Case Study: Cintra Cloud Pay Variance Indicators


2024/25 Payroll Legislation Guide

The facts, figures, thresholds and allowances for 2024/25, in one handy guide.

Since the release of Cintra Cloud our product designers have been conducting ongoing user research to ensure that we continue to develop our software to meet the needs of our client’s. This has resulted in the development of important features to help give users what they need, quickly and easily. The pay variance indicator is one example of such a feature; simple but extremely effective.

The pay variance indicator feature developed from us seeking to understand:

  1. What information is key for users to carry out their role efficiently and effectively?
  2. How do users engage and interact with a payroll – or multiple payrolls?

in order to improve the user experience and develop a product that met and exceeded expectations. To answer these questions, we learned more about our user’s workflow, processes, goals and the current challenges they face. From this, we were able to clearly define the problem and design a solution to solve it. The end result is a feature which is both easy to use and offers an efficient and effective way for them to carry out their workflow.

Understanding the user

  • Research and Interviews: we conducted a number of interviews with users of varying roles and experience across our current client base. As well as users who had never used Cintra software before. This range in experience (both product and role) allowed us to discover traits and challenges that aren’t specific to our current product. We avoided only learning from experienced users who, over the years, may have developed new ways of working to get around core challenges to their roles that are specific to Cintra.
  • Identifying the problem: we quickly identified that it is time consuming and difficult to view and analyse key data that is vital in processing payroll. Although the data is available, it is often hidden in reports and therefore goes undetected. Some of this important data could potentially prevent the payroll from being processed. It could also lead to incorrect payments and deductions, directly affecting employees, all of which contribute to a poor experience.
  • The solution: when we dug into the type of core information that could potentially be brought to the surface of the payroll, we learned that total net/gross pay, new starters/leavers indicator, and pay variance indicators are the key common pieces of data that should be made more prominent in order to better aid the process.
  • Conclusion: This is something so simple but potentially incredibly powerful as it has the ability to reduce the amount of time and effort that users have to spend processing payroll. By increasing the prominence and visibility of this data it reduces the chances of future error which in turn should reduce the frustration and stress levels that some users are currently experiencing.

Designing software which gives clients what they need:

We set about designing a concept for the payroll view, that focused not only on the core goals of this part of the system but also on surfacing key information that would address some of the problems discovered during the research stage. The Cintra Design System, allows us to rapidly prototype high-fidelity mockups and get early concepts in front of users for feedback and iteration.

Early feedback of this was incredibly positive:

“This is going to save us so much time”

“This will have a huge impact [on our workload/processes]”

“This is key to quickly understanding change”

Users then explained how else they would use this information day-to-day and how it could be improved further. The question of ‘can we filter and sort?’ by pay variance came up numerous times throughout the sessions. We took this information and further validated the ideas with a wider pool of users. This resulted in an expansion of the initial concept and adding additional functionality to the payroll page:

  • The pay variance lozange was made more prominent with detailed tool tips. It was given its own column in the data table, to allow the user to sort by size.
  • The addition of filter options was added to allow the user to only display employees with a pay variance (seen below).
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Chloe Walker
Chloe is Head of Marketing at the PSSG, leading the team across all our brands with her highly analytical, strategic and creative skill set. Outside of work, she loves spending time outdoors, running and cycling!