Five ways you can design for product growth

Design for Growth

Photo by Singkham

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is now.
Chinese Proverb

I bring this quote up now to set expectations about growing a SaaS product. You are trying to nurture an idea in an intense product ecosystem and want results fast. Some products will hit the market and gain immense popularity practically overnight. But these are the very rare exceptions, not the rules.

With so many options available, users are looking for products that solve their pain points and provide a seamless and satisfying experience. That’s where UX comes in – user experience design is crucial in creating successful SaaS products that meet customer functional and emotional needs. In this blog post, we’ll explore how designing for growth with UX can help your SaaS product succeed in a highly competitive market. 

1. Designing for growth

Designing for growth is all about creating an intuitive user experience that helps your customers with a specific problem. It’s about making your product easy to use and enjoyable so that users will want to keep using it.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when designing for growth:

Make it easy

Users should be able to intuitively understand how to use your product. I mention the obvious because some organizations still struggle with this fundamental issue. One of the best ways to demonstrate your digital experience is a smooth user onboarding experience. Users being able to quickly onboard while being able to grasp the fundamentals of your product will be a huge growth driver for your organization. User onboarding is that critical bridge between the factors that guided strangers to your product and them beginning to understand the core mechanics of your product. Making a product easy to use doesn’t equal removing as many steps as possible, it means having the necessary steps for the user to understand the value the product provides.

Make sure your product is distinct

A little bit different

It’s not uncommon for products to share a similar value proposition. You can have two tax prep softwares that are practically identical but they can emphasize different aspects of their UX and UI to be distinct. Let’s say TaxPrepProductA emphasizes its employee portal, and TaxPrepProductB emphasizes its client portal. TaxPrepProductA pushes this employee portal feature because their market research showed a systemic problem with internal communication and employee engagement, creating friction and poor employee ROI. TaxPrepProductB pushes the client portal because their market research emphasized a problem with client engagement, so more time and resources were put into making the client portal as easy to use as possible. Both have effectively the same features and the same value proposition but it’s the emphasis on certain factors that create different value propositions and therefore different product experiences. The distinctions don’t have to be drastically unique; subtle differences can help each product be competitive in their respective market niches.

Reduce churn

Reduce Churn

Keep users engaged with your product by providing compelling content and features that keep them returning. To be clear, some degree of churn is inevitable, but unnecessary high churn is avoidable. In addition to some of the things already listed in this article, a great way to reduce churn is to recognize you probably have more than one type of user/customer. Remember our example above? Segmenting your users allows you to create strategies that will personalize the value of your digital experience.

It is valuable to try and collect as much user segmentation data as possible BUT always make sure you gather behavioral data. Predictive analytics can also be used to identify high-risk segments, enabling proactive measures to minimize churn and optimize customer retention. These proactive measures are determined by identifying key UX moments that have or haven’t happened. 

Let’s say you have a delivery app and the average user orders from the platform twice a week. You notice a drop in orders for a segment of your users, going to only five deliveries per month. This red flag triggers actions in your organization to re-engage users with your delivery app, everything from but not limited to notifications, content or discounts. 

Do your user research

user research

Understanding the value of user research (UXR) extends beyond simple data collection; it directly informs and refines design processes. User feedback, both qualitative and quantitative, illuminates product strengths and weaknesses, guiding product growth. Qualitative research focuses on the why and brings to light intricate details about user needs, expectations, and experiences, paving the way for empathy-driven design. Quantitative research, on the other hand, offers concrete, numerical insights to back design decisions with solid evidence, and assess design impact on a larger scale.

User feedback serves as a compass, guiding teams to outperform competitors by directly addressing user needs. Consequently, products evolve based on customer-centric innovation, resulting in superior user experiences, enhanced product-market fit, and increased customer loyalty. UXR essentially fuels a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement, elevating both product value and brand reputation.

Make sure your marketing aligns with what you’re offering


Wait, what does UX design have to do with marketing? Imagine you are in front of a nice restaurant. It looks like a great dining experience and high-quality dishes. You walk through the front doors and… it’s a Waffle House. It’s important that your marketing aligns with what you are offering. This is a hidden customer acquisition killer; marketing that misrepresents the experience. 

Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) are typically a metric assigned to marketing. Here’s the problem with that: Marketing helps guide users to acquisition actions  but it doesn’t “seal the deal.” The User Experience does. Think of marketing as a Customer Alignment Cost instead. Being concise, straightforward, and on-brand with your unique value proposition will help you acquire customers that are more aligned with how you solve their problems. 

2. Conclusion

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of how user experience design can help your SaaS product succeed. UX design is more than just making sure your app looks good; it’s also about creating an intuitive and engaging experience that guides users through their journey. By considering target user needs and preferences, implementing best practices in UX design, and thoroughly testing throughout the development process, you will be able to create a product that exceeds customer expectations and leads to long-term success.

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