Peter Peter - Founder, UserActive

How to create an Awesome SaaS Dashboard Design

Is your product in need of a better dashboard? If your SaaS dashboard design is messy or has it not really been thought through clearly, you’re not alone. A lot of software dashboards are often an afterthought. But the problem is it usually shows when a new user logs in. In this article we’re going to talk about how to create an awesome SaaS dashboard design.

What’s a SaaS dashboard design?

What are we talking about when discuss the ‘dashboard’ specifically? Many products have reporting and analytics which are sometimes considered to be a dashboard of sorts, but we’re talking about the main overview screen in your software. It’s the first thing users see every time they log in. Therefore, it’s really important to make a great impression and provide a great user experience here.

In this post, we’re going to share five important steps that can help you significantly improve your dashboard. We gathered this information by interviewing great software companies that have gone through the process of discovering what needs to be on their dashboard and designing a great experience.

1. Define Users Profiles for different SaaS dashboard designs

First of all, you need to define your user profiles. Not all software has just one type of user. Your average software typically has three to five types of users. For instance, Holded, a company in Barcelona, has found that they actually have five or six user profiles because they provide an ERP for SMEs. Their software does everything you need to do when you’re running a small business. Holded defined their software profiles as the C-level executives in companies, such as CEOs, CFOs, COOs etc. Holded created a different SaaS dashboard design for each user profile. This means that each of these profiles has an experience designed specifically for them, making their usage experience that much better.

Holded different SaaS dashboard designs

2. Provide a Contextual Experience

Personio is a really good experience of a software company who provide a contextual experience on their dashboard. They created a dashboard for their HR operating system software that gives a contextual overview of everything that’s happening in the business pertaining to HR at any given time. Every time an HR manager logs in, they have a different experience with the dashboard. At any given time they can see who’s in the office, who’s away on leave, if any team members are off sick, what interviews are being conducted, if there’s any staff training happening, etc. If they log in at different times of the day, that dashboard is going to tell them different things. A contextual dashboard delivers value in real time! It means that sometimes users will log in just to see what’s going on. That’s a great way to increase utilisation.

Personify's contextual SaaS dashboard design

3. Provide Goal Based Navigation

A good example of this is Geckoboard. They actually have a software that helps businesses create their own dashboards. One of the most difficult things for them is that companies don’t always know what they need on their company analytics dashboard. Therefore, Geckoboard provides goal based navigation that leads their customers through to journey of creating and publishing a useful dashboard that works for their business. This journey takes the form of a step by step process to select widgets and integrate tools in order to reach their desired outcome – publishing a dashboard that’s going to be valuable to them. Goal based navigation delivered in the right way can really help your users achieve their goals.

Geckoboard's goal-based navigation SaaS dashboard design

4. Show metrics that support the desired outcomes

A great example of this is ForceManager, software for managing sales teams. ForceManager provides each sales rep with a dashboard that displays their performance against KPIs. For instance, sales reps can see directly on their dashboard how many meetings, calls, or deals they’ve done in that week or month. These metrics are always changing, they show a constant update of how they’re progress and performance. Therefore, the software helps the people who use it to achieve the goals they need to achieve.

5. Reinforce ROI

It’s wise to show paying customers the value your software is providing for them. A good example of this is Adzooma. It monitors and increases efficiency and optimises paid ads for platforms such as Facebook, Google, etc. After it’s analysed all of the ad accounts users have connected, Adzooma displays metrics that show the ROI. These may be include metics such as how many hours or actual cost customers have saved using Adzooma over an alternative system for managing their ads. This is a great way to offset software cost against delivered value.

Adzooma's SaaS dashboard design with metrics

These are five tips that can help you create an incredibly valuable dashboard for your users that improves their overall experience. If you implement them, you’ll have a killer dashboard and it will help you to improve your product so that you get more users and grow.

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