If you are looking to get your SaaS idea out of your head and into a revenue-producing product then you need to understand the most effective way to do that. In this blog post, I’ll be taking you through the key stages of your digital product design process.
Before you start your digital product design process you’ll need this!
It’s very easy to go from the twinkle of an idea to full software ideation, but there’s a stage before you start the digital product design process that you should spend some time on.
Hiring yourself a UX designer.
The right UX designer will help you create a SaaS that your users won’t want to put down, more importantly, they can spot and rectify potential gaps in software vs. user needs, so you can level up your predicted monthly revenue (MRR).
5 steps to an effective digital product design process
Step 1: The idea and investigation phase (aka the empathy stage)
Ok, so you have your idea for the next big thing in your head. You’ve scribbled down some ideas and even drafted a potential customer journey map.
How do you know if this idea is going to resonate with your potential user?
This is where you need to put your idea in front of people and ask them what they think.
You need to establish a REAL NEED first and foremost.
Ask yourself, are you answering a burning problem they need help with?
And don’t just ask them if they’d use your software either, make sure to ask if they’d pay for it. This is important because there are some things users will pay for and some they won’t. If you can establish a product people will pay for, then you have a potential revenue stream.
Can you validate your research findings? If the answer is yes, then you get to pass to stage 2.
Read more: How to validate your digital product idea
Step 2: Research and discovery (aka the define stage)
Stage 2 of your digital design strategy has to be deep research. This is exactly where your UX designer comes in.
You’ll need to take a holistic approach to develop research data you can structure into a buyer persona and an initial user flow. This will give you all you need to understand the very basics of who you are designing for and how you want them to navigate through your software to complete the tasks that solve their problem (otherwise called “journey mapping”).
You will also need to understand buyer objections, to create a website (your sales tool) and website content around your SaaS online portal. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is important for your website’s traffic growth. In understanding who you are selling to, you can craft sales and educational content that helps potential user’s along their buyer’s journey.
You can never do too much research into possible competitors in your space either! So make sure you do plenty, to help you develop a digital product with its own USP.
With all of this in mind, it’s a great time to also start work on drafting your SaaS documentation. Before you seek investment you’ll need
- Tech specification
- Risk assessment and mitigation plan
- Digital product feature breakdown list
- Costing estimates
From here you’ll create your wireframe, which acts as a skeleton for your eventual build and will be useful in any future pitch meetings.
Step 3: Application, architecture and initial user testing (aka the ideate stage)
Before you start any SaaS build you need to work out which PaaS platform you’ll use for your software architecture. There are lots of choices out there, so take some time with your team to establish which service is the best option for you. Not just for launching, but for scaling too.
There’s a good chance your UX design team will be able to help you with all of these decisions, but just in case they can’t, let us help you – simply drop your project details into our planner below!
With your PaaS in place, you can start the initial application building process, working towards your minimal viable product (MVP).
Remember that design and user testing need to work hand-in-hand here, so make sure that you are designing, testing, tweaking and growing your product MVP all at once.
Step 4: Releasing your MVP and user testing (aka the prototype stage)
Having an MVP allows you to do two things; firstly, beta test your software and secondly, if you charge a discounted rate for the beta it will give you an income for further development.
Because your beta testers are paying for the product you’ll get real feedback about the elements they like, dislike and feel are missing. Incredibly valuable stuff, especially when you feed that back into the design and development machine!
The “earn as you learn” beta method is great for satisfying investors and showcasing initial projected revenues post-launch. More than that it means that you can stop using your initial start-up capital to develop. You’ll be better placed to make the right decisions on future investments too.
Step 5: Launch and post-launch activities (aka the test stage)
Whilst you have spent a good deal of time beta-testing, those initial steps were really just the start of your digital product design process.
Launching your product is where testing, tweaking and designing new features come into play.
You want to make sure that everything you do is about enhancing what you have and meeting those real-world expectations about solving your user’s problem.
Alongside these developments, you’ll need to continue to collect important user data and regularly check in with users to update your buyer persona.
Final thoughts on the digital product design process
I don’t think the importance of having an effective digital product design process is discussed enough, in fact, I’m sure this is why I see so many SaaS start-ups fail before they even hit the market.
I hope that in talking about this with you, you can start your process with a clearer idea of the opportunities you have to satisfy both your user and your MRR.