How to design a SaaS platform with no design skills

Minh Pham
3 min readApr 23, 2019

Everyday is different

Two weeks ago, I was doing Lead Generation to find Customer Conversation in an efficient way. And it worked out well. I was able to speak with twenty or so potential customers. They gave me great feedbacks and insights for my business. Over the past week, I was a Product Manager trying to be discerning enough to sort out some of the facts from the fiction and prioritize features to be implemented. I have now 10+ clients willing to help me beta test the platform.

Today, I need to be a UX Designer if I wish to release a decent product.This is a role I didn’t want to have. I’m so bad at designing. I don’t have the skills. Therefore, I started to code like a moron by copying-and-pasting everything that looks cool (Stripe’s Navigation Menu, Payfit’s Landing Page, etc.). And guess what? It looks horrible and my front end code base was growing tremendously since I had no vision of the product as a whole. I have to cope with the fact that I need to increase my design skills or pay for a freelance designer. Unfortunately for me, I had to go with the first option.

Figma > Pen + Paper

I was looking for the easiest design tool on earth. Look no further, it’s Figma.Figma is a cloud-based design tool that is similar to Sketch in functionality and features but it’s way easier to use, you can create components and generate CSS code and easily share your work. I’m thinking about switching from Sass to Styled Component to improve my front end architecture and fully think in components so I can leverage Figma.

That’s cool but I don’t plan to be a Designer/UX designer professional in the long run. How can I learn quickly and get things done? I used the following materials:

I learned the basics of Figma: using components and instances, creating styles, using grid layouts, how to create an icon, how to create a sticky navbar, how to create a signin form, etc.

I also bought a SaaS design kit for Figma. It’s my best investment so far. It’s only $32, your startup can handle it. It saves me hours of design time and I can focus on my project. I was able to design a proper first prototype in few days. But don’t get me wrong, UX design is hard and it takes a lof of time to structure your ideas.

Just the few blurry screens :-)

Tomorrow, I will need to be a co-founder. I’m looking for a resourceful person to join me on my adventure and help me shape an even better vision of the product. There is so much to do.



Minh Pham

Software Engineer, ex Bpifrance 🚀, recursive learner, passionate about kyokushin karate | #startup #tech #innovation