SaaS Approaches: UX First

August 28, 2017 Saas & Platforms
By Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist
By Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist


There are several ways to approach rolling out and improving any SaaS product or platform in search of elusive market success. The two most common are to plan and develop your SaaS product with either a user-first mentality or with a product and feature first mentality. Obviously you are eventually going to want to deliver completely across both these axes. But realistically, you are going to need to prioritize one over the other as you start out.

The full range of product development and planning for a SaaS business is continuous responsibility. Almost by definition, a SaaS business and associated products and services are never done – there is always more to do. To get some idea of the full range and scope, read this ChartMogul piece on how to build a SaaS product roadmap. It breaks the process down into stages, from early planning to rollout to growth to maturity. And it advocates for a user-first process at the beginning.

So we will take that advice and start with user experience – this article will take a look at user experience (UX) and user-first planning for a SaaS product.


User Experience is Key

Barry Feldman at ProsperWorks examines multiple approaches to take when starting to think about SaaS User Experience and how it is more than just usability. He also talks about user delight and how UX is the key differentiator for SaaS companies.

This ConversionXL blog covers how to go about designing user flow in depth and covers state diagrams, different forms of user flow, examples, case studies, getting data from users and how to measure and iterate.

The Chargify Bullring blog talked to experts at InVision to get seven UX principles that are requirements when building out a SaaS user experience. They refer to the seven principles as the SaaS UX Bible. These principles include frictionless signups, great support and more. Incidentally, WePay uses very similar principles and approaches for our payments API for SaaS platforms.

UX Matters wrote about the role of UX in product development, in an in-depth examination for the SaaS industry. The piece covers all the ramifications and considerations for UX in product development. [Warning – this is a long post].

The Stunning Blog wrote about setting up the right UX for your SaaS product. They cover some similar points to other articles listed here, especially the need for signup and onboarding to be frictionless.

UX Planet made its points about the importance of UX by suggesting that SaaS companies stop enraging their users and start taking UX seriously. That’s how important an issue UX is for SaaS businesses. The implication also is that far too many SaaS businesses do NOT take UX seriously enough.

The Process.ST blog made the connection between UX and customer success for SaaS companies. It’s a well-known and important connection and drives home the point that SaaS success and growth is inherently tied to successful UX.

So what about SaaS companies that are more established? Most of the advice already given applies to them, but not all. Hopefully these companies have addressed some of these points already in rolling out their solution successfully. But SaaS success cannot be taken for granted. It is very easy for a new company to come along and iterate and improve and start eating into your customer base. What to do in order to improve your existing UX? According to the Altolus Digital blog, the answer is to perform a UX audit to identify the UX areas and issues which you are not handling effectively.

Hopefully these articles and suggestions help you to focus properly on the UX of your SaaS business.


About the author


Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist

Owen Linderholm is Senior Content Strategist at WePay. He has previously held content and editorial roles at Yahoo, Microsoft, IDG and the BBC.

More blog posts by Owen Linderholm

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