User Experience

11 UI UX Tips for Designing SAAS Platform

Design for the Targeted Audience

Successfully deliver a solution or message by designing the SaaS product for the targeted audience. Understanding the targeted audience is crucial, as it helps with developing design decisions. The key is to gather information about the audience’s demographics, decision-making process, needs and pain points. User research is a useful process to undergo, as it will provide an in-depth understanding of the targeted audience. User research tools such as personas, empathy mapping, and customer journey maps are utilized to gather information about the targeted audience.

Overcome Complexity

Data and functional requirements may cause the SaaS product design to become overly complex. Complex SaaS products can ruin the overall user experience. The goal of user experience (UX) design is to meet the needs of users by improving the accessibility, usability and user interaction with a product or service.

Utilize the design thinking methodology before building the SaaS product. Design thinking helps tackles complexity issues, improving the chances to build a complex-free, successful SaaS product. Empathizing, problem identification, ideating solutions, prototyping, and testing improves the overall product significantly.

As mentioned before, user research is a useful process to utilize to empathize with the targeted audience. Empathy means to undercover the target audience’s needs and desires. Then identify the problems and users’ pain points that exist, then move forward into ideating solutions for those problems. Implement those solutions into a low or high-fidelity prototype, and get it user tested. Take time to strategically plan out the design thinking process and finalize the data and functional requirements for the SaaS product.

Use Content that the Audience Understands

The SaaS product should consist of content that the intended audience is familiar with such as terminology, descriptions and data visualization. Unfamiliar content may lead to confusion when using the product.


Allow users to navigate within the software easily by providing a form of navigation. Below are some useful examples of navigation for a SaaS product.

Global Navigation is a type of navigation that has consistent sets of links, tools and features allowing users to direct to the main pages in the platform. Especially useful if the product has several pages.  

SAAS Global Navigation
Global Navigation – Side navigation with a consistent set of links

The navigation tab is useful to separate content. Navigation tabs imply that the content is somehow related, sharing the same theme.

SAAS Navigation Tabs
Navigation Tabs – Access warning information within recurring transactions and KIOSKS.


A poorly organized layout may force users to think and look for information. Below are tips to having a good layout for the SaaS platform.

  1. Avoid having a disorganized layout by displaying key information first or displaying it to be visible at a glace. The SaaS platform should provide an overview of the data, and allow users to locate the details of the data.
  2. Optimize a good balance of white space to make the platform look simple.

Wireframing is a good process to implement before moving forward with the final design. Create low fidelity mockups to determine where the content should be located.

Avoid Information Overload

Presenting too much information on a single page causes information overload, exceeding a user’s processing capability. Information overload causes users to be confused and unable to make decisions. To avoid information overload, consider utilizing the tips below.

  1. Keep the page simple by reducing the information. Summarizing important information will allow users to find significant information quickly.
  2. Clarify the information effectively by showcasing information that users need.
  3. Provide the option to find more information. Users should be able to access in-depth information.
  4. Considering using cards or icons, to reduce cluttering of text.
  5. Group related information together.
SAAS Avoid Information Overload
Cards are organized by categories, click the About button to read more information.

Data Visualization

Text-based data tend to be difficult for users to understand, because of processing large amounts of data. To aid a specific audience to understand significant data, utilize data visualizations by choosing the most effective method to display the data. Data visualization helps users to understand the information quickly. Data visualization reveals insights, patterns, and trends. First, choose the type of data you want to display and then choose the type of data visualization that is best suited to display the data.

Improper use of data visualization such as using the wrong type of data visualization to display data can lead to confusion or misconception of the data being displayed.

SAAS Data Visualization
Data Visualization – Line graph compares changes over a period of time.


Tables organize data in rows and columns, displayed as numbers and words. Tables store data in a structured format, making it easy to compare related values.

SAAS Table

Summarizing the Data

To limit large amounts of data, provide a sorting/filtering feature. Below are examples of types of sorting/filtering features.

Table Filter: To reduce the amount of data shown in a table, including a table filter. The table filter is a type of categorical filter which displays a more accurate result, often design as drop downs.

SAAS Table Filter
Table Filter – Filter the table using the categorical filter.

Search Filters: Designed to find certain types of data in a database, by filtering contextual filters.  

SAAS Search Filter
Search Filter – Search for specific data using the contextual filter options


Avoid using too many colors and stay consistent with the chosen color pallet on the platform. Poor color choices can distract users’ attention and make them feel overwhelmed. Tips to consider when choosing colors:

  1. Limit the number of colors for the platform and stay consistent. Use the same color for certain elements in the platform.
  2. Avoid highly saturated colors, tone down the colors.
  3. Avoid choosing random colors when displaying relationships in a group or category. Instead, limit the color to one and change the saturation to showcase the difference within a category.

Help and Guidance

Users may require help and guidance when using the SaaS product during the onboarding phase, accessing unknown or newly updated features. Therefore, include a help and guidance feature in the platform that is easily accessible. Examples of help and guidance feature include:

  • FAQs: An essential feature that addresses frequently asked questions about the SaaS platform, reducing the need for users to directly contact a customer representative. The FAQ section should include high-quality content that users can easily understand.
  • Chatbots: Chatbots stimulates conversations with users. Chatbots addresses frequently asked questions and could directly connect users to a customer representative if questions are not answered.

At Idea Theorem, we had many opportunities to work on SaaS projects. Check out our UX Guidelines for Fintech.

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User Experience

Dashboard Design Guidelines for Great UX

Dashboard designs have increased in importance over the years, as enterprises use it to see crucial information at a glance before taking any action. A well designed dashboard shows heavy data in a simple and intuitive way. The information it can present could be from the latest trends, updates to your products or your company. A dashboard is a place where the user can take quick actions or navigate to various areas of application for a detailed view.

At Idea Theorem, we have had the opportunity to work on various enterprise projects consisting of intranets, HR Portal, Cost management tools and SAAS platforms. Along the way we have built several dashboards, here we have put together guidelines to help you design a great dashboard UX.

Armed with the powerful collection of information, a business can make faster decisions based on the information available in a visual and concise manner. A good dashboard design means:

  1. Information available at the fingertip
  2. Metrics are clear
  3. Intuitive design
  4. Customizable
  5. Summarized data

Dashboards can be a daunting task to design, especially, if you don’t have enough information to create a basis for designing the dashboards. Creating a user journey map first will definitely help you understand the journey or touchpoints that the user goes through to complete the task or tasks and the important information that needs to be displayed on the dashboard UI.

A lot of people think that the dashboard is an entire website but in truth, it is one part of the website where the information is summarized and shown to the user. The users can take action there or go to a more detailed page to get more information.

There are several types of dashboards:

  1. Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Dashboards
  2. Business Intelligence Dashboards
  3. Analytic Dashboards
  4. Productized Dashboards

Dashboard design guidelines

1. Know your Audience

Great dashboard UX is created when you know the target audience. Dashboard view for the manager will be different from the team member’s view. It is important to know what kind of data the targeted users will be interested in or what is their level of expertise. Doing some user research will help you understand your users.

2. Choose the right kind for data visualization

Choosing the right kind of visual to showcase the data is very important for a well designed dashboard. If incorrect visualizations are chosen, then there is a high possibility of missing the concept of a user-friendly dashboard design. It is crucial to learn what type of data needs to be shown to the user in a manner which tells the story of the entire data set.

Knowing your audience will help in determining what data needs to be provided to them. Following are commonly used data visualization types:

  1. Line Chart
  2. Bar Graphs
  3. Tables
  4. Pie Chart
  5. Scatter Chart
  6. Spatial Map
  7. Gauge Chart
  8. Area Chart
Idea Theorem - Dashboard Design - Types of Charts
Types of Charts

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Avoid a variety of data visualization just for the sake of making it pretty.
  2. Avoid cluttering your charts with too much information and data labels. Avoid putting too much information on the dashboard. For example, try to keep only 3-4 key values.
  3. Don’t mix big and small measures together in one same graph. For example, at one place you are using millions and the other place you are using hundreds.
  4. Keep the same measuring system. If you are using the metric system in your graphs and suddenly there are imperial system measures, it will confuse the users.
  5. Keep consistent naming convention and date formats
  6. If you are using monetary value, keep the same currency all throughout the dashboard
  7. Truncate large values

3. Summarise data in 1 screen

Don’t overload users with a lot of information on one page. That is just going to make users confused. Dashboard tends to become cluttered at the end of the day. This will make it harder for the user to focus on any particular table or chart. There would be obviously time and place where different kind of users will be requiring more amount of data, just ensure that relevant data is shown in an organized manner.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Show summarised data instead of showing full data and give users the option to expand on it
  2. Show relevant data
  3. Use a progressive drill-down system to showcase information
  4. Repeated users do not require to see the same information again and again. Show them new information or the information which has changed by highlighting the changes
  5. Show users warnings and unusual patterns instead showing the entire data set

4. Group related information together

According to the law of proximity, it states that objects that are near, or proximate to each other, tend to be grouped together. This law is useful by grouping together different clusters of content or data for users to view at a glance. This is also called Gestalt Laws of Grouping. These principles are organized into 5 categories: 1. Proximity 2. Similarity 3. Continuity 4. Closure 5. Connectedness.

Idea Theorem - Dashboard Design - Gestalt Law of Grouping
Gestalt Law of Grouping

5. Don’t overdo with colors

It is important to stick to a few colors. Too many colors can overload your audience visually and the users might not be able to focus on their task. Use intense colors to showcase your data to draw the user’s attention, using saturated colors will make users lose interest and might not be able to make the right analytical decision.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Keep colors consistent all throughout the dashboard UI
  2. Use the same colors for the same items on all the charts
  3.  Do not misuse traffic light colors. Keep red for warnings or errors, greens for good or done

6. Create an intuitive layout

One of the dashboard design best practices is displaying the most significant data on the top part of the dashboard, important information in the middle, and basic or general details at the bottom. This is an intuitive

7. Show the right context

Showing the right context in dashboard design is very important. Context is in the form of text including:

  • Labeling data visualization
  • Headers
  • Explanatory paragraphs
  • Annotations
  • Legends

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Without context, dashboard design is meaningless and difficult to understand. Context helps to add emphasis, guide the users to the right information and help them to analyze the data.

Final Thoughts

Dashboard design best practices stress on consistency and minimalism. First, create personas through user research and then start working on wireframes and then start working on the design. UX plays an important factor and it defines how a dashboard will look and feel.

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What Next

Idea Theorem is Toronto based UI UX Agency. We create simple and usable products for web and mobile. Our human-centered design approach lets us understand your customers, identify their pain points & deliver solutions that enhance their experience with your brand. Contact Us if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you.