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UX design for SaaS

SAAS UX Design Best Practices to Maximise Engagement

SaaS, or “software as a service,” offers businesses access to cloud-hosted software on a subscription basis, following a ‘pay as you go’ model that helps optimize costs. However, the growing popularity of SaaS has also led to increased competition in the field, leading to an increased focus on user experience to remain competitive. Like computer software, SaaS programs are designed by experts, and due attention must be paid to the overall functionality, user experience (UX), and interface (UI) to create an enjoyable and productive SaaS environment.

What is a SaaS Product?

A SaaS product or application is centrally hosted by the service provider and delivered over the web. Users can gain access to SaaS applications or platforms by paying a subscription, but some of the features on a SaaS platform may be accessed for free. Design, finance, engineering, and healthcare are some industries where on-demand SaaS software is getting increasingly popular, and for a good reason. Subscribing to a SaaS platform allows businesses to skip traditional software installation, maintenance, and management hassles in favor of cloud-based applications delivered through the internet. Besides, the service provider is responsible for the security and performance of the app, and internal IT teams are left free to focus on other business aspects.

But performance is not the only aspect on which a SaaS application is judged. Yet, it’s an unfortunate fact that UI and UX design for SaaS is an afterthought.

With so much to choose from, customer experience is the most challenging battleground for SaaS apps, and improving UX design for your SaaS application can help deliver significant benefits, such as:

  • Reduce churn
  • Streamline user journeys 
  • Eliminate user frustration through easier onboarding
  • Maximize user retention, as well as referrals
  • Improve user engagement

Tips to Maximize Engagement with SaaS UX Design

Improving UX for your SaaS application has tangible benefits. Users have high standards set to the best product they are using. So, they expect each UX to align – being as easy and intuitive. Therefore, creating a unified and frictionless experience across devices and platforms is a prerequisite for success for SaaS-based apps. A frictionless digital experience is crucial than ever before, and you can only remain competitive by designing your product to naturally fit into your users’ routines and habit patterns to save them time and effort. 

This section highlights some basic yet vital aspects of UX design for SaaS to maximize user engagement and productivity.


  1. Use a Logical Layout and Easy Navigation

Easy and intuitive navigation is the hallmark of a good SaaS platform. Think like your users and consider what they’ll need first. For example, it usually helps display the most critical links right on the first page, so users don’t have to spend time searching. It’s also worth including intuitive search and filtering capabilities to make your content discoverable.

  1. Enable Fast Yet Effective Onboarding

In the era of instant gratification, nobody wants to spend time filling up multiple pages with personal information or going through unnecessary details when they can get cracking with the software immediately and learn on the go.

Two important things here:

  • Make it quick and easy for users to sign up – Displaying the sign-up button prominently on the first page and asking for only essential information during sign-up can facilitate this.
  • Make it effortless to get started – Quick onboarding with optional short explainer videos and a detailed FAQ section that may be accessed when needed can help users start immediately and learn while they use the platform.
  1. Build an Intuitive Search Functionality

A good design and an excellent copy will only take you so far. But if you want to engage users with your content, you need to provide them with the most relevant information by creating logical information architecture and providing powerful search options that eliminate the need of aimlessly scrolling through hundreds of pages.

Below, you can see the main page for Canva – a pay-as-you-go design software that implements a simple yet attractive design with a powerful search engine.

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As you can see, the search bar is prominently placed on top of the page. Before you even start typing, it gives you auto-suggestions regarding the type of content you could search for. All you have to do is scroll and click to find the template you need to get started.

I chose ‘video’ in the above section, and on the next page, I have search suggestions within the video section to help me narrow down my options further.

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  1. Include Well-Designed Dashboards for User Success

First impressions matter, and it’s worth creating a memorable one each time a user logs in to your app. So, what is the first thing you see when you log into a SaaS application? The user dashboard – right?

It should be a no-brainer to optimize the dashboard design and create a frictionless experience so users find it easier to use your app. Some of the answers SaaS users may seek from a dashboard include:

  • A to-do list
  • A link to get started with essential tasks
  • Current state or progress list
  • Last few activities and how to access them
  • Any problems or challenges to be aware of
  • FAQs/Help section
  1. Use an Interactive Design

Interaction design is an integral part of overall UX design. It defines how users will interact with the design solution and requires a thorough evaluation of user needs, technical know-how, and the experience you want the users to have.

For instance, if you encounter an app that’s just a melange of some information, you’re likely to feel confused. However, the addition of some interactive elements, like a demo product or video that highlights how the product will work, can make it much easier to get started and give you an idea of whether the product is suitable for you.

The Bottom-line

User experience (UX) is as vital to your app’s success as the content and functionality. Various surveys have indicated that poor user experience is the prime reason why users leave your app. Still, user experience for SaaS isn’t a priority for most software companies that mistakenly believe they don’t need UI/UX design. For instance, you might think that UI/UX design isn’t essential for a small project, but users will not accept low quality – irrespective of the size of your company or project. 

Conversely, some SaaS companies understand the importance of UX design for SaaS, but they believe developers can also design the app experience. However, it’s worth noting that developers are technical specialists. They are experts in creating high-performing software products, but it’s not their business to know how users discover or interact with their product. Instead, that job falls on a designer who understands the market and can create a design bridge to connect the software with the user seamlessly.

Investing some time and money to find an experienced designer can significantly improve your ROI. Rather than creating a great product that doesn’t sell or click with users, it’s worth augmenting it with an attractive, interactive, and user-friendly design. 

At Codesign, we excel in bringing your vision to life while building upon existing industry norms and best practices so that your story is unique. Yet, as part of your niche to better resonate with your audience. Contact the Codesign team for beautiful and user-friendly digital assets that sell and retain.