Experience Cloud
mins read

Mastering user experiences in Salesforce Experience Cloud

You need the right combination of UI/UX research and development skills to create intuitive, engaging, and user-centric digital experiences. Now, let’s look at that in the context of Salesforce Experience Cloud and how to apply best practices from UI/UX and development to orchestrate harmonious and efficient experiences for Experience Cloud users.

Does UX expertise prove advantageous in Salesforce development?

The ability to understand what’s required from both a conceptual and a development perspective is invaluable. Knowing what SaltClick clients and their users want is the first step to embarking on a successful Experience Cloud project. We start by understanding our clients’ users and their goals. Next, we take those inputs and determine how to best build them in Experience Cloud (that’s where development comes in).

If you’re curious about our process, get a first-hand glimpse with our client, The National Ability Center, a nonprofit organization that strives to make recreational sports accessible to everyone.

What are some of the challenges in customizing and branding Salesforce Experience Cloud?

Salesforce has improved significantly with the Lightning Experience, enabling a more traditional web format. However, there are still aspects, especially the legacy ones, which come with additional features that can over-complicate the design. Modern web applications demand a clean, straightforward user interface, so we often recommend doing custom work to deliver a better user experience that feels more familiar, navigable, and on brand. But the templates are a great start and save countless hours of work. They give our clients a great jumping off point, so they don’t have to wait around forever for a minimum viable product (MVP). Instead, they can launch with a great-looking, user-friendly interface and make enhancements as they learn more about their users in these new environments.

How about ADA compliance in Salesforce Experience Cloud?

Salesforce does a commendable job with ADA compliance. The difficulties typically pop up when customizing the platform. Often, designers opt for subtler tones and lighter grays which can compromise ADA compliance due to insufficient contrast. But, in our experience, we have not seen many clients prioritize ADA compliance. However, we’ve already seen this starting to shift towards inclusive experiences.

What are the common requests when clients require Experience Cloud customization?

In our experience, clients aim to align the platform’s look with their branding. Additionally, they often want to declutter the interface by removing extraneous controls. If they’re migrating from another system, they’ll usually want to replicate the existing branding to maintain consistency and ease the transition.

Who are the main stakeholders of Experience Cloud projects?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. The stakeholders involved vary from project to project. Sometimes, there’s an in-house designer who outlines the requirements and provides the initial design.

Persona card for a graphic designer

In other cases, we’ll work with the marketing team or directly with the client, using their branding style guide as the basis for the design. Whichever the case, having a stakeholder with a sharp eye for design is immensely beneficial to the success of an Experience Cloud project.

What other CMS platforms are clients typically moving from to Salesforce?

It varies. Some clients are coming from homegrown platforms, others from sites built with React, JavaScript, or HTML. One client was using Zendesk. There are a few instances of transitioning from smaller platforms like Webflow, but the majority tend to be from other bespoke systems or platforms.

Is there a reason why clients transition to Salesforce? What are the shortcomings of these other systems?

No two clients are the same, but a major driver is to maximize their existing Salesforce ROI. Salesforce is a significant investment, and many organizations want to go all in once they’ve made the commitment to ensure they’re getting the most out of their systems. Generally, these businesses drive a lot of their operations on Salesforce, and the Experience Cloud is more of an extension, an opportunity to put their business out there. So, if they have an external website for customer outreach, why not integrate it? In Salesforce, you can pull in your external world.

When it comes to choosing a template, what factors should you consider?

The first thing usually considered is the appearance of the navigation and search bar. Some clients may not want a search bar, it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing a template. Secondly, you’ll want to consider the components the template you’re assessing provides. Ask questions like: Are these components suitable for a service or knowledge page? But despite the availability of built-in templates, most developers (ours included) often end up doing custom work to meet clients’ specific needs to meet their branding objectives and create a less cluttered and more modern user experience.

Salesforce Experience Cloud template
Image source: Salesforce Experience Cloud templates

How are clients leveraging AI and data analytics capabilities in Salesforce?

Our clients are increasingly interested in driving engagement and creating more personalized experiences for their customers. They’re excited about the prospect of integrating AI technologies, like Einstein bots, to provide real-time, intelligent customer service. There’s also interest in the data analytics capabilities that Salesforce offers. They see the value in being able to analyze user data to gain deeper insights into their customers and their preferences, which can then be used to shape their marketing strategies.

What trends are emerging in the use of Salesforce’s automation and mobile capabilities?

For trends, we’re seeing a growing interest in leveraging Salesforce’s automation capabilities to streamline workflows and increase efficiency. Clients are also interested in exploring the mobile capabilities of Salesforce, as they realize more and more that their customers are accessing their platforms on multiple devices.

Any tips for managing translations in Salesforce Experience Cloud projects?

For managing translations, stay organized. Maintain a master document, usually in the form of a spreadsheet to easily track the translations, highlight what goes where, and maintain version control. In other words, make good communication and clear documentation a habit for smooth projects.

What developments are expected in the Salesforce roadmap and how do they impact Salesforce Experience Cloud?

The Salesforce roadmap seems to be focusing on integrating more configuration aspects into the platform, such as flows and screen flows, and improving the sophistication of their AI tools, like Einstein bots. These developments can potentially bring more powerful features to Salesforce Experience Cloud.

How valuable are user testing and prototyping in application development?

User testing and prototyping are incredibly valuable for bridging the gap between what a business thinks its customers want and what they actually need or expect. This feedback can greatly influence the design and functionality of an application, making it more user-friendly and effective.

What challenges do businesses face in budgeting for user testing and prototyping stages?

Many businesses don’t budget for this stage of the process. They may think they understand their customers well enough to skip this stage, but the reality is, there’s always room for improvement and potential for discovering insights that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Is it better to start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or a fully realized concept?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on the specifics of the project and the company. For some, an MVP approach allows them to get user feedback and iterate quickly. For others, releasing a full-featured product may align more closely with their branding or customer expectations.

How can maintaining a close relationship with a group of users inform the design process?

It’s beneficial to have a close relationship with a group of users who can provide you with honest feedback, whether that’s a specific demographic within your company, or a group of loyal customers. This can inform the design process and lead to a more successful final product.

How do you determine the essential features for a Salesforce Experience Cloud MVP?

Prioritizing the essentials can significantly improve the user experience. As for how to determine the MVP, it’s a combination of your understanding of your target user’s needs and desires, your business objectives, and what’s technically feasible within your constraints such as budget, time, and team capabilities. Begin by listing all the features that you believe could be part of your product. Then, try to assess how essential each feature is for achieving the main goal of your product.

For instance, in the case of a mobile app, would push notifications be more crucial to your users’ needs than an internal messenger function? Which of these features would add more value to the users and the business? Afterwards, try to understand which of these features can be built given your technical constraints. This process often involves trade-offs and negotiation.

What approach do you recommend for beta testing?

A good approach is to choose a select group of trusted users who can provide constructive feedback. When you’ve made adjustments based on their input, you can then gradually roll out the product to a wider audience.

How important is it to keep iterating post-launch?

It’s crucial to keep iterating on your product even after you’ve launched. Gathering user feedback, tracking performance, and making necessary adjustments should be a continuous process to keep improving the user experience and meet your business goals with Salesforce Experience Cloud.

How can a clean, intuitive interface improve user experience?

Prioritizing a clean, intuitive interface is essential for user experience. It’s always tempting to add many features and information to the interface, but this can make the product overwhelming and confusing for the users. So, always strive for simplicity and clarity in design, and make sure every element serves a clear purpose.

Always keep the user in mind. Make sure you are making decisions based on what will best serve them, not just what is easiest for you or what you personally prefer. Conduct user testing and research regularly to keep your understanding of your users up-to-date. Audience Variations is a very useful tool. It allows you to customize user experiences effectively. You can use it to target specific experiences to different users or groups, which can be very powerful when it comes to personalizing the user journey.

Can you start from scratch and create your own templates in Experience Cloud?

You can create your own template from scratch in Salesforce. However, in our experience, we’ve found that starting with a basic template and then customizing it tends to be more efficient for getting projects up and running quickly. It’s truly fascinating to see how the power of Experience Cloud combined with UI/UX expertise and top-notch development skills can deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Thinking about investing in Experience Cloud or upgrading your current instance?

Our team is full of experts who can help you define your user pain points and maximize your Salesforce investment. Better customer experiences are just a click away with SaltClick, get started.

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