At Bonanza Design, this is our passion to design for SaaS applications. If you look at the resume of our works, that’d be evident. We have designed for SaaS applications across the board such as applications for Fintech, Insure-tech, HR & Cultural Management, Real Estate, IoT, and health care.
In this article, I’d like to break down how we help our clients especially at the beginning of our collaboration. To focus on features and arrive at a cohesive roadmap for the launch of a product.
Before we begin let me remind you of two invaluable pieces of content you shouldn’t miss:
We recommend you review the UX Design Stack by which the core pillars of the user experience are broken down. Review here
Onboarding is vital for the scaling of any SaaS application. Without a proper onboarding strategy, you’d be siphoning all your marketing and sales efforts down the toilet. In this article, we went in-depth and breadth to elaborate on the right onboarding strategies for SaaS applications Read here
Regardless of whether a client is going to launch a new app or improve on an already existing application, It’s crucial for us to plan how we can channel our creative energy in the best to bring the most ROI for our client.
Often founders, rightfully so, have a bag filled with ideas and would like to see most of them realized. We’d love to get them there but often the budgets are limited. And hence the prioritization is the key.
Also, another advantage to prioritization is that you don’t get ahead of the market. Entrepreneurship is a dance between you and the market. If you get ahead, it resists you. If you lag behind, it leaves you behind.
Additionally, this is also a dance between you and the users’ base. Every little change you introduce will impact and change the users’ behaviors. And often these changes surface with delay. Meaning you launch a new feature to address a user’s pain point or goal and often users’ expectations evolve after using the feature. For example, think about the world of Social Media Marketing before and after Instagram Stories.
Lastly, when you introduce two features at the same time. You cannot certainly assess the impact of each feature over the overall evolved consumer behavior.
On the first day of our 3-week UX DESIGN SPRINT, we hold a workshop with clients to do only that: prioritization of the users’ needs.
Personas are fictional characters created to represent many users who oftentimes share the same characteristics. For example, if you want to develop a SaaS application for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) so they can handle their bookings, customer communication is faster. Then your product deals with some personas. Think about these two personas
1) Ahmad – The Internet Savvy
He is a pro techie and already using a lot of software. He always deals with a few screens at the same time. He’s very active and meets clients online and offline all the time. He hops on different airplanes throughout the week and wants a seamless experience that finds him on whichever device he’s on at that point.
2) Sally – The Vintage Lover She
She has a hair salon and is passionate about making people beautiful. She only uses her laptop to watch Netflix and is not great with applications. Besides she always has to serve clients and hardly finds time to sit behind the computer.
Although these personas are looking for a booking application, they work in different contexts and have contrasting characteristics. And that’s when it gets challenging when your application has to serve opposing preferences.
We use empathy mapping as shown in the image below as an alternative to the common user persona template. In case you want to know more about empathy mapping, review this post on our Instagram
For each targeted persona we’d like to know who they are in general and we seek information about
1. their demographics
2. their personal life and professional background
And then we’d like to know more specifically about how they deal with the challenge at hand currently. Specifically when dealing with the challenge,
1. What do they think and feel?
2. What do they see?
3. What do they hear?
4. What do they say and do?
5. How do they characterize their frustrations?
6. How do they see their experience change if there was a better solution in place?
There’s not a definite number on how many personas each MVP must have. It depends on your industry and market and what you offer. For a product, we identified six user personas, and for another product, there were only two to consider.
A good rule of thumb, a product cannot only deal with only a persona. It can be that we conclude to develop the MVP around the needs of A specific persona. But, you cannot only have a persona altogether. If you did, you oversimplified reality and it only does you a disservice than anything else.
We use a chart as shown below to focus on the persona. We’d like to know which persona, if their needs were addressed in the product, would generate the most revenue to scale the business even further.
Use cases are often expressed in a simple sentence, structured as follows:
“As a [persona], I [want to], [so that].”
For example, use cases might look like this:
— Like Sally, I want the appointments booked automatically, so I can do what I love cutting hair.
— As Ahmad, I want a seamless solution to book clients’ meetings, so I can be more confident in expanding the business reach in different countries.
— As a manager, I want to be able to understand my colleagues’ progress, so I can better report our successes and failures.
Expressing use cases in the form of user stories enables us to focus on the experiences rather than features. Some founders, especially the techie-founders, love to build features. And they may hardly relate how the features improve the user experience. At this phase, we break down the use cases per chosen persona as shown in the image below.
And then we repeat the same prioritization process for the use cases to focus on the persona. At this phase, we identify the most promising use cases to focus on and we park the rest for the later versions of the application.
After having the list of prioritized use cases, we’ll break down the user flows for each. A user flow is a fantastic method to understand the whole dynamic of the users and application without going into details as you would have to with wireframing.
A user flow can tell you all about the pages needed for the application the actions, the logics, the kinds of backend work, and the external assets (third-party apps).
After finalizing all the user flows needed for the MVP, then we go ahead and create the wireframes around each user flow. We’ll go in detail in upcoming articles on how we create wireframes.