The UI problem for many SaaS companies

How do you improve your UI if you don’t have a talented design team?

This can be a big challenge because, UI is a skilled task that takes years of learning and experience to become really good at. You may lack the resource or skills in your team but still need to improve the quality of your UI. Perhaps it’s never really been polished? Or Perhaps it’s gotten a little tired or dated. Or over time, with new added features, the look and feel has become a little inconsistent.

There’s actually quite a bit you can do without a design team. Just think of the opportunity.

‘UI is the Product’

Improving UI makes a huge impact on your business. A lot of your prospects see the UI as the product. The higher quality your UI, the better your ability to communicate the value of your product. It also enhances the quality of your marketing imagery and your ability to enable your prospect to see themselves succeeding using your product.

The Opportunity in a new interface

Let me give you an example, a few years ago I worked with a SaaS company on a big project to redesigning their interface. Once we’re really improved the UI, the sales and marketing team team were impressed, they asked for these design assets to be put into all their sales presentations. I few weeks later I had a meeting with the founder who told me that in large part thanks to the new UI, they had won an enterprise account with a new customer worth $500k. Of course a lot of other factors go into a sales transaction of that scale but the new efforts in the product and energy and enthusiasm with the sales team made a huge impact.

How to create an exceptional UI

I’ve worked on hundreds of design sprints and for software UI I’ve observed 6 things we do in normally every project that makes the biggest impact on our best designs.

Define – Take the time to outline your goals and objectives. You can use google’s OKR framework for this. Know what you want to achieve before you start and then plan the process for achieving that. Include timescales, resource and cost and factor in a little more for the unexpected.

Organise – Often when you get started you quickly realise that your proSemantic should be logical – grouping functionality in a logical and organised manner.  Sketch. Wireframes and wireflows – A common omission from software is the completed journey with the correct responses for users along the journey. This is one of the biggest.

Simplify – Extract unnecessary content, functionality. Omit. Eliminate. Simplify. Reduce, innovate, rearrange – remove Cognitive load by simplifying what your user has to do and think about. Take in the big picture, then remove what you can afford to remove.

Unify – Make everything consistent – Colours, fonts, styling, interactions and grid layout.  Consistency – make sure you use the same visual language all over your application. Icons, colour scheme, fonts and interactions. Grid Layout – Have a consistent layout or framework that you use. For development purposes you can use bootstrap framework.

Interact – Better messaging Messaging needs improving. Notifications, massages and responses.

Finesse – Add beautiful design, UI, colours, icons, gradients, shadows.

Using Frameworks & UI Guidelines

Material design unifies the users experience across platforms and devices. So a solid framework means a consistent experience, logical grouping of functionality that makes applications intuitive to use, and designing with tiles and cards to aid this method of grouping.

You’ll be seeing software become increasingly easy to use, intuitive and logical for users going forward.

What next?

If you’re at the stage where you know a big improvement in your UI can bring massive growth for your business, but don’t have the time and resource to manage this in-house, get in touch.

Peter Loving

About Peter Loving

Peter helps SaaS businesses make product improvements that drive growth. He writes regularly at peterloving.com, manages 'SaaS Founders & Execs' Facebook Group and hosts regular SaaStock events in Barcelona.

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