User Experience: The USP for your SaaS solution

The market for software-as-a-service is lucrative, but competitive. If you want to win the hearts of your customers, you need more than innovative features and functions. SaaS User Experience is the magic word. Read here what exactly is behind it and what makes it tick.

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André Bachofner | 21.06.2022

The search for "The right one"

HRM, CRM, PIM - Saas solutions have long been an integral part of everyday business in B2B. Employees from sales, production, logistics and other departments spend their entire working day with these and similar tools. So it's no wonder that decision-makers take a very close look when selecting the right software - and shimmy from one test version to the next.

The search for the "right one" thus becomes speed dating. And it's the first impression that counts, i.e. the look and feel of the software. Because if your users can't get to grips with the outer shell, they won't work their way to the core. Sounds tough. It is.

The second step is about the "inner values". Users must get the feeling that your software understands them and actually helps them with their work. Only then will they commit themselves permanently.

In short, it's all about the user experience of your SaaS application. It is the key to the hearts of your customers - and a real USP compared to the competition.

Your software must convince at first and second glance!
André Bachofner Director UX & Owner SNK

4 criteria of an outstanding SaaS user experience

What exactly constitutes an outstanding user experience in the SaaS context? How does your software become "usable"? By meeting the following four criteria:

  1. It helps your users perform their tasks quickly and efficiently through clever user guidance.
  2. It reduces complexity and provides orientation: Data, information and processes are visualized and prepared in a way that is easy to understand.
  3. It bridges the gap between your business goals and the needs of your users.
  4. It is responsive and offers optimal technical performance across all devices.

1) SaaS UX design: user flows and user guidance

Your users want one thing above all: to perform their tasks. And they want to do it as quickly and conveniently as possible. Whether they want to create a new product, check supply chains or analyze business data - everything must be done in a few clicks.

For this to succeed, not only must the user's range of tasks be known down to the last detail. It is also important to have an overview of the overall business context in which they are embedded. "Simplification" is not possible without "understanding".

And this brings us to one of the foundations of SaaS UX design: the conception of user flows. These define the user's path through the software - from the dashboard to the completion of a small task.

Our tip:

Be sure to consider different user groups! A clerk has different tasks and needs different information than a department manager.

2) SaaS UI design: a real-world example

Products, data, processes: The user interface of your software should enable users to find their way around quickly - and not overwhelm them with features and details. So the question is: Which information, which options for action are absolutely necessary at which point of the user journey? What is nice-to-have? What is simply superfluous?

The following example shows what successful SaaS UI design looks like in practice. This is a dashboard for analyzing payment data that we developed for a financial services provider.

Screenshot from the Wirecard design project

What you can take away from this dashboard:

1. Clear prioritization of information The most important KPIs are placed directly in the header. This is followed by a maximum of two charts per line. Thanks to the uniform size of the elements, the interface looks clean and tidy.

2. Sophisticated data visualization Revenues, refunds, payment methods used and much more - behind every single chart there are mountains of data and information. The art lies in the appropriate form of presentation: clear and immediately understandable.

3. Contextual shortcuts Clarity and prioritization do not mean that information is lost. It is only placed where users actually need it. By clicking on one of the dashboard tiles, users can access extended views with in-depth analysis diagrams without losing the context.

4. Functional design The appropriate typography, the display of numbers and digits, and targeted color highlights within the elements and diagrams make it even easier for users to find their way around.

3) Business goals vs. userneeds

At first glance, there is perfect harmony between your business goals and the needs of your users. After all, software that is consistently optimized for the user or customer experience will be liked by everyone and will ultimately be bought. But it's not quite that simple. Example: Upselling.

We all know the grayed-out button that pops up in so many software applications, giving access to the really exciting features. Is that user-friendly? Not a bit! Is that upselling? Oh YES!

This example shows how business and user interests compete. Thus, designing a user interface always becomes a search for a compromise - and that compromise is not easy to find. That's why UI design is always an iterative process of concept, prototype and user testing.

Graphical representation of user needs

4) The technology: from concept to code

The best ideas and the most sophisticated UX concept are worthless if data doesn't appear, animations jerk, caching doesn't work and thus every click triggers annoying waiting times. By the time the page has finished loading, your user is already testing the competition's software. So make sure you get the performance right - not just on the desktop, but also on mobile.

SaaS user experience: the key to your customers' hearts

Your SaaS solution must not only convince users, it must seduce them. This can be achieved with a user interface that not only looks fantastic, but also gives users the feeling that it is really helping them. Once this is achieved, nothing stands in the way of a happy relationship.

Your expert for SaaS User Interfaces in B2B

SaaS User Experience doesn't just concern us in theory, but in our daily work - for over 20 years. We combine the disciplines of strategy, UX/UI design and technology to create unique user interfaces for SaaS applications in B2B.

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About the author

André Bachofner

André Bachofner is the owner and managing director of SNK. His expertise lies in experience design for B2B companies along the entire customer lifecycle. The user is the focus of his interest. The ideal combination of business value and usability is his declared goal.