Last night Salesforce held a global online event where they introduced Salesforce Lightening Experience, a major redesign of the user interface on Salesforce that will be available for Sales Cloud in Fall 2015. I attended a “viewing party” with the Kitchener User Group – 1 of the 100+ such groups around the world that broadcast the live event in a group meetup setting. As a departure from my usual blog post format, I decided to share with my readership, who may not have attended one of these events, some of what I thought were key takeaways.
It does look beautiful.
With all the advances in the past few years – HTML5, the need for responsiveness across devices, touch screens – the old desktop browser interface was starting to look a bit chunky and felt restrictive. Though I believe it did do what it needed to, pulling together correlated information into one comprehensive view of data.
Lightning Experience is based on the user interface that was developed for the Salesforce1 mobile app. If you have used it at all, then you will recognize that. The side menu is simpler and collapsible. It’s what I would call an airy-er less cluttered look. Clearer because it’s laid out well and has more white space – and yet with the ability to hover on items and see pop-ups of detail. It’s highly customizable by the user. There is a revamp to the activity feed, to better see what is going on. The home page is more customizable then the past. There is an Opportunity board screen where you can drag and drop records across the sales process stage columns to easily update status. Graphs on dashboards seem to draw on some of the look, feel and manoeuverability of Wave, the new Salesforce Analytics cloud product.
I like it.
It’s also hard to talk about a Salesforce event, without also talking about the event itself. I think in general they also put on the one of the best dog-and-pony shows ever. And yet, even though it was a highly stylized marketing event, it also presented a full 360 view of the change. It started off with an initial 30 minute walk-about tour with informal chats with people from the Salesforce community – developers, community leaders, education, mvp experts, partners, customers. Followed by a formal 1-hour on-stage presentation that included demos and formal announcements around availability, deployment, development and extensibility. An onDemand version of the event can be found at https://www.salesforce.com/form/conf/events-global-preview.jsp
In terms of content of the presentation there were a few key takeaways.
The updated interface will be available for Sales Cloud in October, with general availability across all products in Q1 2016. As of Aug 25th, a preview of the Lightening Experience for Sales Cloud has been made available as part of the Salesforce developer platform. Salesforce is offering to allow clients to apply to a pilot program to use it early.
Control over deployment
Face it, organizations often are resistant to change. Even when change is an improvement. With this in mind, Salesforce is giving full control over the speed of rolling out the new interface to it’s customers. It will retain a version of the “Classic” interface.
Salesforce has released a number of new training modules about Lightening Experience on Trailheads, a training interface for Admins and Developers.
The one gotcha point that came during the discussion with a partner was the impact on customized Visualforce pages. There may be an impact to partners that have created Apps using the classic UI interface, or clients that have customized pages. There is a task to be done to re-test installed Apps. As well, probably projects for partners to come up with new versions of their Apps on the AppExchange that use the new Lightning design. Given the extensibility of Salesforce, for some companies this might not be a small task.
I still have to gain access to the preview and play with it more myself to fully comment on user experience. Though, I know already, I’m going to love it.
Originally published On LinkedIn on August 26, 2015