The past decade has witnessed the evolution of enterprise apps from “a computer software used to satisfy the needs of an organization rather than those of individual users” to “applications that are mission-critical to build products and services and help the employees perform their tasks better”.
SaaS products can be considered a response to these needs. First-gen SaaS products make feature-rich enterprise software accessible to large and small companies alike. And today, we have a market that is flooded with the next best SaaS product.
The thing is, while getting users to sign up for a SaaS product is easy, to keep them using the product is where things get challenging. SaaS product design has started making a shift towards creating a ‘habit-forming product experience’ so that the users who willingly sign up to use the product stay hooked on to it even after the initial honeymoon period is over. To achieve this, it becomes imperative to focus on two golden words – User Experience.
In this blog, let’s take a look at some key elements that go into designing elevated user experiences help SaaS product to leap from ‘good’ to ‘great’.
Consistent UI Elements
UI is an element that contributes to UX. Navigation is the first step in the UX journey as it is the way in which users engage with a product. Adopting user-friendly navigation that allows the user to have a conversation with the SaaS product is key. The idea thus is to employ a navigation menu that helps user sail smoothly from point A to point B using the minimal number of steps. Remember that a neglected navigation menu will lead to lower user engagement. Additionally, it’s also important to take a look at other UI elements such as buttons, text, visual elements, etc. to ensure that they function consistently across screens and devices. This builds consistency of style and contributes to building confidence in the performance.
Optimized Onboarding Experiences
Onboarding is the step to take users from being amateurs to becoming experts. Making sure that the user onboarding processes are simple, intuitive, engaging and relevant become critical contributors to a good UX. Optimized onboarding processes also play a big role in setting the expectation of the users and give them a primer of what to expect when using the product. At the end of the onboarding process, the entire product workflow should make complete sense to the user and compel them to believe that the product will help them manage/do their work better.
Good UX means providing contextual information to the user. However, the information should be provided in a manner that is not overwhelming or induces confusion. We can all agree that providing knowledge-based information or product information etc. outside of the product screen (think emails) or littering the product screen with help text makes the product less attractive. SaaS UX has to look at in-product enablement that helps in providing contextual information to the user at the right place and the right time. The idea is to move away from information bombardment and focus on enforcing a contextual help pattern in a linear manner.
Robust Support Systems
Good UX also stems from having robust support systems in place. With SaaS products, product information and education should be in-product and integrated into the core product experience. And as with everything else, help for SaaS products should be intuitive as well. So, instead of having users rely on lengthy product documentation for help, the products should have help systems that can reside comfortably within the applications, have mobile support, enable self-service, and also have an alternative support solution in the event that in-app support does not suffice.
We are in the age where business success is directly proportional to aligning business goals with customer needs. To ensure that these products remain relevant, frequent iterations and updates have become a norm in the SaaS landscape. However, when it comes to introducing updates, SaaS product companies have to ensure an optimized feature hierarchy that allows the most intuitive features to be released first. These releases should also happen within the tool so that users can discover them effortlessly rather than just depend solely on an email outreach schedule.
A great UX doesn’t necessarily mean something which looks good. The aim of UX is to enable users to perform their tasks effortlessly, save time while doing so, and allow them to achieve their goals. The UX has to be focused on the functionalities offered by the product and should honestly relay what the tool is supposed to help them accomplish. Especially with enterprise products, assessing what the user really needs, identifying where they are struggling today, and focusing on what they actually do helps in creating product functionalities that contribute to great user experiences. The focus of UX should be on increasing efficiencies, improved and faster workflows, and consequently cutting costs.
Mobility in the UX-Driven Age
The aim of any SaaS product is to create an ‘aha’ moment in the users’ life as soon as possible. The idea here is to enable the user to get to a higher state of productivity in the shortest timeframe and removing any impediments that stand in its success. SaaS products can be the enabler of such efficiencies only when they take a mobile-first approach. Great UX stems from giving the user the flexibility to access the product in a device-agnostic and secure manner. Thus, it becomes imperative to focus on mobile modifications so that the user can get an unfragmented ‘aha’ experience.
Getting contextual feedback
UX should also be optimized to gather contextual feedback that not only helps in feature development but also contributes to ensuring that the user remains engaged with the product. The contextual feedback should involve putting ‘behavior-based’ triggers that help in making feedback proactive instead of reactive. This also helps in optimizing the product experience.
Finally, UX should lend itself to continuous evaluation. This can be done using data analytics to assess how the user is engaging with the product, what are the possible pain points, where do users drop off, etc. to ensure that the needs of the user are predictively addressed. UX design today has to be clean, coherent, and uncluttered as it is the UX that will define the relationship of the user with your product.