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Best Practices of SaaS UX/UI Design

September 23, 2020
by Aspirity team
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Did you know that roughly 90% of users claim they stop using an application after having a bad experience due to poor performance? Apart from thinking about new cool features and eliminating bugs, you should consider enhancing the overall customer experience.

52,2% of online traffic is driven by mobile devices, highlighting the importance of focusing on a great SaaS app design. Despite the growing demand for explanation videos, nearly half the platforms refuse to implement video content, thus losing potential clients. Simultaneously, some growing trends are less relevant for customers, even though many websites adopt them. For example, custom illustrations have been a rapidly growing trend; however, they are yet to be called the best practice.

Achieving a well-balanced UX design for SaaS might result in a challenge: the content needs to be personalized, memorable, and eye-catching as well as minimalistic at the same time. On top of that, building a congruent interface comes with its difficulties like a clear navigation system, smooth visual representation of data, and simplistic yet comprehensible design. No matter how overwhelming it may seem, following the upcoming trends and mitigating common design issues will help you succeed in building a robust platform.


Design Issues for SaaS

Working on UI design for SaaS, the biggest issues you will face revolve around adding new features and figuring out which ones should be kept and which ones should be removed.

Firstly, consider whether these changes are going to bring value to your customers, make your content enjoyable, and not complicate the navigation. Always keep in mind the goal of your design: do the new features contribute to it?

Secondly, apart from thinking about customer experience, be sure not to overload yourself and your coworkers. Does this new addition make the management more confusing or maintenance more complex? Make sure to keep the ratio between the added value to the SaaS app UI design and its workload.

And finally, assess the feature and decide if it's necessary or if it can be replaced with a simpler one or just with an existing service.

Don't obsess about creating perfection — your solution should be workable and useful. Regardless of how perfect your SaaS-based application UX design looks like, it still might be confusing. Take a look at Calendly – a simplistic yet clear design with nothing in excess.


Examples of Best UX/UI SaaS App Design

2.1. Work on SaaS UI design

Firstly, let's try to define what is SaaS UI design and why it is so important. The goal behind creating a clear interface is to transform unstructured data into a framed intuitive dashboard user interface. The best SaaS UI design is capable of giving access to the most relevant features quickly and effortlessly. Besides that, it should provide users aesthetic pleasure and make the time spent on the app more enjoyable.
Aesthetics Before Mathematics
Keep in mind that what works mathematically, wouldn't always look good on a layout. Even if the CSS says the contrary, just try out different measurements, tweak the numbers, and see what looks good. You don't need to change the entire layout or rethink your page's structure and content, just take a look at it and try to see what you can do better and how to make your app look more enticing.

Look at Aquila project and see it for yourself: without making any structural or content changes, we made their app look substantially more modern and professional. Even a simple color palette tweak can put your work to a new level and make it look much more appealing.
Diversify Pagination
If you have several large databases with pagination on your page, you might want to diversify them. Otherwise, a customer might get confused with numbers of pages and which ones belong to which database, give up altogether and leave your application. Make your user's life easier and design different pagination layouts for different data.

Take a look at the Aquila page with two different data representations. As you can see on the "after" slide, the pagination has been altered so that customers can easily distinguish the layout and navigation.
Move the slider
Keep It Simple
SaaS application UI design is a highly complex and time-consuming process that can lead to a fairly complicated interface. It's no big secret that people don't like complicated app interfaces because they considerably increase the learning curve and require users to spend too much time figuring out the layout and finding the desired information.

Here we will discuss two examples of the best UX/UI SaaS app design.

Dropbox, as mentioned before, is one of the most significant examples of successful intuitive interface design. The key is enabling customers to figure out the layout intuitively, meaning without even thinking about it. A simple and understandable interface is when a user opens an application and knows what to do without further explanations because it's clear and logical.
Another great example is EasyDev — a ready-to-use solution to your dashboard complexity problems. Check out its templates: simple and elegant icons that help you navigate your way through the various data, different graphs and diagrams, that illustrate the app statistics and analytics.

2.2. Work on SaaS UX Design

While the importance of a clear interface seems to be self-explanatory and appreciated, the user experience is often overlooked and undervalued. Nowadays, the biggest issue is to retain users and make sure they become long-term customers. The only way to achieve this goal is to provide an amazing user experience and stand out from the competition. In the following paragraphs, you will learn more helpful tips on boosting your UX design.
Simplify the Navigation
When creating UX design for a SaaS platform, the first thing you should consider is making easy and intuitive navigation. The front page should display the most important links to the product's information, so the user will not waste time searching and doesn't have a poor experience.

Let's return to Aquila and its navigation system. Thanks to such small items like a sticky menu, your customer doesn't lose themselves on your page. Resizable columns and expandable rows let users adjust their tables, display the content in the best way, and finally, zebra stripes make a table readable.
Powerful Search
Efficient filtering options make a huge difference in the SaaS platform UX design. If you want to engage your users with your content and let them search for more on your website, you should provide the most relevant information first instead of forcing them to browse through hundreds of pages aimlessly. Ensure a well-adjusted refined search for your customers, so they will find the content they are looking for in a matter of seconds.

Check out Buzzsumo – one of the best UX design in SaaS companies that displays a perfect example of excellent implementation of a powerful search engine. First, it's displayed right in the center of the front page. Secondly, you can refine your search by content type, word count, time frame, etc. Finally, they have integrated a small guide on how to use their search mechanism most efficiently.
Easy Sign-up
We all live in a hurry these days, and we certainly do not want to waste time looking for the sign-up button. Make sure you place it right on the front page and make the process as easy as possible. Ask only the most essential information during the initial sign-up and collect other data later, when needed.

Please, take a look at Google apps, where they dedicated the entire front page for call to action to help their potential clients with a quick and simple registration.
Short Onboarding Time
Onboarding aims to help clients achieve maximum results in the shortest time possible instead of forcing them to learn all the nuances of your platform. By rewarding the client with small but easily achievable milestones, you encourage him to spend more time exploring your website and getting to know its value.

Let's look at it more closely using Twitter as an example. They investigated the retention analytics to identify the actions customers take to become loyal and continuous users of their application. The findings showed that after an account holder follows 30 people, they are likely to become active forever. Twitter used this knowledge to help new users reach this 30 followers mark by suggesting other accounts based on their interests and location. This technique has increased user experience, turned new customers into recurring ones, and reduced the onboarding time.


SaaS UX Design Trends for 2020

3.1. Minimalism

Minimalistic design continues to be one of the biggest trends in UX design. The concept of minimalism revolves around a two-color palette as well as a simplistic logo.

Check out this elegant yet simplistic design:
However, you can try out different colors and still keep it simple and bold:

3.2. Turn Your Company's Name into the Logo

Another upcoming trend is using your company's name as a part of your brand. They are also called font-based logos. Due to their simplicity and straight-forwardness, they need to be clean and memorable, which is not easy to achieve.

3.3. Value Proposition

Your goal is to convince your customers that your software is the best one and that it will provide all the solutions. That is why place the value proposition right on the page to highlight your services and immediately drag attention.

3.4. AI: Chatbots

Chatbots have already become a part of our lives: we interact with them when we use online-banking or when using Facebook services. This results in a logical prediction that by 2021, roughly 85% of customer interactions will be conducted without human involvement. This raises another concern and promotes another trend — personalization. When dealing with chatbots, people still want to be treated personally and receive individual support.

3.5. Video Tutorials

If you cannot simplify your interface due to its initial complexity, don't create long-read guides for your customers. Instead of forcing them to read a 5000-word landing page, provide a 2-minute-long video tutorial.

3.6. Soft and Simple Illustrations

Many websites are using soft illustrations for their front page to get their value proposition across. Moreover, they ease navigation and create a modern and aesthetic design.

Final Thoughts

Next to cloud SaaS UI design elements, never underestimate the importance of UX design. The balance between them is subtle and not easy to find, so it is crucial to seek professional support. Aspirity is a UX/UI development agency with vast experience and dozens of successful projects. Our experts' team will analyze your application and come up with an elegant solution that will fit your budget. On top of that, we can help you draft a prototype for your pitch to potential investors to make your idea look even more compelling. Finally, we offer a free UX/UI design review to give you an overview of what can be done to make your website more enticing and how it will affect your statistics. Partner with us to make your product perfect.
Building custom software or have existing one?

Aspirity is a NodeJs + ReactJs development agency from Siberia. We specialize in management, admin and dashboard software.

If you have a custom software project — contact us for a confidential consultation or just read more from our blog.

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