A Step-by-Step Guide to SaaS Design Process

11minutes read
how to design a saas product

A high-quality SaaS product design can ensure a seamless user experience. With the growing demand for cloud-based software solutions, businesses are increasingly looking to develop and launch their SaaS products. SaaS is considered the most important technology in business success and 99% of organizations use at least one SaaS solution. However, designing a successful SaaS platform can be a complex process that requires a deep understanding of the target audience, competitive landscape, and industry trends. Today we’ll discuss the critical steps of designing SaaS software. Businesses can create a SaaS platform that generates revenue and drives growth by following them. Keep reading!

What is SaaS Product Design?

SaaS product design is the process of developing a user-friendly platform. It includes a range of disciplines, including UI design, UX design, information architecture, and product development. The design process must consider the needs of the target audience and the capabilities and limitations of the technology used to develop the product. SaaS platforms allow collecting analytics on how users interact with the service within the platform. Ensure the product has a responsive layout that can adjust to different screen sizes and resolutions, making the platform accessible and functional on every device.

SaaS platform design benefits
benefits of saas design

The ultimate goal of SaaS design is to create an intuitive platform that provides value and is easy to use. By including user feedback and continually refining the product over time, businesses can create a SaaS product that meets the needs of their customers and drives business success. Keep in mind the benefits when designing your SaaS product:

  • Scalability. SaaS products typically use cloud infrastructure, which is elastic and scalable. As a result, SaaS platforms can accommodate a growing user base and handle increased demand without requiring significant infrastructure changes. In addition, SaaS products often use automated processes, such as automatic backups and updates, reducing the need for manual intervention and increasing scalability. 
  • Flexibility. SaaS software is easily customizable, having features and settings that can be adjusted to meet the specific needs of each user or organization. These products often integrate with other applications or platforms, allowing users to access and share data across multiple systems. SaaS products may offer APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) allowing developers to extend the platform’s functionality.
  • Security. SaaS products provide robust security features, including data encryption, regular backups, and multi-factor authentication to protect sensitive data. Businesses can ensure their products protect valuable information and meet established security requirements by designing with security in mind. It not only improves customer trust and confidence in the product but also helps businesses avoid costly security accidents.
  • Easy updates. SaaS applications are updating seamlessly, with new features and functionality added to improve the user experience regularly. They use version control mechanisms to ensure that updates are tracked and managed effectively, allowing users to roll back to previous versions if needed. Think through how to communicate with users about upcoming updates, providing information about new features and functionality, and any changes that may impact the user experience when designing.

Common SaaS Platform Design Mistakes

How to create a functional, user-centered, and understandable design? Look at the typical mistakes and try to avoid them.

saas platform design mistakes
saas design mistakes

Not prioritizing your end-users

Designing a SaaS product without prioritizing your target audience can lead to many issues resulting in product failure. You may end up designing a product that is difficult to use or understand, leading to frustration and low adoption rates. Not fitting your end-users' requirements can result in a lack of product-market fit, which means your product may not be able to compete in the market or generate the revenue you hoped for.

Poor onboarding process

The onboarding process is detrimental to the SaaS product’s success. It sets the tone for users’ future dedication to the product. If they don't understand how to use your platform, they are less likely to adopt it, resulting in low adoption rates and high churn rates. For many businesses, the onboarding process is a second thought rather than a carefully curated design element. 

To avoid these issues, keep the onboarding process as straightforward as possible. Show users the product’s value and explain how it can solve their problems or improve their workflow. 

Not focusing on functionality

Functionality is the basis of a successful SaaS platform. Visually pleasing design is influential, but usability means more. A user-friendly product combines aesthetics and functionality, mixing into an outstanding product. Besides, this aspect can bring you more issues. For example, if the product needs a redesign due to poor functionality, it can be costly and time-consuming to make the necessary changes. Consider this aspect when designing SaaS. 

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How to Design SaaS Software?

The SaaS software design process requires careful planning, research, and execution. Here are some fundamental steps to follow when designing a SaaS product.

saas product design process
how to design saas software?

Step 1. Conduct market research 

Market research is the first step in SaaS product design development. Let’s overlook some stages of it.

  1. Define your target audience. You need to know who you are creating for. Knowing your customers is a great way to develop an outstanding product that meets users’ necessities. Create user personas to facilitate this process. This is how you get to know the needs of your conditionally ideal client and may see potential design pain points.
  2. Analyze your competitors. Understanding your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is a critical step. Gathering this information will assist you in developing a distinct platform. Examine their flaws and try to avoid them in your SaaS design. As a result, you’ll create a product that meets the needs of its target market and stand out in a crowded market.
  3. Determine pricing strategy. It’s balancing offering a competitive price that attracts customers and ensuring that the business generates enough revenue to cover costs and achieve profitability. Here, it’s necessary to understand the product value proposition and how it addresses the target audience's requirements. 

Step 2. Define product requirements

Specifying product requirements is vital to ensure the final product is user-friendly. Let’s take a closer look at these process components and how they contribute to the product’s success.

define product requirements
defining product requirements process
  1. Create a list of product features. Firstly, you need to see the elements that build your SaaS product. These features play a crucial role in determining the product value proposition and its success in the market. Your SaaS platform design can fulfill customers’ desires by identifying all the features.
  2. Prioritize features based on users' needs. The SaaS product design development process will go faster when you clearly understand your users’ requirements. The functions should be arranged by their importance to the target audience and the implementation complexity, resulting in a positive user experience. It helps increase user adoption and engagement, improve customer loyalty, and drive business growth.
  3. Create a product development roadmap. Roadmaps are essential for strategy and planning, allowing product owners to align their efforts and make informed decisions about resource allocation and timelines. A well-designed product roadmap helps teams stay focused throughout the development process. This tool typically includes product visions and goals, feature roadmap, possible challenges, metrics, and success criteria.

Take a look at the mobile design services Gapsy offers.

Step 3. Designing the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX)

SaaS software design significantly impacts the product’s success. User-friendly and aesthetically pleasing UX attracts new users and helps them interact with your product intuitively. Let’s look at more reasons why high-quality UX/UI design is essential for your SaaS product:

  • Enhances user satisfaction,
  • Increases user adoption,
  • Improves retention,
  • Drives revenue growth.

Balancing functionality, performance, and value may appear hard, but it’s the key to giving users a desirable product.

Have a look at the SaaS product design Gapsy Studio created:

saas product design example
gapsy’s bookitbe saas case

After creating the product development roadmaps, you can start developing wireframes and prototypes. Their development process is crucial, as you can detect design flaws early. Wireframes and prototypes help communicate design ideas and functionality to stakeholders and development teams more clearly, reducing misunderstandings.  

Prototypes allow designers to test the product with users and gather feedback on the UX design. It helps to identify pain points and areas for improvement and leads to a better user experience. 

You may be interested in the Difference Between UI and UX.

Step 4. Develop the MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

A minimum viable product (MVP) in SaaS is an early version of a product, containing only the core features while offering enough value to the customers. Developing an MVP helps with a rapid product launch, concept model, idea validation, and primary cost reduction.

mvp development tips
how to develop mvp?

When creating an MVP for a SaaS software design, you must help your users solve the main problems. Here are some tips that may help you make the design process easier:

  • Identify the core features. Select the vital components your MVP must contain to solve your target audience's issues. Prioritize these elements and make sure they are easy to use and understand.
  • Keep it simple. Such a complex product should be easy to navigate. Otherwise, users will need clarification, leading to more usability problems. Avoid adding too many features in your MVP to keep users focused on the main point. 
  • Offer product value. Even retaining only the key features, the MVP should demonstrate to customers why they should choose your product over competitors. Offer users authentic features based on the previous competitors’ research. It increases the product’s value for users.

The next crucial step in MVP development is choosing the right tech stack and framework development. When selected correctly, these components help you build a reliable and scalable product that can grow with your business. They affect both the development process and the product's performance. Your choice of tech stack and framework development influences many product capabilities, such as cost efficiency, maintainability, project longevity, etc. Make sure you use the best technologies for product development. 

You can start building and testing your MVP. Focus on maintaining simplicity and prioritizing main SaaS features.  

Check the UX/UI design services we provide.

Step 5. Launch and market the product

A successful SaaS product launch increases brand recognition, customer acquisition, and revenue generation. A product launch requires several critical steps to ensure the platform is ready for release and will be well received by its target audience.

product launching and marketing
how to launch and market the product?
  1. Optimize user onboarding. A smooth onboarding process is crucial for retaining and encouraging customers to use your product regularly. Ensure your onboarding is easy to follow and provides clear instructions on using your software. Your SaaS platform design can be a game-changer for an onboarding process and a final product impression. 
  2. Conduct user testing. It’s an essential product development step that allows you to identify usability issues and make necessary changes before launch. Businesses can recruit test participants through a variety of methods, such as social media, email lists, or paid participant recruitment services. It's crucial to recruit users who represent the target audience and who weren’t involved in the product's development.
  3. Establish a pricing model. Carefully consider the product pricing model and ensure it provides value to your customers and aligns with the target audience. Remember about a price-quality ratio. Research the market and understand what pricing models your competitors use and what customers are willing to pay for similar products. Additionally, the product value proposition should be clearly defined, highlighting what makes it unique.
  4. Develop a marketing strategy. A comprehensive marketing approach puts you in a profitable position and attracts more potential customers. Establish your brand identity to stand out from the crowd. Brand consistency is one of the steps to your success, so always stick to this rule. Don’t forget about promoting the product on social media, using paid advertisement, and content marketing. A high-quality SaaS design undoubtedly helps your marketing strategy. 
  5. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs). Setting up the product KPIs helps you to measure its success after the launch. Define the specific and time-bound goals you want to achieve and identify the metrics that you’ll use to measure progress. KPIs give a holistic view of the performance of the functions in your product. In such a manner, you can analyze all the metrics after the platform’s release.

Read our article on SaaS Customer Onboarding.

Step 6. Gather feedback and iterate

Customer feedback gives you an insight into users' satisfaction levels. It’s an essential metric as it allows you to address customer concerns, prevent churn, and build a loyal customer base. Feedback helps you to know if your users are happy with the platform. 

Analyzing feedback is a great way to improve your services. You can conduct user interviews or surveys for a clearer picture of what to optimize in your software. Communication can help you prevent existing and possible flaws, so pay attention to this SaaS product design step. 

Now you can start incorporating changes into future development. Besides, an optimized version gives you positive reviews and can attract new users based on this. 

Read also: How to Create SaaS UX Design.

To Sum Up

The SaaS software design process is time-consuming, but the result is highly beneficial. Designing a successful SaaS product requires a deep understanding of the target audience, a focus on usability and user experience, and a commitment to continuous improvement based on user feedback. A well-designed SaaS product can help businesses gain a competitive market advantage. 

Gapsy Studio is looking forward to working on your SaaS platform design! Our professional commitment will help you to create a winning product. Let’s discuss your project’s peculiarities and develop outstanding SaaS software together!

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