaptive design, the app can automatically adjust the layout based on screen size, making it easier for users to access all features.
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