2. Matthew Lamb Shell Black
Consultant at Appirio Principal ShellBlack.com, LLC
Salesforce MVP @Shell_Black
Certified & Registered Partner
6 years at Usability Sciences 7 years exp. with Salesforce.com
5 years exp. with Salesforce.com
• What is Usability?
• What is Usability Testing?
• Configuring Salesforce for Usability
• Usability Testing Boot Camp
• Q & A
6. What is usability?
At a high level, usability:
§ Is whether or not a product can be easily and effectively
understood and used by the people who it is designed for
§ Bridges the gap between people who make technology and
people who actually use that technology
§ Has historically run upstream against IT budgets and
§ Traditional waterfall development did not account for user feedback
10. Benefits of usability testing
• To the end user: • To the admin / developer:
• System is easy to understand • Increase / accelerate adoption
• Minimize training time & effort
• Clear data entry expectations
• Minimize support calls / costs
• Descriptive error messages
drive self-resolution of issues • Post-live rework is minimized
• Minimized frustrations and • Happy users don’t want to tar
anger toward their sys admin and feather their sys admin
12. Usability and Salesforce.com
• Salesforce has been long focused on usability
• Hired Usability Sciences in 1998 to usability test the prototype of
Salesforce.com, and stayed committed to listening to their users
• Now have an internal team of ~25 dedicated user researchers
• That means you, the admin, are delivering a usable system
to your users!
• Right? Maybe not…
13. Symptoms of Poor Usability in Salesforce
• Frustrated users
• Users struggle to find records and create duplicates
• Frequent “Click-Throughs” to find the right record
• Too many required fields resulting in bogus data
• e.g. Email email@example.com and Phone # 555-555-5555
• Scrolling up and down multiple times to create a new
record (or worse, scrolling left and right)
• Users don’t know the purpose of some fields – and
reporting shows they are not being used
• Search, Tab, and Lookup layouts not configured
14. As a System Administrator, what can we do?
• Less is more, reduce the noise on the page
• Don’t over engineer a simple function (if it is hard to use,
they won’t use it!)
• Provide visual clues and instruction
• Be consistent in how you present information
• Make information easy to find (reduce “Click Throughs”)
• Keep data entry to the absolute minimum
• Reduce scrolling
The next few slides are some Usability “quick hits,”
but not an exhaustive list…
16. Provide Visual Cues and Instruction Cont.
Image Formula Fields – great for Status & Exceptions
• Search Salesforce Help for:
• Search AppExchange for “Graphics Pack” by Force.com Labs
Help Text – Provide Instruction to Users
17. Consistent Presentation– Reduce the Learning Curve
Pick your preference for how you organize fields, but be consistent
across all objects for information in the record “Header” (top of the page)
In the Left column I prefer:
• Record Owner
• Link to Parent (e.g. Account “Parent Account” or Contact “Reports To”)
• Record Name
• Picklists that help categorize the record (e.g. Account or Opportunity “Type”
On the Right column I prefer:
• Any type of Stage or Status
• Any visual clues I’ve created to communicate action needed (neglected
account, case aging, missing information, etc)
• Items that need to be maintained frequently (e.g. Close Date and Amount on
18. Consistent Presentation – Example: Tasks and Event
Notice what is in the right and left column:
Event Page Layout is the same as a Task except for Yellow Highlight:
19. Make Data Entry Easy
• Remove unused “Out of the Box Fields” from the Page
• e.g. Account Record – No of Employees and Annual Revenue
• The most important fields, those that are updated and
maintained frequently, should be high on the page and
above the fold (like a website)
• Group “like” fields together in page sections
• e.g. if education is important on your Contact records, create a section for
these fields (School, Major, Graduation Date, etc)
• Use a Checkbox field instead of a picklist with only “Yes” or
20. Make Data Entry Easy Cont.
• Be consistent with the Tab Order throughout the org
• Some fields you can’t remove
• e.g. Case Priority and Opportunity Probability % – if your organization
does not use them, bury them low on the page layout
• Multi-select picklists – show additional lines
21. Reduce Left and Right Scrolling
If you have a lot of tabs in your org, group them by function or dept.
Don’t cram a “wide” field into a
two column layout
Use a hidden section (no header
visible on Detail or Edit View) for:
• Multi-Select picklists
• Text Area (255 characters – e.g. the
native Subject field)
• Long Text Area (e.g. the native
• URL (if more than the domain name)
22. Reduce “Click Throughs”
Display “Hover Details”
By configuring the
Mini Page Layout
Related List Columns – Choose up to 10 to Display
26. Other Areas to Explore...
• Reports – delete the ones you don’t use (reduce the noise)
• Configure Tab Views (e.g. John’s Open Opportunities in Texas)
• Make a Field “Searchable” with “External IDs” (e.g. SSN #, Serial #,
• Remove related lists not used by your organization off the page layout
• Controlling the sort order of related list records (e.g. most recent up top)
• Use consistent naming conventions for Reports (e.g. “DB -” for reports
used in Dashboards & “LINK-” for reports used in Custom Links)
• Scrub Profiles for any and all extra apps / objects / tabs
• Enable Floating Report Headers, Inline Editing, Enhanced
Page Layout Editor, and Related List Hover Links
27. Other Areas to Explore Cont...
• Using Record Types to display only the relevant fields for a given type of
• Can use Workflow Rules to update Record Type; progressive data entry based on Stage
• Lookup Filters to make sure users can only select a valid parent
• Approve records from a Chatter Feed (Winter ‘12)
• Create Triggers to auto-create records when appropriate
• Use Visualforce / Apex to build custom interfaces for complex process
• Great example is for multiple simultaneous record entry like time sheets or expenses
As an Administrator – How did you do?
What have you done to make Salesforce easy on your Users?
29. Four key things about Usability Testing
• One-on-one conversations
§ Focus Groups <> Usability Testing
§ Time for you to listen and ask questions
§ Not the forum to teach, explain, justify, depend, argue, etc.
§ Strive to remain neutral at all times; harder if it’s your baby
§ Critical to take action based on feedback
§ Else users will think their feedback didn’t mean much
§ Ongoing, iterative process
§ One round won’t cut it; need to stay in touch with users
30. Step 1: Planning
• What feature / process to assess?
§ Creating a new Opportunity, submitting a Forecast, etc.
§ Best to test in a Sandbox if you have one
• Who are the end users?
§ Sales team, other Admins, Operations team, etc.
§ Crucial to talk to the people who actually use the feature / process
§ Schedule them 1-2 weeks ahead of time; bribery helps
§ Try to talk to ~5 users per concept
§ Where to talk?
§ Find a quiet space with a computer and no distractions
§ Plan on 45 – 60 minutes, depending on topics
§ Don’t let location stop you; use screen sharing for remote users
31. Step 2: Testing
• Set expectations up front
§ Not here to judge/train/defend, here to listen and get better
§ Please be honest and critical, not going to hurt feelings
• Start by having the user show you how they do ______
§ Create a new Opportunity, submit a Forecast, etc.
§ Encourage talking aloud, explain their actions
and their frustrations
§ Take notes, either you or someone else
§ Circle back and talk about what they did
§ Ask non-leading, open-ended questions
§ What areas were frustrating for you?
§ What could make this easier for you?
32. Step 3: Acting
• Get stakeholders together immediately after to debrief
§ Document and prioritize issues
§ Decide on appropriate solutions
§ Mock up your solution in a Sandbox
§ Go back to Step 1 and start again!
§ Once you’ve got the solution into production, publicize it
§ “Based on your feedback…”