Effective SaaS UX Design for SaaS Platforms

Effective UX design for Saas platforms

Today’s article discusses the importance of UX and user-centric design in SaaS apps and platforms.

Like many other online-based technologies, producing software as a service has grown in popularity and shown incredible growth for over a decade, with paying customers committing to monthly subscriptions for the privilege.

Of course, design teams need to create well-designed and easy-to-use products to attract target users. However, with so much competition between SaaS companies, it isn’t just about adding new users to their monthly subscriber list but also the essential customer retention required to maintain the long-term user relationships that keep those established subscriptions rolling in.

For each SaaS application, many more are waiting in the wings to provide users with a better option if that original SaaS product stumbles, falls, or fails to meet users’ expectations. Ascendix (a proptech software developer) suggests there are currently over thirty thousand SaaS companies serving millions of customers. With so much choice and switching becoming easier, it adds even more pressure to each product’s retention team.

So, to engage users, provide appropriate customer satisfaction, increase customer acquisition, and deliver the new features existing users expect to see to keep them up to date, SaaS applications must excel to stay ahead of the field.

What makes effective design in the SaaS ecosystem?

Every SaaS platform must prioritise usability, consistency, and efficiency to deliver effective SaaS UX design. Although many operate their platforms via websites and browser windows, the SaaS apps do almost all the heavy lifting. To maintain popularity in the app market, successful SaaS companies follow best practices, delivering an intuitive interface, clear and concise instructions throughout, a straightforward onboarding process, and an app their subscribers are happy to use.

The critical component that makes the industry so competitive is, without a doubt, its UX design and delivery. Happy customers remain loyal to their brands and SaaS products, so building increased customer satisfaction means investing in a customer-centric design process and conducting UX research.

So, to get right to the heart of today’s article, what makes for good SaaS UX design?

Understanding SaaS UX Design

What is SaaS?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, SaaS, or software as a service, is:

A method of software delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via a subscription, rather than bought and installed on individual computers.

SaaS apps operate across almost every industry, including many of the household names and giants most of us use daily: Netflix, Spotify, Zoom, Gmail, Slack, Salesforce, Mailchimp, Uber, and Amazon, to name but a tiny selection. Whether they’re built to provide better communication avenues, music or TV libraries, or a collaboration platform that provides a service or boosts productivity, they all fit the brief of how a SaaS product behaves.

The key features and benefits of SaaS products are that they’re so easily accessible, easy to operate, and add value to our busy lives, whether as work tools or leisure and entertainment platforms.

Importance of UX in SaaS

As discussed, user experience is crucial in the SaaS market. All those new users aren’t worth too much if you can’t retain them. If your SaaS products don’t empower users to maximise their work output or enjoyment of life, they’ll jump ship to one that will.

Only by understanding what our target users want—and what they don’t want—can we ensure that we deliver products that improve user engagement and provide the intuitive experience they expect, but one that keeps them hooked and loyal to the service and brand. The best way to explore any customer experience is to deal directly with those customers through UX research and design delivery.

Essential Metrics for the Best SaaS UX Design

As UX researchers, data collection is crucial to our delivery model. When it comes to understanding which metrics are most essential to your SaaS product, we thought this page, The SaaS Product Metrics Pyramid, provided some great guidelines for aspiring UX designers working in this market.

  • SaaS Business Metrics
    • Conversions
    • Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)
    • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
    • Lifetime Value (LTV)
    • Churn
  • SaaS Product Metrics
    • Active users (daily, weekly, and monthly)
    • Net promoter score (NPS)
    • Usage and behavioural metrics

The page suggests focusing on what’s important and ‘trimming out the fat’. It proposes that each SaaS company pick its ‘north star’ metric, which, in turn, drives a hierarchy of crucial components and their design, ensuring we know which are the most important tasks and factors to support the main aim.

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Key Principles of SaaS UX Design


It should go without saying that ease of use has to be central to any digital or SaaS UX design. However, getting to the details we may have overlooked or haven’t noticed, those where usability testing becomes crucial to open our eyes to the pain points and ideas we might never have come up with.

Who wants to undergo a laborious and complicated registration process when a few basic details will do? You can gather more information about your users deeper into the relationship; at such early stages, ensuring user engagement is as high as possible is more important.

Another critical area of user testing for maintaining the same user engagement across all subscribers is practising and testing for accessibility considerations. Following ideal accessibility practices is crucial for delivering all-inclusive platforms.


Consistency is key. Uniform styles, systems, and operations throughout any SaaS application ensure that users don’t have to think about, explore, or learn new processes during their journeys. Consistency with the brand style, device display conventions, and universal icons keeps packages intuitive and predictable, providing great UX and ease of operation.


As with any digital product, operation efficiency is vital for user engagement and enjoyment. The best user research uncovers the pain points subscribers are most likely to experience, allowing the opportunity to rectify technical errors or poor design decisions before entering the market.


Switching between devices is a must for good SaaS UX design; different situations require different tools. For the times you need plenty of room to view important tables, graphs, and statistics, only a laptop or desktop screen will do, but for those interactions made on the fly when you only have your mobile at hand, the smart SaaS application can still perform adequately.

To accommodate this, responsive mobile tech is a must, switching styles depending on screen size. The best UX design depends on fast-loading pages and ensuring everything happens smoothly, minimising user frustrations and maximising pleasure.

User-Centred Design Process

As global UX researchers, we see how crucial it is to put users at the centre of the design process every day. We regularly preach that all customer engagement best practices should begin with user research, as any digital or SaaS products built on stakeholders’ and designers’ assumptions are built on guesswork, not data. Data-driven design in SaaS is crucial for those who want to succeed, never mind those who wish to excel.


UX research explores the key features your users want and need while highlighting the pain points they encounter through your customer journeys. They deliver the information architecture, navigation, and delivery that drive the most successful SaaS products.

Prototyping and Testing

While exploratory interviews and questionnaires with target users and competitor research help get things underway, prototyping at the MVP stage helps turn a good idea into a great product. Therefore, the product’s UX is central to rounds of usability testing.

Each round of feedback drives the updates for the next round, as iteration in UX is key to refining your SaaS products and giving yourself a competitive advantage.

Best Practices for SaaS UX Design

There are endless best practices for SaaS UX design; we feel the following are some standout areas worth highlighting.

Simplified Onboarding Experience

An intuitive onboarding process will help subscribers quickly learn about their new products in the simplest way possible. Interactive walkthroughs are an excellent way to inform users of the many features available and how they work.


Giving users what they want and need is central to good UX, so allowing them to personalise their experience adds an extra tier to user-friendly SaaS products. Using acquired data, a good service can utilise intuitive help features, automatically suggesting how unique users can utilise features to make their interactions more efficient and pleasurable.

Clear Navigation

Putting everything in order and ensuring users can find what they need without frustration is standard practice. Navigation and taxonomy need to be structured to make sense to users while also ensuring they know exactly where they are and how to get to the next product, category, or feature they need during their experience.

Visual Design

As much as the site’s mechanics are crucial to an enjoyable experience, so too are the aesthetics of each page, element, and feature. Clear, concise content and simple, strong design, using brand rules, colours, and tone, make everything a joy to look at and interact with.

Common Challenges for SaaS Companies and Their Solutions

  • Scalability – Ensuring the platform can grow with the user base.
  • Integration – Seamless integration with other tools and services, including APIs and third-party integrations.
  • Security – Designing with security in mind, balancing usability and security needs.


Adhering to the best practices of UX design is crucial to delivering effective SaaS applications. As with any digital product, the best are built on data-driven decision-making, good design, and plenty of user-centric research.

A well-defined focus on usability, consistency, and efficiency will keep you on the path to delivering products and services that engage users and keep them returning for more. With that sorted, you’ll have a far better chance of achieving the monthly recurring revenue your sales teams crave.

Our user research experts are available to help you get closer to your customers. If you would like to arrange a no obligation call, get in touch by emailing us at hello@ux247.com or share your requirement using the form below.

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