Software-as-a-Service or SaaS is a licensing model used in the software industry. Users can obtain access via a subscription, and the software is housed externally. Clients often connect to external servers with a web browser to utilize it. As a result of externalizing the program, hard drive space requirements are smaller. Furthermore, these software-based solutions capitalize on emerging cloud computing trends. Developers enjoy long-term client acquisition and recurrent payments in compensation.
Prior to SaaS's introduction, companies had to update the software on a local basis. Consequently, extensive data storage was a requirement, and updates could be time-consuming. Switching to a SaaS-based model can be particularly beneficial for larger companies. Since it can eliminate onsite updates, users do not need to worry about updating anything. Remote software streamlines troubleshooting, as technicians can resolve issues at a distance.
Salesforce was the industry's first major SaaS adherent, switching to it entirely in 1999. Their completely remote CRM software gained popularity with rapidity, becoming a SaaS superstar. Since then, Adobe, Shopify, and Intuit have entered the SaaS domain, growing the industry to $145 billion in 2022. Therefore, more market participants are clamoring to enter the competition. Designing a successful SaaS product requires functional UI above all else.
Quality UI/UX Principles Secures Customer Loyalty
Roughly 90% of customers claim they discontinue services consequent of bad experiences. Poor usability discourages the adoption of software designed with functional features. Apart from adversely impacting downstream revenue, inferior designs minimize subscription accrual.
Luck Lockwood's usage-centered design emphasizes several principles when creating user interfaces. First, each element should have been designed purposefully. These should adhere to consistent models apparent from the user's perspective. Next, the simplicity principle stipulates the design should communicate tasks with clarity. Common tasks must be understood without much effort, and shortcuts are helpful additions. The feedback principle also clarifies how interactions should be handled, delivering regular responses. Users should be informed of state changes or new conditions as they emerge.
An additional principle to monitor is visibility. Frequent actions should be seen at a glance, not hiding from plain sight. Extraneous and redundant information is irrelevant, so hide it during testing. Finally, the tolerance principle specifies how flexible it should be, allowing consequent-free mistakes. For example, customers should be able to erase mistaken clicks by pressing an undo button. Likewise, a redo function can ease expectations and enhance functionality.
Usability Heuristics for UI Designs
Jakob Nielsen published 10 general principles that guide developer decision-making. Generally, a design's language should match the one used by customers in the real world. These affirm interactions and communicate information with little interruption. Assistance should not be needed whenever interacting with the program's interface. Terms, concepts, icons, and images must rely on familiar conventions and distinctions. If they are unfamiliar with the individual using it, misunderstandings are likely.
Consistency is also highlighted in Nielsen's work, owing to its universal implications. Words should convey similar meanings across multiple situations. In general, designers should adopt industry standards and platform conventions popular within it. Inconsistent word usage increases the users' cognitive load, forcing them to learn things. Familiarity with the industry's conventional naming schematics elevates customer retention, securing longer-term buyers.
Clear error messages are helpful, but good design prevents them in the first place. Eliminate error-prone conditions or present a confirmation option when users select them. Unconscious error detection is unreliable but can be corrected by addressing inattention. Adding constraints to the designs' interface can reduce their frequency, alleviating strains. However, prevention is better, so remove memory burdens when possible. Freeing up user attention allows more engagement, enhancing their experience.
Reducing Short-Term Memory Load
Humans possess strict limitations on their short-term memory, which imposes design challenges. Limited information processing capacity should be held at the forefront of the mind. Otherwise, complicated programs will be developed, which intimidate users. A typical person will only remember seven items at once, so do not present more than that. Requiring extensive memorization will dissuade use, cutting into the program's profitability.
Action sequences should be organized into coherent strings and groups. Once a user completes them, informative feedback should be given, clarifying what happened. Feedback can evoke a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in the user, relieving them. An additional benefit is the added signal to drop contingency plans from the mind.
Lengthy forms should fit on a single display, and phone numbers should only be entered once. Website locations should stay visible during the entirety of a visit. Experienced users prefer environments where they feel as if they are in control. Tedious data-entry sequences are dull and detract from enjoyability. If it is difficult to obtain necessary info, users will be unlikely to return. Moreover, an inability to produce desired results will rapidly diminish the perceived value. Capable devisers include these considerations from the beginning of their design phase. SaaS pricing should be considered after the interface's design is finalized.
Easy-to-Navigate Spaces Are Preferable
Navigation should be clear, self-evident, and easy to understand for clients. Users enjoy exploring interfaces more when they understand them clearly. If a product is too intricate, clients will be afraid to click buttons, so they will not touch them. Ideal designs place people in their comfort zone, providing context to decisions.
Visual cues are a superb tool to these ends, notifying users of their location. If a user is navigating through reference points, they will not be lost as fast. Page titles, highlights, and associated aids curate the experience. If a user wonders how they arrived on a page, it is a symbol of bad design.
Additionally, users should feel like they are in a predictable world when operating. Cues can help them predict the occurrence of an action and its consequences. Each button and option should be defined so they never wonder what it does when using it.
As a final rule, informative feedback should acknowledge each interaction. These meaningful and clear reactions will elucidate the system's intentions. Thus, users will be able to achieve and accomplish intended results without friction. Frictionless experiences leave better impressions than ones that trigger frustration.