Salesforce isn’t just a CRM, it’s one of the world’s largest digital platforms . It's easy to get lost in the glut of features, interfaces, and data fields that make up this all-in-one SaaS monolith. So – how do you balance maximizing the use of available features AND an effective and usable interface? It’s all about user experience.
What is good User Experience?
User Experience is defined as the overall experience of a person using a product or system. There are as many criteria to assess UX as there are features in Salesforce. For starters though – we find these criteria are a good starting point.
- Useful – Utility + Usability: The features must be right; people must be able to use them.
- Elegant – Simple, beautiful, and intuitive workflows that accomplish a great deal without requiring a great deal.
- Targeted - Through research and insight we determine the core business and user needs and remain focused on solving the right problems for the right people.
- Accessible – can be accessed by users with a full range of abilities and platforms
- Compelling - The user is enticed, drawn into the system, their needs are met, and rewards are given early and often, we anticipate their needs and speak to them.
So, when you’re looking at your dashboards, data entry screens, etc., you should evaluate your existing Salesforce UX based on the above criteria – the easiest way to do that is to ask your users the following questions: Is it useful? Is it elegant? Is it built to suit the needs of the users? accessible? is it compelling?
It’s time to improve your Salesforce UX
Now that you’ve asked those questions, you’ve probably identified some clear areas that need improvement. You may have screens with redundant or unused data fields, or you may have noticed inconsistent naming across objects and fields within Salesforce itself – these issues are extremely common and are easy enough to fix.
Salesforce’s default UI configuration offers a good amount of information without being overwhelming – it’s easy to mess that up.
Remove unused fields
Unused fields provide no benefit or purpose; they take up space that could be used for more valuable information. You may not be in danger of hitting any limits yet – but failing to appropriately manage fields can come back to bite you quickly. Not only does removing unused fields free up room for others, but it allows you to paredown existing page layouts and make workflows more efficient. Additionally –make sure you work with your users to determine the right fields and order to optimize workflow and user experience.
Work collaboratively to design and implement page layouts
There is no one-size-fits all set of criteria to determine what is and is not an effective page layout, but there are definitely some best-practices. Here are a few:
- Choose a single focal point on the page – make sure that you’re clearly drawing attention to a specific area of value.
- Have a clearly defined hierarchy – organize information so that it presents the highest priority of information first.
- Keep it simple! Resist the urge to add every data field to the page layout.
You need to work with all users across the entirety of your Salesforce org to design and build effective layouts, but that is not enough. Iteration and learning from mistakes are the keys to success for efficient workflows, you cannot simply ask users once and assume you are getting the best result. Take an analytic driven agile approach to building efficient workflows. Test it, change it, test it again, and iterate until you achieve your desired state.
Salesforce allows you to add custom fields to almost any object on the platform but before you hit add, make sure that the field you are adding adds value. Customization should be used to provide previously unavailable functionality – otherwise it’s adding confusion.
Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.
Consistency is key to addressing several of the UX criteria we outlined to start – no matter the cloud or integration. Maintaining consistency throughout the user experience builds credibility, and makes the experience effortless and intuitive for the user.
Use consistent naming conventions. Regardless of whether you are using marketing cloud or sales cloud – fields and data should always be defined. Salesforce has their own recommended taxonomy but the most important aspect of naming choices for all data inputs is always consistency.
Whether it’s a campaign name or custom field that needs to be carried across multiple clouds – follow the same naming practices.
UI and layout choices should be uniform. No matter the cloud, integration, or AppExchange app – make sure that page layouts, styling, type choices, and field placements are uniform. Repeating styles and layouts provides the viewer a sense of interrelated content.
Be consistent in your inconsistency. I know we just finished telling you to always be consistent, but exceptions are what rules are for, right? Use any clear deviations from existing design choices to call out specific elements that are notably different from page to page or field to field. Use visual hierarch to guide users to the highest priority fields and elements.
Clearly define data management practices within your organization
Managing data is one of the core functions of Salesforce – without good data management practices, all aspects of the UX will suffer. When running reports or viewing client information – if you aren’t clearly defining practices for the data coming in, the user experience will suffer.
What do clearly defined data management practices look like? Well – that depends on your organization, the one concrete recommendation is you should run a health check on your Salesforce Org every quarter so that you can figure out how, when, and where to improve the way you manage data
If you need help streamlining your workflows and getting the most from Salesforce, we’re here to help! For over 23 years, fivestar* has helped organizations navigate the complexity of implementing new technology. To help organizations seamlessly and cost-effectively implement Salesforce solutions, we have partnered with Extentia – a Salesforce Gold Consulting partner and one of only a select few PDO-Specialist Navigators in the world. Extentia has worked on over 250 salesforce projects over the last 10 years, across industries ranging from logistics and manufacturing to healthcare.
Download our UI/UX Scorecard Below
About the Author: Cameron Avrigean
Cameron Avrigean is a Marketing Coordinator at fivestar*. Cameron is an analytics fanatic with a penchant for copywriting and social media. He works with the marketing team to create engaging content, and is looking for the next big thing. Cameron holds a B.S. in Business Management from Point Park University.
About the Author: Antoinette Antonacci
Antoinette Antonacci is a Graphic / UI Designer at fivestar* and brings experience in creating visual concepts and appealing interfaces. She works closely with the marketing team to create solutions to creative challenges using various applications and human-centered design. Antoinette holds a BA in Media Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design and Interaction Design from Robert Morris University.