If someone were to ask you what the Lightning Experience was all about, your first reaction might be, “It’s the new Salesforce UI.”
While that is technically correct as Lightning Experience is the brand name given to the user interface that replaces what we now refer to as Salesforce Classic, the implementation of this user interface is part of the larger vision of a unified Salesforce experience across all devices.
Lightning Experience takes the old way of doing things in Salesforce Classic – long, scrolling scrolling pages – and blows it up into tiny pieces. You to reassemble those pieces in the way that makes the most sense for your business users.
You can even create your own custom pieces, called components, and include those alongside components that Salesforce gives you out of the box, or components built by third parties that you download from the AppExchange. It is all completely seamless.
Focus on Getting Things Done
While the initial release of Lightning Experience focused on making salespeople more productive, the interface is rapidly evolving to improve on all areas of CRM.
The ability to seamlessly transition work between the desktop and mobile devices will enable every Salesforce user to find new ways to connect with customers and increase the effectiveness of business processes across the enterprise.
While the initial release of Lightning Experience wasn’t quite complete, it did include over 25 new features and a total redesign of many pages. Some of the notable improvements included:
- Component-based record pages that focused on getting work done in the context of the Salesforce object record, rather than having to scroll to find pertinent related information
- Completely redesigned reports and dashboards that enable visualizing customer data in new ways with flexible layouts and additional filtering options
- An Opportunity Workspace designed to help salespeople get to Closed Won faster by focusing on actions instead of raw data
- Kanban boards for visualizing Opportunities in their various deal stages and enabling salespeople to drag and drop multiple Opportunities to new stages rather than having to edit and save individual records
- An enhanced Notes feature that enables users to create notes with rich text and attach them to multiple records at the same time
Unified Salesforce Experience
Following the mobile-first mindset adopted with the launch of the Salesforce1 platform, the same component framework that is used to power Salesforce1 is what underlies Lightning Experience.
The incorporation of design principles from the Salesforce Lightning Design System ensures that users get the same responsive experience whether they access Salesforce from desktop browsers, mobile devices, tablets, wearables, or anything else that comes along in the near future.
Developers and ISV partners can now build custom components and applications that plug right into Lightning Experience, rather than having to build custom pages and standalone applications.
Blurring the Lines Between Clicks and Code
Experienced Salesforce developers know that a key consideration when desiging Salesforce solutions is to find the right balance between using declarative, out-of-the-box functionality and the programmatic capabilities of the platform.
We lovingly refer to this dichotomy as “Clicks vs. Code” in the world of Salesforce development. With Lightning Experience and the introduction of the Lightning App Builder, the discussion shifts from clicks or code to clicks and code, as developers can now build custom components and expose them to the Lightning App Builder interface, allowing admins to drag and drop these reusable components onto a canvas and assemble new Lightning Pages.
While this sentiment may strike fear, uncertainty and doubt into the hearts of developers, anytime we can move from code to clicks or enable admins to maintain Salesforce customizations, it is a good thing.
Lightning Experience enables a closer relationship between admins and developers. Developers can focus on building reusable components, admins can focus on maintaining the user experience.