How do I design for SaaS? Tips for better SaaS design

How do I design for SaaS? Tips and advice

Imagery of IDE running on screen

Want to know how to design for SaaS effectively? Read on, because I’ve put together my best tips and advice for designing a SaaS product your users won’t want to put down!


How to design for SaaS

And create the best product for your users

The trick with any great SaaS design is not missing a step and so to make sure you are clear on what to think about and action I’ve written a guide to explain how to create a Saas product in 8 important steps. It is a simplified look at a lengthy process but is essentially my guide on how to get your idea out of your head and into the hands of your user.

I recommend taking the time to read it because I go through:

  • what to do before you invest
  • how to work through the SaaS planning stage
  • what documentation you’ll need to guide your project
  • how to consider your application design and architecture
  • who to hire to help you with your project and when
  • how to consider funding your development and using the beta test data to influence your product improvements
  • also maintenance and development ideas post-launch

This is the stage that I like to call, “getting your ducks in a row” because it gets you thinking about how to manage your app development from idea to launch.

Added to this I’m now giving you our BIGGEST tips and advice on those finer details that will help your product shine.


Tip #1: Don’t underestimate how important the SaaS onboarding process is

Your SaaS onboarding process is the first time your user will experience your product. It needs to be quick and simple to complete.

Onboarding also needs to be clever.

Take the time to incorporate some simple machine learning and gamification to engage the user and present options for immediate actions. For example, Netflix has a simple but effective approach. They take you through a 3-step signup process, where the third step asks you to pick three tv shows or movies you like from a visual list. This allows the AI to personalise your viewing options from the start, making it much more likely that you’ll dive right in and settle down for an episode or ten…


Tip #2: Introduce support features early on and make sure they work

One of the biggest turn-offs for users is not having easy access to support when they need it, and worse still is having a non-functioning support system. This can lead to bad reviews and a higher churn rate.

Slack combats this wonderfully, by introducing the “Slack bot” which assists users throughout the onboarding process and introduces them early on to the Help Centre. Filled with tutorials, articles and tips, the Help Centre also allows for personalised contact forms.

Personalisation here alleviates users’ stress and shows them that the support team cares. Nine times out of ten I guarantee this approach leads to positive interactions with your support staff and results in happy customers.


Read more: How to create a SaaS product in 8 important steps


Tip #3: Navigation needs to work and to work for everyone

Working their way around your product, users need to feel their next step is both intuitive and easy. It needs to be so simple, that your users don’t realise how complex your wireframe really is and that they can go back to the start of their session at any given moment.

Your navigation should also consider accessibility, not just across devices, but also user needs. These should cover users with permanent, semi-permanent or situational and temporary impairments.

For example, users diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to take calls to action more literally, meaning your choice of wording needs to be very clear on what the next step in a user process is. Clarity equals less confusion, equals more actions and less bounce.

A user who is colourblind will need text or button colours to be easily distinguishable, particularly where you have primary and secondary calls to action close together, or you are using coloured text on coloured buttons.

You might also consider your user demographic with accessibility in mind. For example, let’s say your SaaS is designed for new mothers. The chances are they may have their baby in their arms when they are using your app, making them situationally and temporarily impaired. If your navigation is simple enough to flow through your app with one thumb then your app will be an app that’s used and not deleted.


Tip #4: Remember gamification is king

There are lots of features you can create to gamify your SaaS product design, from user-earned badges at mile-stone intervals to choose-your-own-adventure style educational videos. They can be as complex or as simple as you want to build them, but build them you must.


Because gamification can increase staff engagement by 48% according to, which in turn increases productivity within the app and employee education.

Game elements can also have direct and positive effects on users’ engagement within eCommerce, according to a 2021 study*, increasing loyalty, average purchase amounts and buyer retention.

You will even see gamification in the health industry driving user acquisitions and an increase in retention and loyalty. Weight Watchers (now known as WW) use gamification in their SaaS app, seen as features like reward points and personalised end-of-year progress videos.

Thinking about how you keep your user engaged is the key to increasing your monthly revenue.


Ultimately great SaaS products are about great experiences

A great user experience combined with an effortless interface that includes gamification makes for a product the user won’t put down. In other words, you’ll have an app that users are happy to log into daily and even pay for, plus more importantly, they’ll recommend it to their friends.

So when you are planning the initial design of your app, think:

  1. Simple onboarding with machine learning
  2. Easy-to-use and comprehensive support features
  3. Intuitive and accessible navigation
  4. Gamification features


Need some help making all that happen? Add your project outline to our Planner below and we will be in touch to show you how we can help make your SaaS product a revenue-making reality.


*Does gamification engage users in online shopping? Study by By Alejandro García-Juradoa, Mercedes Torres-Jiménez, Antonio L. Leal-Rodríguez and Pilar Castro-Gonzálezd. Data collected from Spanish Amazon users

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