How to design SaaS software in 6 simple steps | Strafe Creative

How to design SaaS software in 6 simple steps (2022 guide)

Closeup image of laptop with IDE on screen

Have a cool idea for a SaaS product and stuck on where to start? Maybe you are about to meet with a design team and wondering how to brief them or what to expect?

In this blog post, I’ll be covering how we design successful SaaS software at Strafe Creative in 6 simple steps…

The success of your SaaS software design will hinge on two factors: firstly, which methodology you use to ideate and create, and secondly how your UX designers approach their design. Let’s dive in…


Which approach should you take to design your SaaS product?

When you work with a team of UX designers you must have an understanding of which methodology you feel would benefit you as a client and your product as a successful SaaS.


Waterfall Methodology

Exactly as you would expect this project management methodology sees UX designers working in a logical step-by-step approach to your SaaS product. Working their way down the list of creation stages until they come to a finished product mock-up for client approval. Once approved the UX designers hand it over to the developers for the building process.

Typically if the project is quite small then this option works best. When your project is much more complicated (which most SaaS products are) you would switch to a much more agile approach.

Example of a Gantt Chart


Agile Methodology

An agile methodology means working in reiterative sprints. In each sprint, the goal is to create a minimal viable product (MVP) rather than an all-singing, all-dancing finished product. This MVP is usually a working prototype which typically starts out with limited features. The idea is that by getting working prototypes up and running, they can be tested and updated quickly.

This reiterative process gets digital products launched with their target market faster so that regular feedback from users can help improve them sprint by sprint. More than one element of the project can be worked on simultaneously by different teams in different sprints.

Whilst this approach might seem more complex, it really helps the design and development team to ideate, design and resolve issues quickly. Ultimately, it also saves time and money for the client.


Your SaaS UX design strategy in 6 simple steps

Recently I wrote an article about what digital designers do and their strategic approach to UX Design. I’m going to take snippets from that post to walk you through your UX Design strategy.

Every project starts with a brief, we call this a tech spec and it has all of the detailed requirements of the SaaS design in terms of how the digital product should work for your user and what outcomes we need them to achieve while using the design. With this, you will work through the following:

  1. Buyer persona research – This first step is crucial because it tells your design team exactly who they are designing for, what their aims are in using this product and how you can design the right product to solve these issues.
  2. Creating a user flow – The second step is about outlining the journey for the user through the software. It illustrates the outcomes of each page option, rather like a map. This is a great way to see where there might be dead-ends or obstacles along the journey path.
  3. Outlining a wireframe – A wireframe is a functional mock-up of the SaaS product. What do I mean by that? Well, it doesn’t have all of the aesthetic design in place at this stage, instead, it focuses the designers’ minds on functionality, making sure that the product tests well in answering the buyer’s needs and intent.
  4. Aesthetics – Once you have a wireframe signed off then you can bring in the aesthetics; branding pages and add personality to your design.
  5. The big client sign-off – If you work in an agile way you will find this stage of the process much easier because the client has been involved in every stage of the UX process. Unveiling your design is more “wow, that is better than I imagined” than “wow, I didn’t know what to expect…” No one likes an awkward pause!
  6. Handover to developers – Your UX design process isn’t finished just yet, the final stage is to brief your team of developers. This means creating detailed UI Kits, so coders know what to code and where to code it. A great job here means fewer headaches in the final build-out and pre-launch testing!


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