There are scant few things in nature that happen without some warning, visible or audible. Apart from really sneaky mountain lions (or sneaky fishermen like me), you know what’s coming before it gets you. Not so with Lightning. The warning comes (to those who weren’t struck) after the flash of light in the form of a sharp peal of thunder. It’s slightly ironic that Salesforce would choose something as surprising as Lightning for the name of their long-planned extension to their User Interface framework. The irony is that you have been warned for a LOOOOONG time that this is coming so it’s kind of like thunder is coming before the lightning. The great thing about the Salesforce Lightning Experience is that when you get it (because a Lightning Roll-out specialist turned it on thoughtfully) you are not stricken as much as you are struck with a sense of ‘how cool is this?’.
If you’ve ever tried to pitch an organization on “Why Lightning?”, you know that your answer should speak to your audience. Users that have been using Salesforce Classic for years often have a level of comfort for what I’d call ‘old socks’. Sure, they have some holes in the toes but they really feel nice all around. Through force of habit, users continue to take well-worn paths to their end and the respective path each user chooses is a function of when they started taking these paths. For instance, have you ever seen a user double click on a web link? Seemingly no matter how many times you tell a double-clicker to click once, they double down on double clicking. And you get unexpected behavior. Or… You code buttons to utilize AJAX types of features to disable the button onClick to not allow it to trigger multiple events. So the argument will be that as long as you allow users to switch back to classic, some subset will and they will be less efficient (and maybe less productive) as a result. We’ll call this the backdoor syndrome. Give a user a backdoor, especially a Sales user, and they’ll use it – even it it means going through the side of the house and in through the back although the front is unlocked. To give some users some credit, there will always be those individuals who are able to fully leverage the tools you give them and even show you some ways to do things better/faster. Give these folks a hug and buy them a bottle of wine for Christmas as they’re invaluable to a team focused on implementing change.
Now let’s look at one feature in particular and explore making the back door the front door. With Lightning Experience, users have the ability to click on a Drop-down caret next to a tab to bring up what is akin to the right click in windows. A context window comes up and some goodness is in there. Back to the well-worn paths, users are used to clicking on a tab and seeing their recent records. This is what SFDC has done for a long, long time. Now, the tab is broken into two. Clicking on the Tab Label (which occupies 60-80% of the tab depending on the length of the label) does what it used to do. Clicking on the drop-down caret does some really cool stuff: showing recent records; favorites; recent lists; and, allows you to create new records without first visiting the tab. But 9 times out of 10, the user will click on the tab first – patently unaware that the context window exists by clicking on the caret.
If you believe, and I do, that 8 times out of 10 what the user wants to do is in the recent records or favorites or recently visited lists – why not reverse the behavior or eliminate the visitation of the tab? I’m sure in subsequent releases we’ll see the caret go away and just be replaced by this quick context heuristic.
Back from the aside. Why Lightning? Succinctly, Lightning makes your users more efficient by taking advantage of the shared narrative within and without your org. Your admins are listening to those trailblazers we referenced earlier and the product group at SFDC is listening to a wide array of customer feedback – both groups are layering in refinements to your operating environment and they are investing more in the Lightning Experience than they are in the classic. For a few years now, SFDC has been telling you Lightning is coming – are you ready to fully harvest the potential for your users? and are you ready to drive the efficiency by explaining why and how to best use it?