Why good design is at the heart of everything we do

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Everyone loves design in some shape or form. Whether it’s that perfect suit you can picture yourself in at your best friend’s wedding, the sleek curves on a new Tesla that passed you on the motorway, or when you find out that the leaf on the Apple icon actually fits perfectly into the bite taken from the apple itself *mind blown*. When there’s real thought behind the detail, you notice it, whether that’s consciously or sub-consciously.

We’re a team that really cares about good design

The alternative to good design is always bad design. There’s no such thing as no design.

Of course, it’s a lot simpler, faster and cheaper to build things without having any design input, but investing in design pays off in spades when it comes to the end result. Anyone* can use an “off the shelf” UI (user interface) library to build a user interface and apply their brand colours. This encourages a mentality of “what can we use to show this data” rather than our mentality, which is, “how can we make this user interface as elegant and as easy to use as it can be”. The former can result in throwing data on a screen in a table (because that’s the easiest thing to do) and let the user figure it out for themselves. Where’s the thought and care in that?

Aside from the aesthetics, so much more can be gleaned from investing in good design. Ask yourself this: “Would you ever ask your builder to design your new house?”

Some might take that risk to save on costs but will no doubt live to regret it. Most of the time you have no choice but to use an architect in order to get sign-off, as it will need to comply with constantly evolving industry standards.

An architect and a builder have completely different disciplines, quite rightly. Architects have to understand how a family is going to live day-to-day in their beautiful new home. Working with the family to understand their needs and make sure they achieve their dream. Which way do doors open, how can the space be utilised, what brings the wow factor.  Whereas builders own the responsibility of making sure that house has solid foundations, is structurally sound and isn’t going to flood in a storm. They’re undeniably different.

Different standards?

Why don’t we have the same standards for web application development? Well, the truth is – we probably should and probably will in the future. It’s easy to forget that the internet has only been around for 50 years. According to, humans have been building houses for over ten thousand years. This means it’s upon us, as companies building software, to have a duty of care to live by our own standards, using other proven industries as a template.

With that in mind, would you want a software developer to design the thing you, the user, interact with every day? Of course you wouldn’t. And we wouldn’t either.

Respect the process

Before our developers ever set eyes on a new feature or enhancement specification, our product designers work with our clients to gather lots of information about the problem that we’re looking to solve. Understanding the problem fully means that we can tackle every design challenge creatively. We can come up with new ways to innovative and create brand new tools and functionality to make our users lives better. Using our design team’s expertise, we digest and simplify before we start designing ideas for solutions. We then go through rounds of design iterations, in collaboration with our development teams, until we’re happy to share our prototypes. Then, very importantly, we go through a feedback cycle with our clients to make sure that we haven’t missed anything or if there’s anything we could easily add that could make the feature or enhancement sing.

What does all of this mean for all of our users? It means less ‘clicks’ to do the things you need to do. It means not searching for things you need because these things are intuitively where you’d expect them to be. It means being able to do your job more efficiently and effectively and, most of all, it means that you use our software with a smile on your face, rather than in frustration or anger.

To quote Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

At Paycircle, we’re changing payroll for good and we put our users (and good design) at the heart of everything we do. We’re passionate about good design and we really hope our users notice our attention to detail – even if it’s only sub-consciously!

Author: Catherine Pinkney