Enter the New Book for SaaS Founders: The UI Audit

Published August 14, 2015 by Jane Portman

Here’s how my new book for founders was born.

A couple months ago I wrapped up my consulting practice. Entirely! The idea was in the air, but the final decision happened after traveling to Philadelphia and meeting Amy Hoy (and her awesome gang) in person. Our conversations were so inspiring! We talked through our long-term goals, and I finally felt in control over my future. I realized that it’s time to move on to doing my own things.

In my lucrative productized consulting, only sky was the limit. But it didn’t scale. The goal was to stop trading hours for dollars.

So I set out to build a product for SaaS founders.

Why target founders, not consultants like myself?

In our circles, it’s very popular to write books for consultants and freelancers. That’s because everyone is a seasoned consultant, and it seems so natural to pass on that wisdom. I did my fair share of that, too: in my first book, Mastering App Presentation, I taught designers how to present (and therefore, sell) their work. My second book, The Principles of Amazing UI Design, was also written for designers.

Moreover, last year I had plans for another product targeted at consultants. It would have been a training course called Client Onboard, but it never saw the light of day. Though the project had a solid start — including a compelling sales page (here’s a screenshot).

Why didn’t Client Onboard make it to the launch? In the process, I realized one important thing. I want to be targeting people like my clients (who are primarily SaaS founders) — not people like myself.

Founders are an awesome crowd. They’re charming, intelligent, self-driven. They don’t need to be educated about value-based pricing. They’re my friends. I’ve lived off MicroConf the last two years!

The idea was to transform expensive consulting into an affordable DIY product

Having helped so many founders, I was perfectly aware of their UI/UX problems. I also knew that founders are willing to pay consultants a lot to solve them.

Why not create a more affordable solution? It could be an infoproduct that captures some of my UI design expertise (valued as very expensive). It could teach founders some of this knowledge.

Design has never been a top priority for founders

After living in founder forums for a few weeks, I found that design problems are very serious. Design services are expensive. Freelancers are flaky. Founders easily admit that they’re terrible at design. They dream of that perfect look and feel for their precious product, and they know it’ll make a huge difference in sales and user experience.

But design is never a top priority!

The number of UI/UX forum topics looks like minor statistical noise compared to other problems. There are so many more important things. And I agree! If I were you, I’d worry more about sales, payment processing, cash flow, payroll, data safety, servers running, customer support, churn, marketing, etc etc.

There’s so much on your plate that you put design on hold until you sort out these problems. Unsurprisingly, they keep coming up! And that big expensive design problem remains hanging over your head like the sword of Damocles.

Pandering to his king, Dionysius, Damocles exclaimed that, as a great man of power and authority surrounded by magnificence, the king was truly fortunate. Dionysius then offered to switch places with him. Damocles eagerly sat down in the king’s throne surrounded by every luxury. But then saw a huge sword hanging above the throne, held only by a single hair of a horse’s tail. Damocles finally begged the king that he be allowed to depart because he no longer wanted to be so fortunate, realizing that with great fortune and power comes also great responsibility.

— From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You know you’re leaving money on the table, and this bothers you. But it remains a potential profit lost — never a real danger. The sword never falls down. That’s the business of design — never key priority.

(Maybe that’s why design founders are so often called heroes of the day? They address design well from the very beginning, and that can be a huge differentiating factor.)

So I had to actualize this pain, finally making it front-and-center. And offer a fix.

Why a book, not a course?

A book and a course are both very popular formats. Courses are actually better: with the similar amount of effort, you can set a much higher price.

However, there’s one difference I see between these formats. A course means significant self-improvement achieved through a serious time commitment. You invest into a course to improve yourself, build new skills that will transform your career. You invest both money and time into something grandiose.

While a book implies less commitment. You just read through it in a few hours, absorb a few ideas and implement them.

Given that the founders never consider design top priority, would I have much luck calling my new product a course? They’ll just postpone that serious commitment, like they postpone anything else that’s not critical. Simple psychology.

So… It was destined to be a book. An affordable, DIY type of book for founders that would help them with UI design problems. A quick fix that’s so desired.

A no-brainer!

So what is the book about?

The upcoming book is called The UI Audit and I promised to launch it by the middle of September. Now founders can re-think their UI from a new standpoint, find & fix obvious UX flaws, and even have a take on styling — all by themselves, without hiring a professional designer.

Here’s how I assemble material for the book. I’m tearing down (privately) about ten SaaS apps run by my friends, and filing the design patterns & flaws found there. It’s a tedious process, but I’m sure the output will be priceless.

Sign up for the Free 1-Hour UI Audit crash course

As a call to action, today I’m asking you to sign up for a new free course for founders. It contains the most important concepts from the book, and will go live within the next couple weeks. It’s called The 1-Hour UI Audit. This is easily the the best way to tackle your UI/UX issues. All you need is one hour of your time!

Click here to sign up for the Free 1-Hour UI Audit crash course >>

And please enjoy being a founder, my friend, even if it entails so much responsibility!

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