Best Practices for SaaS Product Design used in 2019
Nowadays companies of all kinds and sizes are investing time and financial resources in their Software as a Service product design. Given its advantages over on-premise software, the SaaS industry is expected to reach $157 billion in 2020 and is estimated to gain $60 billion between the years 2019 and 2023. Continuously customizing and adapting your website and mobile app according to the market’s trends and user’s needs can significantly increase the amount of audience. Even better, such an approach may become a tipping point in your business or startup development. Why? Because the thing that is highly valued by a platform user is its design.
Today I was thinking about illustrating some examples of the most successful SaaS UI/UX design practices used this year by the major companies that developed global SaaS platforms, such as Google Apps and Slack.
Let’s divide them into fixed common trends observed over the years and new trends happening in 2019.
Consider a mobile app
Mobile traffic has reached incredible extents. As remote work and running businesses from a mobile device has become a tendency, SaaS tools must adapt. In 2019, mobile devices generated 48.91 percent of global website traffic. Therefore, SaaS companies are investing in creating highly functioning mobile apps that are becoming the go-to method of their users. Similarly, making websites mobile-screen-friendly is a necessary condition for your startup’s growth.
Allow easy sing-up/sing-in
No one likes, nor has the patience to go through a lot of sign-up forms. Each additional step takes your clients away from your app. That’s why SaaS companies are simplifying the registration process to only include name and email information. Likewise, putting a CTA (call-to-action) button on the landing page and offering a free-trial has become a common trend to attract more users. An eloquent example would be Google Apps, with the whole front-page built for this purpose.
Design an intuitive navigation
One of the most important things to consider when designing SaaS products is providing users with clear navigation. This is the time when common design standards are welcomed. Users don’t like complex and confusing design, so you should ensure them with a self-explanatory and uncrowded interface, within the range they are used to. Ideally, this would mean a front page containing a dashboard with all the important links. The best way to lay such a menu bar out is a horizontal or vertical slide column, in the top part of the web page, that allows you to search for specific information. When it comes to UI/UX design, you should keep it basic. User experience, comprising both navigation and design, should be so simple, yet so effective. Apple can serve as inspiration for web design goals.
Offer customization options
When creating a SaaS application, you should think of a design tailored to address the specific needs of your end-users. For instance, according to a logo research study, 35% of people preferred text dominant and horizontal style logos for tech companies. The placement of the logo on the top left of a website, following the Z-shaped pattern of reading on the web, is a common practice, while the placement of the CTA is preferred on the right side, pushing the visitors to sign up for a free demo. Among the most used CTA are: Schedule a Demo, Get Started or Get a Free Trial/Demo.
Dark background for mobile apps
Although one of the best practices is using a light background for your site, this year, the dark-mode system running on iOS 13 has become a go-to choice of mobile devices users. It darkens the background of all the preinstalled apps to black, for more relaxing looks in the evenings, and can save battery life when using an OLED screen.
3D Custom illustrations
In 2019, the illustration design brand caught on fire. In a continuous battle of visual branding and marketing custom 3D illustrations have completely taken over the visual identities of many high-profile SaaS brands. You can spot over 40 different custom 3D illustrations on the Slack website. In 2020 we are expecting even more enthusiasm for mobile animation. Besides its rebranding concept, this is an efficient and interactive way for companies to demonstrate their products to potential users.
Rise of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
UI/UX designers are fascinated by Artificial Intelligence and are ready to bring the relationship between customers and AI to a new level of digital experience and not only. Why SaaS companies are integrating AI in UX? Well, mainly, because of its ability to customize in real-time the design according to the user’s specifications by using data analysis. For instance, a business can keep track of user behavior and offer customized tips to improve their buying experience, which eventually will lead to more sales. Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa are good proof of the innovative AI approaches to customer relationship. With the help of personal AI assistants, with a human voice, users get their hands on multiple advantages like browsing the internet, scheduling meetings, booking flights, setting alarms, listening to music. The latest examples of AI start-ups are given by Gary Marcus and Zoubin Ghahramani- co-directors of Uber’s new in-house research on artificial intelligence, the aim of which is to apply A.I. in areas like self-driving vehicles (that could make the trips that Uber does every day), along with solving other technological challenges through machine learning and Geometric Intelligence. Google, Apple, Amazon, Tesla, are all providing a highly competitive environment through their AI projects for 2019 and the years ahead.
Pay-Per-Use – an alternative payment method
Software Pay-Per-Use is one of the newest trends to enter the market based on cloud computing & SaaS (Software as a Service). In 2019, more companies adopted this payment method because of its benefits. The ability to manage per-use costs makes companies prioritize feature and service development based on the customer’s expressed needs. Therefore Pay-Per-Use provides companies with more information about how customers use and value their products, allowing them to adapt their pricing and gain more profitability.
To sum up, the SaaS product design trends of 2019 are converging on product rebranding and visual experience. In addition, designers are trying to make their applications easy to use, attractive and interactive. That’s a guaranteed way to keep your clients engaged with your services.