"A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it's not that good." - Martin LeBlanc
Recently Skuid and Salesforce Ben hosted a webinar on UI/UX 101 for Salesforce professionals. Sarah Hughes, Technical Training Lead & Senior Solutions Engineer at Skuid, and Salesforce MVP Christine Marshall discussed why UI/UX matter in your Salesforce apps, how to build apps that work for your users, and more.
What does it take to create experiences that users will adopt? Here’s what Sarah and Christine had to say.
Struggling with adoption? Look at your UI.
Sarah: I think we all understand adoption, but a lot of times we struggle to understand why our apps aren’t getting adopted. And UI is one of the first places we can look. It will lead you to this really vicious cycle of poor data and lack of trust in the system…
As Salesforce admins, you're living in front of your computer all day and you’re already really comfortable with the technology and using applications. One of the things to remember with why UI/UX matter in adoption and productivity is that many times our users are not as comfortable. That's not part of their daily function.
Christine: And I think it's important to acknowledge that adoption is heavily influenced by productivity and clicks. So, if users feel like it takes too many clicks or it's not intuitive, or it takes too long, then they're not going to want to use the system.
We must remember that Salesforce is not just a huge database for storing our customer names and addresses. The whole point of Salesforce is that it can do so much more than that: we can automate and improve the user experience of managing sales and services and marketing. So, productivity has to be a key consideration for us.
Impersonate your users.
Sarah: Get your application into a test environment or a sandbox where you're not messing up your production data and really start impersonating your users…video is one of my favorite tools when you see this indication that you have too many clicks or there’s slow performance.
I really love to get into Zoom and set a meeting with myself. Impersonate a user and count the clicks. How many clicks did it take this user to perform this function within the application?
I think we get really caught up in the requirements of getting that data in and building pages and layouts that meet the technical requirement at the end of the day. And we forgo this idea of, “What did it take for somebody to get there?”
And then I've done this little bit of math before, too. How many clicks and how many times a day does this user have to perform this function? How much time over the week or month or year are we spending on this one piece, and is there an opportunity to lessen that time?
Use Salesforce cases to track support requests and spot trends.
Christine: I think you need to start tracking your user support requests and understanding what is a lack of training. Is it the user interface? What is the problem? And also it helps you justify to your company (that may not think that user interface and user experience are important).
If you use something like cases to track these requests and you can say, "50% are support requests that could be fixed by improving our user interface," that's a very strong thing to be able to document and have clear evidence. And you should start to spot trends as well. So, not just lots of support requests, but is it frequently the same request?
Because what that can do is help you identify, “Where do I start?” If you’ve got lots of user interface issues or lots of different pages and areas that you can tackle, where do you begin? Well, look at what your users are asking you. And that should give you a clear idea of where to start.
If you can’t build a custom app, identify simple changes to make a more consistent experience.
Christine: I think there are just so many things that we can do that are so simple, and things that I'm sure a lot of you might already be doing, or that just seem a bit obvious and then you think, "Why am I not doing that already?"
So, things that we need to think about are designing apps for our users that only contain the tabs that they need, or putting the tabs in a relevant order.
When we're designing our Lightning page layouts, we should have the buttons in the same order where possible. Maybe edit should always come first. We should keep our components in the same place. Are you going to land on the details? Are you going to land on your related lists? Are you going to land somewhere else? Where is your activity timeline going to go? Where is your chapter feed going to go?
And then where possible—and there are always some exceptions—keep them consistent because that will really help your users feel like it's intuitive. They'll know what to expect as they're navigating through Salesforce, and Salesforce just keeps opening up more and more options for us to improve our user experience.
Things like dynamic forms—the ability to display components or field sections dynamically—and that's great for custom objects at the moment, and not available for standard objects yet. But again, that's where things like Skuid can come in and you can do that using a tool instead.