9 Key SaaS Metrics You Should Track to Ensure Your Business Is Doing Great
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How many metrics should a SaaS business owner regularly check to have a peaceful sleep? On the one hand, tracking multiple metrics can give you a 360-degree view of your business situation and reveal the issues necessary to be fixed. But from another side, diving deeply into the calculation of dozens of business indicators, you may find yourself spending time on formal analysis, which doesn’t lead to the actionable steps.
In this article, you’ll find nine crucial SaaS metrics we offer to focus on for scanning your business health. Why nine? Why not! The number is nice. But if seriously, we at Eleken believe these nine metrics cover all business characteristics from revenue generation to customer satisfaction. With the hope this business health metrics list will help you grow your SaaS, let’s get started.
1. Churn rate
One thought you should accept - churn is inevitable. Regardless of business specifics, size, and development stage, there would always be customers who leave your company. Under the general term, two churn types are usually considered - customer churn and revenue churn.
Customer churn rate shows the percentage of customers who left your product or service within a defined period.
You can calculate the average SaaS churn rate using this formula:
Customer churn % = Number of churned users / Total number of users
Even though the formula looks pretty straightforward, it’s not that easy to perform an accurate calculation as the total number of customers is not a fixed value. When deriving a total figure, you need to allow for:
- Users who signed up the previous month
- Customers joined during the current month
- And users who churned within the current month
Most SaaS companies focus more on revenue churn as this indicator provides a better understanding of business performance showing the revenue amount you lose with churned customers.
As for SaaS churn benchmarks, around 5%-7% annual churn rate is considered as a norm for large mature companies. If you are an early-stage startup or a company that works with SMBs mainly, your average churn will be close to 5%-7% monthly.
It may not seem a big problem to lose 5% of customers during one month. However, considering that this figure compounds over time, the monthly 5% churn will lead to a huge revenue loss in terms of a year.
If you are keen to know what you should do to reduce customer churn, read our next article entirely dedicated to SaaS churn rate.
2. Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)
MRR metric measures the revenue a SaaS company receives each month. Given the recurring nature of payments, a company can predict its future income, which makes the SaaS business model so attractive to entrepreneurs. Stable MRR makes it easier to forecast your SaaS company growth and plan expenses on sales and marketing activities.
The MRR formula looks pretty simple.
MRR = Monthly users number * Monthly ARPU (average revenue per user)
Though, to find an accurate number, you need to use a more detailed calculation shown below.
Also, it is essential to know what to include in and exclude from the MRR calculation.
- All recurring payments, customer upgrades, downgrades, and any additional charges for extra services
- Discounts and special offers you provide within a particular month
- Lost MRR from the customers who left your product
- Long-term contracts that paid once at the subscription time
- One-time charges (like setup fees or advisory services)
- Non-converted trials that can be considered as “projected” revenue
As MRR is closely related to profitability, you may want to learn how to increase your revenue. If so, read about MRR SaaS in our separate article.
3. Average revenue per user (ARPU)
ARPU metric is self-explanatory, indicating how much money you receive from one user. The trick is if customer acquisition cost (CAC), which we will touch upon later in our list, is higher than ARPU, your business is in danger. It means that you actually spend more than you get in return.
To get your ARPU metric, divide total revenue by the number of customers you have.
Why is this metric important? It brings to light beneficial high-paying customer groups and those who don’t contribute much to monthly revenue.
Also, ARPU reveals sales and marketing teams’ effectiveness and is closely connected to LTV, or customer lifetime value, metric.
4. Customer lifetime value (LTV)
LTV is probably the most important metric for subscription businesses. SaaS companies are trying hard to prolong a customer lifetime within their products. Customer lifetime value shows the total revenue the customer brought to your business during their subscription period.
Here is the formula for SaaS LTV calculation
LTV = (Customer revenue * Customer lifetime) - Acquisition and maintenance cost
Knowing LTV for your business is crucial for building long-term customer engagement strategies and improving customer retention.
5. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
Customer acquisition costs explicitly tell you how much money you spend on sales and marketing activities to bring new customers. Take total sales & marketing expenses for a certain period (usually a month) and divide by the acquired customers. The cost you pay for acquiring customers is closely linked to the value each customer brings you during their lifetime. To ensure your business will continuously generate profit, your LTV should be much greater than CAC. Ideally, SaaS CAC must be 3x larger than money spent on customer acquisition.
LTV > (3 x CAC)
Early-staged SaaS businesses often have CAC much higher than monthly revenue generated by acquired customers. It takes quite a while to get back those investments and hit a break-even point.
If a startup manages to recover healthy cash flow within a year, chances are this business will soon become profitable. Learn more about the CAC SaaS metric on our blog.
6. Trial conversion rate
Free trial is a pricing strategy aimed to turn leads into customers. This marketing tactic gives potential customers the possibility to try a product for free and, if they find value using it, pay for the subscription once a free period ends. The trial conversion rate points out how many users from those who tried your service actually converted. If the rate is low, this is a sign something is going wrong with either your onboarding or your product itself.
Here is what you can do to increase your conversion rate:
- Facilitate onboarding - your ultimate goal is to ensure it’s a no-brainer for customers to start using your product
- Implement in-app onboarding - with a surge of COVID-19 pandemic, a low-touch customer engagement model, which implies less human interaction, but more digital guidance, is getting increasingly popular and makes onboarding easy and intuitive
- Survey your “newcomers” - fresh users are a valuable source of information. It would be a good idea to ask lately joined customers what they liked and what they didn’t like in onboarding
- Find your power - when talking to customers, determine what thrills them the most about your product and use these killer differentiators to nudge leads to convert
7. Freemium conversion rate
Checking freemium conversion rate is pursuing the same goal as free trials conversion rate. You need this figure to answer the question of why your free users don’t become paying customers. SaaS industry experts have various opinions on whether the freemium model is an effective business growth strategy or not. One thing is clear - freemium is more likely a marketing acquisition strategy than a revenue model.
However, some experts claim companies using freemium show a better retention rate than those that don’t employ this pricing model. You’ll find more details about freemium pricing in our dedicated article.
8. Expansion revenue
When your customers upgrade to high-tier plans, you’re getting expansion revenue. Due to expansion revenue, your churn rate may go negative. Net negative churn means you cover revenue loss from churned customers by upsells. Look at the graph below, which shows how significantly revenue can grow with only 5% negative churn.
Expansion revenue is generally easier to generate as it’s less costly to upgrade existing customers than to acquire new ones. Strictly speaking, it’s 4x more expensive to gain new customers considering that not all leads will reach your sales funnel bottom.
9. Net promoter score (NPS)
The only qualitative metric in our list is net promoter score. NPS can give you an understanding of customer satisfaction level. With only one question in a survey, you will have an idea of whether your customers are happy with your product so that they can recommend it to their friends or colleagues.
NPS may be pretty helpful for the early-staged startups to define if a product they’re offering meets market demand.
Those customers who placed their answers on a scale between 0 and 6 should be contacted directly by sales reps or account managers to clarify their dissatisfaction. Thoughtful immediate actions may help win customers back.
A final word
To keep your business on track, you shouldn’t necessarily analyze a bunch of metrics. Focus on those that will help you see your business from different angles. These metrics should be comprehensive, relatively quick, easy to calculate and interpret the results. We at Eleken are confident that the analysis is important, but actions are crucial. To learn about other SaaS metrics, look at our next article talking about the average SaaS growth rate. Also, we’ve gathered the best books on SaaS metrics that would be worth reading for business owners.
Top 7 SaaS Payment Processing Services Comparison
You came up with a mindblowing idea for a SaaS startup. After sleepless nights, you’re almost ready to introduce your brainchild to the world. The only question left is how do you process payments?
In the good old days, it was no more difficult to buy a piece of software than a bag of bagels. You pay for your CD with a program, you get your CD with a program.
And then the SaaS subscription model emerged, allowing us to sell software in exciting, whizz-bangy, granular ways.
Rather than selling a single unit, you sell a month-to-month service. Now you need to charge recurring payments for multiple pricing tiers, work with bank cards from numerous countries and currencies. A ton of new things happen between the point where a customer is paying you money and the point you are getting the money.
Let’s examine how payment processing works for SaaS so that we can better understand what features we’re looking for in our best subscription billing systems.
Components of SaaS payment processing
The bulk of payment takes a few seconds that cover a lot of drama and a long list of actors involved. Let’s name them shortly.
- Customer, a.k.a. the person who believes that a product deserves its price tag and hits the “buy now” button.
- SaaS company. That’s you and your business that sells the product worth buying.
- Website or app, where UX/UX designers placed the “buy now” button on a pricing page.
- Merchant account — a bank account your customers’ transactions go into as they pay for a subscription.
- An acquiring bank is a bank that provides you with a merchant account and processes transactions on your behalf.
- An issuing bank is a bank of your customer that provides them with a payment card and runs transactions on their behalf.
- Payment gateway is the bridge between, customer, yourself, and your banks.
- Subscription management system. From the moment of the first purchase, it automatically invoices customers on a regular basis and manages all the fine tunes of your complex tiered billing.
Let's assume that the customer and the merchant are in place, and the issuing bank is a customer’s concern. So we need to find an acquiring bank that will equip us with the merchant account, find a SaaS payment gateway and a subscription management system to make things rolling.
How to choose payment processor for SaaS
Looks like SaaS payment processing is a complicated business process. A new complicated business process being on fire is a sure sign of a new B2B market that will emerge to get these fires out.
Dozens of recurring payment processing services popped up in the past 15 years. That many possible solutions to a billing problem created an all new kind of problem.
The problem of choosing a payment processor.
You stare at Google Search results. Countless competitors staring back at you from their landing pages designed to guide your choice in diametrically opposed directions. Your heart is racing, your hands are sweating and colorful logos flash before your eyes.
It is tempting to grab the closest payment processing app thinking that we’ll just migrate later. But it’s hard, risky and costly to move between billing systems, which contain all the subscription data bank cards and unpaid invoices.
We at Eleken are familiar with all the billing stuff — for our clients we cover one of the payment processing layers, the UI/UX design of billing. So we’ve picked billing solutions that are commonly used by SaaS startups, analyzed them, and made a comparison table for you to help you make a thoughtful choice.
Online payment processing services comparison chart
Аs you can see from the table above, the list of payment processing services can be broadly divided into two categories:
- All-in-one services that help with a payment gateway, merchant account, and a some degree of subscription management;
- Services that run SaaS subscription management exclusively and fully.
Full-stack services as Stripe or Braintree work fine for startups firmly off the ground with simple recurring billing and a few pricing tiers. But as your SaaS pricing strategy develops, so does its billing system. Universal apps often become insufficient as you start working with new market segments, expanding into new regions, and experimenting with plans, upgrading and billing frequency.
In cases when SaaS companies feel their all-in-one payment processing system is holding them back, they put a dedicated SaaS subscription platform like Recurly or Chargebee on top of services that provide them with a merchant account and SaaS payment gateway.
The benefit they gain is better reporting, full-on subscription management and more flexibility for different pricing strategies. For example, if you offer usage-based pricing, user-based pricing or numerous hybrid tiers, a dedicated SaaS subscription management platform will help billing for any of them.
Stripe recurring payments: simpler than ever
Stripe is the leader on the market of SaaS billing systems, thanks to its simplified setup process and integrations available for almost everything under the sun. It works as a payment gateway, merchant account, and subscription management system. Moreover, it has some analytics tools built on top, so that you can control your MRR, churn, and other SaaS metrics.
Stripe charges 2.9% + $0,3 per transaction, +1% extra for international cards and currency conversion, and that’s what annoys people in Stripe. Pricing may sound okay for startups, and the pricing is well aligned with the industry, but as you scale, the fees add up quickly.
Braintree payment processing as an alternative
Braintree is PayPal’s project grown to compete with Stripe and equipped with quite similar feature set. Just like Stripe, Braintree charges 2.9% + $0,3 per transaction, +1% extra for international cards and currency conversion. Unlike Stripe though, Braintree (all of sudden) offers PayPal for payments.
Another unique feature — Braintree allows you to use their gateway services even if you’re already locked into another payment processing account.
Flexibility with Authorize.Net payment gateway
Authorize.Net is a payment gateway solution by Visa that doesn’t provide a merchant account as a part of its service, so you can integrate Authorize.Net with your existing merchant account if you already have one. With Stripe, for instance, you don’t have such flexibility.
But in case if you need help with a merchant account, Authorize.Net can provide you with one through one of their resellers for an extra penny — the cost per transaction will rise to 2.9% + $0.3, plus $25 per month as a gateway fee.
2Checkout recurring payments for global business
Although all companies in our list work for international transactions, 2Checkout (now Verifone) excelled in its ability to accept payments globally. It is active in over 200+ countries and supports over 45 payment methods ranging from the most popular bank cards, online wallets, and PayPal to regional payment methods.
If you’re an international brand looking for a payment processing service with the highest global reach, consider this option.
Chargebee subscription management for B2B SaaS
Chargebee is a SaaS subscription platform that provides no merchant account or payment gateway. It’s a narrow tool for SaaS that gives you more features for managing recurring billing than all-in-one tools, like Stripe or Braintree.Chargebee is famous for numerous options for price optimization, upselling, revenue recognition, trials management and other SaaS-specific features.
The only in our list, Chargebee offers a kind of freemium pricing — for your first $100K in revenue, you pay nothing. After, you’d pay $299 per month for up to $50K monthly revenue. You won’t be charged a percentage of your revenue unless you break your revenue limit.
Chargify recurring billing for B2B SaaS
Chargify is a SaaS subscription management tool that helps to automate recurring billing and provides no merchant account or payment gateway, just like Chargebee. However, you can use gateways of Stripe, Authorize.Net, and a dozen of other providers from inside of Chargify.
The company positions itself as a SaaS-specific service and offers great flexibility in terms of billing scenarios. It suits for any trials, billing frequencies, targeted promotions and one-time charges. “If you can imagine it, we can bill it”, the Chargify’s webpage says.
The service has a free trial and the most expensive pricing on our list — the monthly subscription starts at $599 for revenue up to $75K per month. For comparison, Chargebee charges only $299 per month.
Recurly subscription management for churn reduction
Recurly is another subscription management and billing platform with features more or less similar to Chargify and Chargebee that is targeting SaaS, mobile, content and publishing businesses worldwide.
The company’s dunning system and churn reduction features tend to be outstanding — Recurly says its decline management capabilities can increase monthly revenue by an average of 12%. Recurly offers a free trial and charges $149 plus 0.9% of revenue for the Core pricing tier.
When you’ve chosen your perfect payment processing service
We’d like to summarize this SaaS payment processing services article in a way some may call a design agency professional deformation.
Put effort into your checkout design to make it pixel-perfect. Or you could consider evaluating an Eleken design agency that can help you with that.
Indeed, if you’re holding a UI/UX hammer, all problems look like nails that need to be designed properly. But if you only knew how many people leave in the middle of checkout due to one extra step or a little payment hiccup!
That’s the very last step of the buyer’s journey, and if your customers are unable to input their payment information quickly and correctly, all your previous marketing and sales efforts are for naught.
The second-to-last step of the buyer’s journey happens on your pricing page. And there happens to be a killer guide to SaaS pricing page design here at Eleken. Just thought you might be interested.
How to Design an App: A Quick Dive In Into UX Design for Startups
When using an app, the majority of people expect to spend less time and get more jobs done without facing any troubles on their way to achieving a goal. And every day these expectations are getting higher, and so does the competition. That makes the role of well-thought-out UI and UX more significant than ever for your application.
But as you are here, we may suggest, you understand the power of high-quality UI/UX design and your main concern is more practical — to learn how to design an app.
As a design agency with more than six years of experience in providing UI/UX design services our short answer would be: to design a great app you need a great team.
Still, this is a comprehensive guide, in which we will touch upon each aspect you may need to know when designing your own app: from idea to research and prototyping.
Below we will discuss:
- What design thinking is and why you need to know about it
- How to start designing an app from scratch and what stages to go through
- How to find an app designer
- What a redesign process looks like
- How much it costs to design an app
- Best practices to use in mobile app design
Design thinking and app development
No matter if you are a designer, a product manager, a product owner, or someone else, in case you’re going to create something new and innovative you should know about design thinking.
Design thinking is a methodology that is aimed at helping you solve problems creatively. Unlike the other problem-solving techniques and approaches, design thinking is focused specifically on the human side of creative problem-solving. That is, this approach helps you to come up with innovative solutions based on your users’ wants and needs.
Design thinking methodology includes five basic steps undergoing which you will improve your product’s UI/UX:
- Empathize. Understand the people you are trying to design an app for.
- Define. Break down the information you gathered in step one and turn it into useful insights (define the users’ needs, problems, challenges).
- Ideate. Try to come up with solutions/ideas that match with the insights you found in the empathize and define stages.
- Prototype. Analyze all the ideas from the previous step, select a few that you think might be worth implementing, and turn them into simple, testable prototypes.
- Test. Take your prototypes and show them to real users to get their feedback. Then take the insights from this step and get back to the define stage, and then to the ideate stage, and so on.
Each time you get a new idea or update the old one, you get back to the prototype and test phases again and again. That’s how you keep improving your solution.
The five stages of design thinking form the basic map of the methodology, however, the exercises within these circles can be different. The app design process we are going to describe in the next sections is based on the design thinking method, so keep this approach in mind when creating an app.
Designing an app from scratch: 7 steps
We will start from the moment where all you’ve got is a raw idea of the future application in your head, and lead you through the main stages of the product design process to help turn this idea into a concept, and to finally create a prototype.
However, you don’t necessarily need to go through all the following steps in strict order. The design process is not linear. Depending on your specific case, choose where to start, jump from one step to another, make changes, and iterate until you receive the best result.
And now we move to step #1.
- Define the purpose of your application
To design an app, you firstly need to understand what you want to create and why. At this moment it’s enough to take a pen and a paper, get concentrated, and think on the following questions:
- What is the main goal of your app?
- What users’ problems the app is going to solve?
- Why are users supposed to choose exactly your product?
As well, remember that an application is a business tool, that’s why when developing an app, take into account business requirements, user goals, and technology capabilities.
For example, let’s imagine you want to make a banking mobile application, then its purpose can be as follow:
- Business goals: reduce the cost of serving clients in bank branches and increase the average income per client.
- User goals: control the expenses.
- Application tasks: create a remote customer support channel and increase sales of banking products.
Setting goals is a vital stage because you can make a great design, but if the app solves neither the company's nor users’ problems, or the developers will not be able to implement it, design has no sense.
- Conduct research
It happens that product owners put forward hypotheses, without testing them at the research stage, and immediately send them to developers. The result is functionality that no one needs, and a waste of time and money. In order not to create useless apps, study the market, competitors, and potential users.
Most apps you can find on the market are not unique: they are either a combination or improved versions of already existing products. So, don’t be disappointed that you are not one of a kind. A competitive analysis is your chance to find areas for improvement and define your unique value proposition.
When revisiting (and comparing) your rivals, pay attention to the following things:
- What features does the app perform? Write out which features are common for all competitors, which are unique, and which features the app lacks.
- What pricing model does it use? Analyzing the way your rivals monetize their businesses will help you decide which pricing model is the best to use.
- When was it last updated? This information will show you if some specific app will be your active competitor or not.
- How many downloads does it have? The number of downloads will show you the app’s level of popularity. You will also understand whether the problem the app solves is relevant for users.
- What are the apps’ reviews and ratings? Analyzing apps’ ratings and reading users’ reviews help you understand what people like, and what they want to improve or add.
To make a great app you need to understand who and in what context will use your product. That’s why to make sure your app idea is viable and people need it, we should define and learn our target audience.
User interview is usually a one-to-one session where you ask the user questions and record their answers to learn how your users feel about a particular experience.
Through user interviews, you’ll gain an understanding of how your target audience talks about the app you are designing, what problems and pains they mention, what they want from the experience, what they currently enjoy or want to improve.
To conduct user interviews:
- Set your goals and objectives
- Recruit the participants
- Choose the location and set up
- Ask the right questions
User persona is a fictional but realistic portrayal of a target user of your app. Each persona represents an entire group of users. User personas embody everything you learn at the research phase: user goals, needs, challenges, fears, behavior patterns, and so on.
Creating user personas help to design a product, taking into account the needs of different individuals. For example, we used this research method when working on Handprinter, a unique startup with a goal of healing the Earth, to create an intuitive user flow.
- Write out the core feature set for an MVP
MVP stands for a minimum viable product, which is the version of a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development. An MVP helps you to get early data that confirms users' interest in your application. In other words, testing and improving an MVP helps you to make sure that you are investing in a project that is likely to succeed.
To come up with the right set of features for your minimum viable product:
- Write down all the features you’d like your app to perform. Don’t try to visualize the exact screens the app is going to have, just think about what you want your users to do with the help of the product.
- Take a look at this list and decide which of these features are compulsory to serve the app’s main purpose. Leave only those functions without which your application won’t be able to help users solve their primary problem.
Later, at the test phase, by analyzing the user feedback, you will be able to gradually add more features to an MVP until you find a perfect product-market-fit.
For example, one of our clients, Cylynyx, created a demo product to check which functionality their users would like to see in their product. After testing the demo, Cylynyx came to Eleken for a full-fledged MVP design with more diverse features.
- Think out the structure of the app
Now it’s time to think about how to design an app so that users can easily interact with it. That is, you have to think out an intuitive app structure.
Once you've decided what features the application will have, create a user flow - a flowchart that represents a path the user takes to get their jobs done with the help of your application.
User flows are very useful because they provide a logical idea of how an application should work and solve users’ problems.
As an example, here is the user flow diagram created for Handprinter that we already mentioned earlier.
Once the user flow is ready, you can map the user experience with wireframes.
Wireframes show how all screens will be connected and what elements they will display, from buttons and pop-ups to visuals and text. However, without presenting real content, photos, videos, colors, and fonts. Wireframes will give you a clear understanding of what screens you need to have designed, and how the app is supposed to work.
For instance, when we at Eleken designed wireframes for a freight tendering platform our main focus was on usability. As you can see below, we made them black and white to demonstrate the logic of the product so that nothing distracts our clients from the flow.
You can create wireframes in
- User testing
Once you’ve got the wireframes, test them on your colleagues, friends, your team, or perfectly conduct user testing.
Pay attention if your testers understand the purpose of each design element, find the structure clear and intuitive, and can easily navigate through the app. In case you find some inconsistency in the structure, keep refining, rearranging, and testing it until you receive great user feedback.
- Think out the visual part.
A good app should combine a consistent user experience with an appealing and intuitive user interface. That’s why after we manage to design a logical app architecture, we need to create mockups that show in detail what your finished product will look like.
First of all, search the internet for references that appeal to you and form them into a moodboard.
To create mockups, you can use the tools mentioned in the prototyping section (as a team of product designers, we choose Figma). Still, as UI and UX design have a huge impact on further app success, we recommend you opt for professional help at this point. And here you have different options.
- Variant “A”. You are a UI/UX designer and can design an app yourself /you already have a design team
In such a case, you can omit this section, and jump straight to stage 6 (prototyping and testing).
- Variant “B”. Cooperate with the designer 1-on-1
In case you've defined your goals, have a clear app vision, and understand what you want to achieve with the design, then hiring a UI/UX designer will work great for you.
There are different ways to hire UI/UX designers:
- Ask your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances for a reference (a word of mouth can have great power), or check the Clutch for designers with good reviews.
- Create a job offer at Upwork, LinkedIn, Toptal or look at designers’ portfolios at Behance, Dribbble.
- Once you receive CVs, pay attention to portfolios (do you like the designer’s style?) and experience (if you need to find a designer for your SaaS app, see if your applicant has had similar cases)
- During the interview ask a designer to explain one of their case studies in detail (what the problem was, how they identified the challenges, what their design process looked like, how they arrived at the suitable solution)
- Pay attention if you understand each other well during the conversation.
But apart from Variants A and B, there's another one, which is no less effective.
- Variant “C”. Cooperate with a design agency
In case you feel that your app is too complex, or you are not sure that you can cope with all the workload (research, wireframing, prototyping) alone, consider hiring a design agency. They can help you to design an app from scratch, redesign a piece of it, or help with any other aspect you have trouble with.
How to choose a web design agency?
The process of choosing a web design agency is, in fact, the same as hiring one designer: check the portfolio, ask about their design process, make sure you feel comfortable when communicating with each other.
What specialists do I expect to receive when hiring an agency?
As there are different types of agencies, depending on your needs you may receive a team with a different line-up. Though, the most common team composition is the following:
- UX designer. Takes care of a consistent user experience (wireframes, prototypes)
- UI designer. Develops visual concept of a product (mockups, UI kits, typography, color scheme)
- UX researcher. Conducts UX research and turns the data they get into valuable insights for a design team (user interviews, user personas, user testing, A/B testing, and so on)
- Project manager. A project manager is an intermediate between designers and you.
- UX copywriter. Creates content that helps users quickly navigate through the app and easily reach their goals.
To sum up, we want to tell you that no matter what option you choose, don’t forget to communicate with your design partner and give your feedback in time. Even the best professional won’t be able to complete the project without your involvement.
- Prototype and test again
Development is the most expensive part of any product. Therefore, it is important to check possible shortcomings and correct errors before handing an app layout to the development team. To test the application, the designer creates interactive prototypes - a rough version of the product that allows you to understand how the app looks and feels.
To design an app prototype, the designer assembles the mockups into a slideshow using a graphic editor or software (InVision, Sketch, Figma, AdobeXD). Prototypes make it possible to switch between screens by clicking on a specific area of the layout. Usually, these areas are transparent and are located on top of the drawn buttons, so it seems that the button is not drawn and static, but real.
For example, below you can see what the prototype that we created for Textmagic (customer experience platform) looked like.
How to redesign an app
At the beginning of the article, we promised you that this guide is going to contain everything you may need to know about app design. So, one more topic we want to briefly discuss here is app redesign.
In fact, the processes of designing and revamping the app are quite similar. Below we will briefly mention the main stages of product redesign, if you want more details, check our article “How to redesign an app”.
- Define your goals. Is your design outdated? Do you keep receiving negative customers’ reviews about the app interface? Do you want to do a rebranding? Make sure you make a redesign not just for the sake of redesign.
- Conduct the UX audit (competitor analysis, heuristic analysis, collect user feedback, analyze the existing design system)
- Develop visual solutions for all app’s screens (new user flow, wireframes, mockups, dynamic prototypes)
- Create a UI kit for a new design. UI kit is a set of default elements that we use to build a user interface (buttons, arrows, navigation elements, fonts, color scheme, and the like). Reusing components from the UI kit helps to quickly and easily create/extend an app while adhering to common style across all screens.
- Test, analyze, and review the feedback
Finally, to eliminate the risks that come with the redesign and correctly find the direction for refining an application, we recommend finding a reliable design partner.
How much does it cost to design an app?
And again a short answer: “In most cases, app design cost depends on the number of hours a designer needs to perform a scope of work.”
But in real life, you can’t predict the exact price for app design services because each product is unique, and each project is different. So, it takes a different time to come up with, develop, and test a suitable design solution.
As well, the price may depend on
- The designer’s experience (the more experienced the designer is, the higher their hourly rates would be)
- The set of features, and overall project complexity
- Ongoing expenses needed to operate a business
- Your level of preparation (if you, for example, conducted user research on your own, designers will be able to start from building wireframes, otherwise, they will have to spend additional time (and your money) on the research phase)
If you want a more detailed answer, read our article about the app design cost.
App design tips from Eleken
In conclusion, here are seven tips from our designers that you should consider when creating an application.
- Don’t put creativity over usability. Don’t forget that the product should be user-friendly, and the design should take into account users' needs, and not just your desire to be unique.
- Reuse design elements when it is possible. If you use a certain kind of design pattern for some piece of design, try to apply it for other blocks in the interface as well. This way it will be easier for users to navigate the app, and the design will become more consistent.
- Build the correct hierarchy in your interface. With the help of size or colors make sure the user clearly understands which design element is primary, and which one is secondary.
- Simplify the interface whenever you can. Get rid of all design elements that don’t help users get their jobs done faster and more efficiently.
- Don’t put more than three buttons on one screen. One screen should contain one main button and one-two secondary buttons. The rest of the buttons should be hidden.
- Good design does not need onboarding. Interface design is about managing the user's attention, the user should do what they're intended to without long descriptions/courses/tutorials.
- Remember about accessibility. Your app should be convenient for all types of users. Make sure that the fonts and colors you use make the interface readable/understandable/accessible for people with special needs.
Need more help in designing a web or mobile application? We at Eleken help our clients both with building products from scratch and redesigning the already existing apps, so don't hesitate to reach out to us.