This is a question that all SaaS businesses will encounter at some point: how do you know when it’s time to update your interface?
A lot of businesses push the update back as far as possible, and I can’t blame them; giving your interface a facelift is time consuming, expensive, and can result in some downtime or technical glitches while you get everything squared away. There’s also the fear that users won’t like the new updates (hence the temporary, day-long rage every time Facebook changes their interface).
Sometimes, though, businesses wait too long to make necessary updates, which ends up hindering their software’s performance. At the end of the day, you don’t want to lose customers when your product is great just because your interface is lacking.
So how do you know when it’s time to update your interface? Let’s take a look at the six most common instances that indicate it’s time for your interface to get a redesign.
1. You Want to Add Significant New Features
If you’re ready to expand your software’s capabilities and add significant new features, there’s a decent chance that you should update your interface to do so. Whether this means you’re adding a significant number of features or just a few features that could change how your tool is used, you’ll almost definitely need at least a minor interface redesign.
Many of these features, after all, may actually require an interface redesign so that users will be able to locate the features. It also may be necessary so that the features will function properly and fit into the tool in a native, natural way instead of seeming like they were tacked on as an afterthought.
Invoicing software Freshbooks, for example, recently released a new and updated version of the tool which offers a host of new or enhanced features. Because these features have changed how users can utilize the tool, it only made sense to incorporate them with an updated interface.
2. Users Tell You Your Interface is Confusing
This should be a no-brainer; if users are telling you the interface is complicated or confusing, it’s working against you and not for you. Despite this, many businesses ignore it, saying “They’ll get the hang of it!” right before users cancel their memberships instead.
If users tell you that your interface is confusing, try to get more detailed feedback about what specifically makes it difficult to use. In many cases, the actual organization is at fault. Because of this, a major redesign of the interface is often needed, which can simplify the display and accessibility to different features.
Most SaaS tools have some immediate competition; Right Signature competes with DocuSign, HelloSign, and E-Signatures by Adobe, for example. While price will influence customers, the interface and ease of use will be a big part of the buying decision.
3. New Users Struggle to Learn the Software
If my grandmother can (mostly) learn how to send me texts and download image files, your customers should be able to get the hang of your tool relatively quickly. If your target audience can’t get the hang of it, that’s a sign that your interface needs to be adjusted. When new users are requesting a lot of assistance for how to use, access, or find specific features, it could signal a problem with organization or lack of proper explanation.
Some interfaces will be much stronger in design than others, and much easier to navigate. Simple navigation and a clean interface is essential. This is why Trello is often used for project planning and management; it’s so effective largely because it’s so simple to use.
4. You’ve Rebranded
If you rebrand, your interface needs to be redesigned to match it. This rebranding could include:
- A shift in prioritization of use cases (like transitioning from just invoicing to accounting as a whole)
- Stylized rebranding, including colors and style of copy
- Targeting a slightly different audience
Rebranding can be a small—or large—upheaval in the rest of your business, and your interface should always reflect that. All businesses will evolve overtime if they survive, requiring some rebranding; it’s just a matter of when.
5. Your Technology Needs an Update
The pesky thing about technology—including our sites and apps—is that it advances at a lightning fast pace. To continue offering top-of-the-line software to our customers, we must adopt new technology when possible.
A great example of this is the ability to integrate with other popular software; any ecommerce software, for example, should be able to integrate with the most popular payment options. Slack is a great example of a SaaS tool that offers a ton of integrations with other popular software.
If your interface doesn’t work well with new technology, it’s time to give it an overhaul.
6. The Interface Looks Out-of-Date
Stylistic trends that were extremely popular even five years ago look out-of-date today. You likely wouldn’t wear the same on-trend outfit from a decade ago to a business meeting; keeping your interface stylistically updated is just as important.
With society placing enormous value on breaking-edge technology, you want your interface to look top quality. Otherwise, your perceived credibility and professionalism will drop and you’ll lose sales, no matter how great your software is.
Maintaining an up-to-date, modern interface that functions like top-of-the-line software should is essential to keeping and expanding your client base. Because you should always be open to your technology evolving with new useful features and advanced technology, it’s a matter of “when” you’ll need to redesign the interface and not “if.”
What do you think? When do you decide it’s time to give your interface a facelift? Let us know what you think in the comments below!