Changing the look and feel of software that is used by tens of thousands of people worldwide almost daily is a big step – especially when what you are aiming for is a fundamental re-think of the way super users navigate around the system.
Yet, that’s what our development team decided had to happen to make us stand out amongst HR systems. We caught up with our dev team to explore the recent changes and to better understand the needs these updates were meeting.
Why make the decision to completely re-think the navigation?
Having started out as a relatively straight-forward people management platform, Cezanne HR has grown rapidly to cover many more processes and to offer much more flexibility in regard to configuration and ever-increasing functionality. As a result, the system had outgrown its navigation. It just wasn’t as easy to find things as we wanted it to be – especially for HR admins.
With more modules and configuration options in the pipeline, it was really important to take a fresh look at the navigation, to ensure we had an approach in place that would work for customers and support the continued growth of the product.
We also wanted to refresh the design at the same time to introduce a more modern feel. We’ve flattened out the design, with better use of colour and iconography, to declutter the screens. It’s now far easier for our customers to find what they need, faster.
How did you approach the re-design?
We conducted both exploratory and evaluative research, including questionnaires and customer feedback to really understand what improvements would be most beneficial for our users. To refine the concepts that were to be taken forward, we underwent a process of sketching and prototyping, seeking feedback as we went.
Then we invited user testing of the solutions, using interviews and heat mapping alongside other methods to make sure the new user interface was designed with our users’ expectations in mind.
Did you discover anything interesting?
Yes, we discovered just how important prototyping and testing is! We made some assumptions early on about where to put key elements of the navigation but, watching how the system was used in practice led us down a different path.
Could you run through the most significant changes?
Firstly, we’ve moved all of the set-up tools into a new administration dashboard, so it’s much clearer where HR admins need to go for day-to-day activities, such as adding a new starter or checking on their documentation, versus where they need to go to configure parts of the system. Configuration can include adding new working time patterns, setting up different onboarding portals, or configuring different security roles.
Then we looked at helping HR admins get to where they need to go faster, so there’s now a feature that lets them customise their own navigation to pin popular items to the top of the navigation.
We also introduced more flexibility around colour themes. In part, this is to allow customers to adopt their own brand colours in the product and in part, as an aid to navigation.
HR admins can take advantage of different colour options for the different modules to improve scannability and improve context. This can, for example, make it easier for HR to see when they are working with data that’s related to employee performance, versus training and development or absences.
Has anything changed for employees and their managers?
We put a lot of thought into this. Unlike HR admins, who use the system virtually every day and will quickly adapt to changes, employees may only log in once a week – sometimes even less. We wanted to improve the usability, but in a subtle way, so the system still ‘felt’ the same and was as easy to use – just better!
The biggest changes end users will have seen is the introduction of breadcrumbs, as an alternative way of navigating through the system and to make it easier to quickly identify where they are in Cezanne HR.
Cezanne HR is a powerful system with a depth and flexibility in functionality that makes it ideal for growing companies. But this comprehensive array of solutions shouldn’t make it time consuming for users to find what they need in the system. The updated user interface solves this problem for current and future system users.
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