SaaS Product Design: Trends & Best Practices

SaaS Product Design: Trends & Best Practices

What is the secret to the success of large companies like Google and Twitter which have large user bases?

You could name a number of things, beginning with backend programming and ending with the platform’s very idea. However, the design that they use is often ignored.

That kinda sucks. Because:

Quality SaaS UI design is one of the most important steps in gaining an audience; in fact, it could be the turning point in your startup development.

So, how do you achieve the winning design?

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about SaaS product design so you can start working on a project that will be profitable and successful.

SaaS Overview

The Software-as-a-Service model is on the frontlines of modern software production. This is not surprising – some of its features are revolutionary for the IT industry and make it clearly superior to other delivery models:

  • Reduced computer space requirements 
  • Lower overall costs
  • Greater flexibility
  • Enhanced UX/UI due to the cloud computing method;
  • More intuitive and accessible interface.

Consider a few SaaS application examples from major corporations that have successfully implemented cloud computing.

Microsoft Office 365, for instance, goes beyond the usual Excel and Word programs. It enables users to securely communicate with other users and access and modify content in real-time from any platform and device. Google Apps, Slack, and Dropbox are just some of the many other well-known platforms.

Common SaaS Product Design Standards

SaaS application design has its own set of guidelines and standards – the things that make a website look better and more user-friendly by default.

It is not necessary to follow these rules, but I would strongly recommend that you do:

  1. Your company logo should be shown on the left side of the screen. It’s a fact that users don’t register logos if they’re on the right. While a logo can often be seen in the center of the screen, the top left corner is the best choice.
  1. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. People are increasingly moving away from computers and toward mobile devices, so having a website that works on both is important.
  1. Use a light background.  A website that is dark in color can be confusing and difficult to read. Furthermore, a light background gives the interface a welcoming and easygoing vibe.

Design Issues for SaaS Product

Design issues for SaaS products

There are specific dos and don’ts for each type of web design. The UI design for SaaS is no exception.

One of the most difficult challenges for a UI design company dealing with SaaS interface design is integrating new features and deciding which ones are worth keeping.

First and foremost, you must determine if the new feature you’re considering will improve the product’s appeal or will better target the target audience.

You most likely have a key objective in mind for your design – does the new feature add new goals or improve the ones you already have?

Secondly, you should also consider the following:

  • Is this new detail making life more difficult for you?
  • What effect does it have on management and maintenance?
  • Does it raise the price of your product?

If this is the case, you should carefully balance it out with the value it adds to the SaaS interface design.

Finally, consider whether it is completely necessary and irreplaceable.

It is probably not worth the cost or effort if you can easily replace it with another product or a simpler element. To maximize your profit, keep the steps and investment to a minimum.

SaaS Design Best Practices

We can now move on to SaaS design best practices after considering the standard procedures and problems with designing a SaaS application.

I’ve created a list of the top hacks used by the most successful businesses who have shared their experiences.

Navigation

When designing SaaS platforms, the most important step is to provide users with simple navigation and an intuitive interface.

Since you don’t have advertisements, consultants, or conferences to market your services, you’ll need a well-designed and easy-to-navigate website.

A dashboard with all the important links should be on the front page. Returning to the previous point, make sure you only have the most important features lined up there so it’s readable.

A horizontal or vertical slide column is the best way to lay out such a menu bar.

Navigation for SaaS design

Dynamic Sorting

Think about how annoying it would be if you got plenty of completely irrelevant data extracted from the website’s entire stock for any search result you requested.

The dynamic sorting function solves this problem by allowing you to refine searches so that you only get the information you need.

For users’ convenience, the search bar should be placed at the top of the page. It’s also a smart idea to add it into the previous section’s drop-down menu bar so that it doesn’t clog up the interface.

BuzzSumo is a great example of how dynamic sorting can be done. You may use their search feature to look for very specific details on social shares. You may also specify the time frame and the type of data, such as which social media it comes from, among other things.

Simple SaaS UI Design

A SaaS product’s programming is difficult and time-consuming. This can lead to a variety of problems, including inherently complex UX/UI.

Users dislike complicated and confusing designs, so this is a big risk to your website’s success.

It’s extremely difficult to create a design that is both straightforward and easy to understand while still effectively covering all  the nuances of SaaS architecture.

Dropbox is a great example of simplicity and accessibility, which is why it’s so popular.

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Easy Sign-Up

Nobody enjoys going through hundreds of  pages of sign-up sheets and forms; it takes a long time, and who has that much time and patience these days?

So, if you don’t want to scare away your clients, the fourth most critical SaaS design practice is to make the sign-up process as simple as possible.

When your customer is using your app, you will have several opportunities to learn more about them.

Start by gathering only the most basic information, such as the name and email address. Each additional step separates you from a potential client.

If you’re offering a free trial, it’ll be more complicated, but most users will expect you to request credit card information.

Try including a bold call to action on the landing page, along with visible buttons, to encourage more people to sign up. Google Apps is a perfect example of this, as they have devoted their entire front page to it.

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Product Needs to Be Personable

Users appreciate it when they feel as if the website was designed specifically for them.

Make it easy for them to contact company officials by adding an online chat window with either a human or a bot.

This will assist you in gathering ideas for improving the website. For those who prefer self-help to direct contact, a FAQ section is important.

Involve Your Customers During the Design Process

All successful businesses realize the importance of maintaining contact with their customer base.

Allow them to assist you in making your website even better – you have a number of free tools at your disposal. They will be able to participate in the development process by communicating via Twitter and Facebook, as well as by answering online surveys on social media and on the website itself.

Focus Design Time on Your App’s Most Common Features

Incorporating everything a user needs into a single platform has proven to be a huge success for Google.

They made sure their users had everything they needed on the same page, and each of their apps had the same recognizable design – minimalistic icons, easily navigable toolbars at the top of the page, and links to other useful tools.

This allowed their customers to travel around the platform with ease.

Focus on Your Target Audience

Even though your SaaS product should appeal to everyone, keep in mind who it was designed for, in the first place.

The primary goal of your landing page should be to attract a target user. By customizing the registration process to different types of users, you can easily extend the range of services you provide.

If your product is a website with educational materials for students, for example, your CTA should encourage them to sign up for free textbook access. 

The registration process, on the other hand, could branch out and provide different paths for students and teachers who want access for different reasons.

Client Support

When a client agrees to pay for a subscription after trying out the free edition of your SaaS website, they are more likely to choose to do so on their own.

Make sure they have everything they need so that they don’t have to contact customer service – create a step-by-step instruction page and make the process as simple as possible.

AsI mentioned before, a comprehensive list of FAQs should be easily visible and available.

Constantly Upgrade Your Product Design

As you gain users, your project will expand and evolve, and this will necessitate UX/UI tweaks and improvements to ensure that your website’s class corresponds to the business’s scale.

As I previously stated, social media and daily surveys can be your best friends in this regard; be responsive to users’ demands and provide them with the value they deserve.

SaaS Product Design Trends 

Trends for SaaS product design

The future has arrived – not just in technology, but also in the visual arts and web design. We’ve gathered some SaaS design inspirations and identified the most notable trends of the year:

  1. Custom illustration is moving from 2D to 3D;
  2. Logos go from quirky and styled to plainer, simpler Helvetica-style fonts;
  3. Inclusive design for users of all sorts of backgrounds;
  4. Frontpage focused on a massive call to action and free trial offers;
  5. Obvious feedback forms.

Summary: Things to Avoid in Your SaaS Product Design

Creating a SaaS product is not easy. For one thing, striking a balance between complex backend design and user interface simplicity is extremely difficult. Avoid the following when designing your SaaS product:

  1. Complex, crowded landing page;
  2. Excessive menu bar features;
  3. Hard-to-read, dark background;
  4. Long and daunting registration process;
  5. Spreading out on many different audiences rather than focusing on a single target one;
  6. Getting stuck on the old version of the website;
  7. Avoiding the mobile version of the website.

Alican Bektas

Alican is the Product Manager of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that 2000+ companies trust in their user onboarding.

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