SaaS Design Best Practices to Improve Engagement

In this article, I will discuss some of the best UX design practices for SaaS. Following the tips can help improve engagement significantly.
6 min read

I believe that having an excellent SaaS product idea is not enough these days. In my experience, creating robust UX and UI strategies is arguably the best way to attract customers. Why? Because most SaaS applications are quite complex, mainly if the software serves a B2B audience.

By incorporating well-researched UX practices, I noticed significant improvements in my software's user experience, which resulted in the following things:

  • Smooth user flow
  • Diminished cognitive overload
  • A better understanding of platform functions and features
  • Reduced user frustration
  • Lesser user churn

Below, I will discuss some helpful tips and tricks that one must implement to improve customer engagement:

Make the Registration Process Simpler

The first thing that every user has to do is register with the SaaS platform. I advise ensuring that software makes an excellent first impression on them. I would also suggest developers ask for pertinent information in advance. In several cases, email-addresses are not enough for customers to enter the application.

Sure, the initial part of the registration process might be minimal, but many times, applications ask users for pertinent information. In my experience, creating a refined registration process, while also considering a call to action is the best way to proceed. It significantly improves the chances to draw users into the system quickly as long as the CTA is clear.

"Get Started" or "Start Now" buttons are handy and, most importantly, user-friendly features to invite people to check the software. These tools promote trust and inspire you to take action if you are on the fence about making a decision.

Appealing Dashboard

In most cases, SaaS platforms tend to have dashboards that provide a product overview. It is often one of the first things that you will see when they are signing into one of your accounts. Therefore, my advice would be to focus on creating an engaging dashboard. Here are some elements worth incorporating in software' s UX:

  • Providing detailed information architecture
  • Simplifying the features, allowing the users to start tasks easily
  • Telling the users about any problems or issues
  • Display past activities
  • Providing users regular updates regarding their task status

When showing the information mentioned above, I never forget the importance of simplifying the dashboard's design to help the user pay attention to what matters the most. A large number of SaaS products are quite challenging, which results in UI complexities as well. It is vital to steer clear from this pitfall.

I implore the importance of thinking designs through multiple times. Concealing technical complexities that could hinder the user's overall experience also helps. Avoiding cognitive overload has been quite fruitful in my experience as it makes sure that users can complete tasks without worrying about understanding the product and how to operate it.

Refine the Onboarding Process

SaaS applications rely on customer churn as an essential performance indicator. Subpar onboarding does nothing but cause confusion down the line and lead to membership cancellations. Therefore, I only try to dedicate my time to create a positive onboarding process, and I advise others to do the same. It creates an excellent first impression and also helps users understand features for completing various tasks.

Slack is an excellent example demonstrating the importance of blending intelligent onboarding practices to create an exceptional user experience. To start, we get easy questions to set up our team and the company's account. I always give users the choice to skip this procedure for later. I also give various options during the onboarding experience, as it will allow long-time users to start without any obstruction.

Well-Organized Information Architecture

A smooth-running navigation and information architecture are the fundamental ways through which we search for various items in software. Therefore, these elements should be minimal and intuitive. Hootsuite has a user-friendly side navigation feature that lets me expand if I get lost while exploring the app.

I believe in presenting my system in its fullest form at the beginning. It helps new users to become familiar with the necessary features to help them proceed with essential tasks. SaaS applications that utilize RBAC (role-based access control) and multiple permission levels should make navigation easier. RBAC only offers us the necessary content and navigation needed to accomplish our individual goals. For instance, an app for medical records with three basics goals:

  • Admin
  • MR coder
  • MR retrieval specialist

Each of these roles has individual goals and a user interface to accomplish them. Because MR coders do not require retrieval tools or content, hiding admin navigation, retrieval, and other similar features make sense.

Similarly, retrieval specialists do not need to associate with coder functionalities. Therefore, we should only provide their navigation and dashboard with the tools necessary for such jobs. Considering navigation manipulation, audience role, and content in this context can help us to develop a streamlined experience that boosts overall productivity.

I always consider incorporating mega menus for challenging projects. These are quite beneficial to expose tertiary and secondary navigation elements.

The functionality is also applicable for single interactions, which allows improved discoverability, especially for new users. However, we will still need to organize the navigation and implement intuitive labeling. Also, it is worth remembering that mega menus are not a suitable option to improve mobile device experiences.

Informative and Engaging Dashboards

As I mentioned earlier, the first thing that we come across in our SaaS application is its dashboard.  Therefore, we should spend a decent amount of time to make sure our dashboard's UX helps to improve ROI. A worthwhile dashboard experience will provide the following things:

  • Starting essential tasks without hassle
  • Help us create a to-do list
  • Provide updates  aboutproblems that need addressing
  • Offer pertinent information about regarding our progress

Our SaaS software must provide KPIs (key performance indicators) for maximum assistance. Klipfolio has an excellent dashboard that I recommend developers to try and emulate. It displays multiple KPIs, such as response time, load time, and social media followers. It proves that visual indicators such as charts, bars, and maps are indeed helpful for us as they simplify scanning by breaking up content.

History activity can also help us understand what we are doing on a SaaS platform. I recommend adding a chart or list that includes actionable elements, allowing us to follow up on important tasks. Once again, a well-designed dashboard is vital for our software's functionality. To-do links and other contextual links come in quite handy as they provide us with options that are relevant for present needs.

Offer Help Consistently

Intuitivesupport and help systems are vital for the success of every successful SaaSsoftware. It makes sure that we do not get left behind when using the app andcan continue working without any technical obstacles. Most of us will only opt forsoftware that will provide support to address pressing queries and questions. Let me give my two cents on howto accomplish this goal.

First of all, weshould make an easily accessible help system for our SaaS applications. In casea user requires help, we need to prepare ourselves to address some queries and frustrations.The last thing that wewant in scenarios like these is to not have any adequate solutions ready.

Instead, weshould try and create a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions andprovide detailed answers. Take Agorapulse as an example; it has an automated FAQ sectionin it that offers us instant replies for most of our queries. What's evenmore impressive about it is that the answers are quite helpful and providetechnical details as well.

Providing liveonline support is vital for users who prefer modern channels in comparison totraditional methods. Younger audiences, in particular, will appreciate onlinehelp, preferably 24/7. Also, while these support systems are essential,everything that occurs behind the scenes is vital as well. I suggest focusing on followingup on complaints, making cases, categorizing various bugs, and, mostimportantly, improving UE to prolong the life of our SaaS.

Paying Attention to What Users Want

Listening to suggestions and feedback is the only way to create successful SaaS software. More often than not, requests and demands from primary audiences can provide clear indications of what we should be doing. Let us recap this discussion by highlighting the best practices we must follow to ensure that our software's engagement increases.

  • Make our app's registration process simpler
  • Clarify our application's functionality by utilizing onboarding
  • Streamlining our software's information making it minimal andintuitive
  • Inform and engage users regarding key performance indicators withthe help of dashboards
  • Provide regular SaaS software support

It takes a considerable amount of effort and time to maintain a SaaS application successfully. In my experience, trial, error, and review are the only ways to improve user engagement in the long run. However, it is a battle worth fighting to improve the software's engagement.

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