Page layouts are dead! Long live page layouts!
April 20, 2024
If you edit a page layout, this is what it looks like.

If Salesforce had to choose a descriptor for its relationship with page layouts, it would be, “It’s complicated.“

Have you ever built something in the latest version of [insert software name here] and then handed it off to a client only to discover they can’t open it because they have an old version of said software? I have. The lack of backwards compatibility always annoyed the s$&% out of me. 

Well. It seems Salesforce “solved” that problem by building the new version around the old version. Lightning is the industry standard but some companies still use Classic, and Salesforce lets them.

Page layouts are a relic of Salesforce Classic.

Could Salesforce phase them out eventually and only have Lightning pages? I like to think it’s possible—even if it would require a minor revolution for both Salesforce customers and Salesforce themselves.

Lightning pages are where Salesforce has a chance to shed its stereotypes of being bulky, overwhelming, and ugly. Companies don’t usually think about having UX designers help implement Lightning pages even though user experience is just as important for this type of a build as it is in Experience cloud sites. 

If you pair UX with a developer or two, you can help companies push through the perception that users either have to muddle through a messy org every day or spend millions of dollars to start over. They don’t have to do either of those things. Designers create the journey, developers build it out on a Lightning page using dynamic forms and screen flows. Declarative UX. Magic. 

Let’s talk about best practices.

Maximize usage of Lightning pages, screen flows, and dynamic forms. Once you do, you start thinking “how do I want this to work” instead of “what will Salesforce let me do.”

Create one lightning page per broad role.(i.e. don’t go too granular, you don’t have to make 1,000 lighting pages)

Don’t overload your user by showing ALL THE THINGS. The top half of the page should be dedicated to what a user needs to do NOW. Are you asking the user for information? Ask only for what’s needed NOW. Does the user need to complete several actions? Which comes first? Show only that one. It’s called progressive disclosure and your users will love you for it.

But the business says we need to show ALL THE THINGS. If users still need to access all of the other 595 fields, group fields together in a sensible way, chunk them up, and put each chunk in its own tab under the main area we just talked about.

It’s becoming clear that the time-honored page layouts of yore are giving way to the user-focused landscapes of Lightning pages, screen flows, and dynamic forms.

Embracing these tools isn’t just about adapting to new technology; it’s about spearheading a revolution in user experience design within Salesforce. By prioritizing intuitive, clean, and task-oriented designs, we’re not just changing how users interact with Salesforce; we’re redefining the very essence of its usability. The future beckons with the promise of Salesforce environments where efficiency, clarity, and user satisfaction are not just goals, but realities—a testament to the transformative power of integrating UX design into all types of Salesforce projects.