What is Lightning Experience?
Lightning Experience is the modern, beautiful user experience from Salesforce — a reinvention of the desktop environment to better support your business processes. If you wanted an intuitive, intelligent interface that helps your sales and service teams work better, Lightning Experience is your guy.
Lightning extends further than CRM, and also transforms Service Cloud, Apps, Platform and more. No matter what department you’re in, you can experience the same user interface!
What influenced this change, you ask? Well, it’s all mobile’s doing, really. Sales reps were already using mobile to research prospective clients, get directions to meetings, and connect socially with customers, so Salesforce took what reps love about mobile, and applied it to desktop. Simple as that, really.
This means the pages are now optimised with users in mind, and there are lots of new, flexible, interactive features and tools that help sales and service teams visualise and focus on the right deals, the right customers, and the right activities every time they log on. Lightning was basically built from everything Salesforce has learned from its users over the years.
Why is it called Lightning?
Lightning is fast, visually stunning, and each lightning bolt is different to the next. This is a lot like Lightning Experience. It’s fast, beautiful, and unique to each sales and service user.
What about Classic?
Some orgs, depending on their company size and culture, might not be ready to move off Salesforce Classic yet. This can take time, and Salesforce knows this. That’s why Salesforce have made it easy to use both to ease users over to the new way of doing things.
What makes Lightning so cool?
There are too many benefits to cover them all here, but here are some of the best bits.
Efficient navigation and the ability to switch between custom-branded apps
Quick access to productivity tools like Notes and Recent Items in the utility bar
New record layouts that focus on what you can do, instead of what you can view
Turbocharged list views that let you easily filter and see your data
Beautiful dashboards with components that span both columns and rows
Sleek report views that you can filter quickly to see the data that’s most important to you.
Start the day right with a customisable home page. You can use the Lightning App Builder to create custom Home pages for different profiles. There’s a performance chart to help you monitor how close you are to achieving your goals, and you can see relevant, timely news articles about customer, partners and competitors.
You can also view upcoming meetings and tasks due today, and identify key issues and selling activities with the Assistant and Top Deals.
This action-optimised workspace encapsulates your sales process, but makes the whole thing much faster and smarter. How, you ask? It showcases key record details in the new highlights panel at the top of the page, and has a handy composer to quickly log calls, create tasks, send emails and more.
It can also show you all the related info you need on hover using quick view, without having to leave the opportunity page. Customise coaching scripts for each step in your sales process, create records quickly with fewer clicks, and close those deals faster than ever!
Accounts and Contacts
Again, the layout’s been optimised for accounts and contacts, but with organised content based on their primary use case — reference. This means that sales and service reps can find and gather the information they need at a glance.
You can also get key coaching details on account records with a customizable Path to support your sales process, work smarter and keep your data clean with field-level duplicate matching, and review your past and upcoming activities at a glance.
Reports and dashboards
The updated dashboard editor features components that span both columns and rows, and gives users the ability to create their own reporting filters and dashboards with more than 3 columns!
And all your reports that were in Salesforce Classic? They can be automatically viewed in Lightning Experience too, transferring all permissions and sharing settings from Classic over with them. Plus, they’re way prettier.
You can now visualise any list view with a handy chart and add filters to narrow your results. Your data can be seen in seconds with these list view charts, and you can even quickly create filters to see that data in the way that you want to.
Create list views by using an intuitive filters panel, use type-ahead search to find a favourite list view faster, automatically open your list views created in Classic, and share them with user groups in your org. With the inline editor, you can also make quick changes to records in the list view, and with the ‘pin’ option you can pin your favourite list view to make sure it loads as your default.
The Kanban view organises a set of records into columns that help you track the status/stage of your work at a glance. All you need to do to update a record’s status is to drag it into a different column. Easy peasy. You can also configure the board by selecting what fields columns and summaries are based on, and get personalised alerts on key opportunities on the go.
Your sales and service reps can quickly find, update, and create records with minimal scrolls and mouseclicks thanks to this tab-based workspace. This means they can manage multiple records on a single screen and take advantage of the standard Lightning console apps for Sales and Service, to really help support their fast-paced work.
Custom brand images and colours
Nail your branding across all your channels with Lightning Themes. With Lightning Experience, your theme and brand colours will show up in various places in your user interface, including page backgrounds, the global header, navigation bar, tabs, and buttons. You can choose one of Salesforce’s built-in themes, or get your own custom theme created!
Personalised Lightning Experience navigation bar
You can now become even more productive by personalising the Lightning Experience navigation bar to suit the way you work. Reorder and add navigation items to the navigation bar, such as a frequently used dashboard or list.
Some more cool things:
Use phone features without needing to leave Salesforce.
Send emails through Gmail or Office365 accounts with your Salesforce email.
Switch between apps that you can brand and customise, and create and access records directly via the navigation bar.
See open tasks, upcoming meetings and accomplishments in the activity timeline on each opportunity, lead, account, and contact.
Take better notes with auto-save, rich text capabilities, inline images, and versioning.
Relate a note to multiple records and share notes with teammates or Chatter groups.
Preview files in a richer way without needing Adobe Flash Player.
Find your tasks on a new page with a new master-detail view, so you can see a single task and your entire tasks list in one place, side by side.
Experience a new and improved global search for finding records faster, which includes top results and recent records too.
There’s so much more to Lightning Experience that we’ve not gone into detail about here. If we did, this article would be much, much longer! Plus, it’s improving all the time. For example, here are some of the best Lightning bits from recent releases.
If you’re trying to figure out how to effectively change from Classic to Lightning, we’ve created a handy guide to Lightning transition below to help you. Download it for free below.