Recharge Your Salesforce Wizard - Photo by Neil Tackaberry

Recharge Your Salesforce Wizard

Recharge your Salesforce wizard with these 3 tips to make your employees efficient again. When standard Salesforce screens can’t handle complex processes, we replace them with custom wizards. Over time, these wizards become outdated, overloaded, and difficult to use. Here are 3 techniques I used in a recent project:

1. Reward Progress with Clear Navigation

Wizards take employees out of the usual single screen workflow, but leave them stumbling in the dark towards completion. In this wizard, only first 8 screens were part of the navigation. After that, there always appeared to be “just one more” screen to finish:

Recharge Your Salesforce Wizard 1We fix this by rewarding progress and providing clear navigation of the entire wizard. A graphical progress bar provides an overall visual sense of accomplishment, with a numerical percent for more analytical employees. Repeating it on every page encourages completion of the wizard.

Navigation controls guide the user to efficiently complete screens in order by clicking a common “Next” button. Complex processes involve checking or correcting previous inputs, so we also allow one-step navigation to any screen. Instead of anonymous page numbers, descriptive dropdown headings are immediately understood.

Both the progress bar and navigation are reusable Visualforce Components. This simplifies their code and guarantees consistency across all pages. You get their benefits at a fraction of the cost of copy-pasting code.

2. Use a Consistent Interface

Wizards use custom Visualforce code, letting us style the interface any way we want. While this is great for branded customer screens, employees need a consistent Salesforce interface. Standard screens and wizards should have the same layout, wording, and colors:

Recharge Your Salesforce Wizard 2Our old wizard used non-standard colors and wording, slowing down employees as they interpreted a new interface. Standardizing to the usual wording, color, and placement of buttons keeps employees moving.

3. Fix Painful Gotchas

Even well-intentioned wizards have painful gotchas. Ask employees what they hate about a process and they’re sure to tell you! In this wizard, nothing saved until the last step, so any interruption meant wasteful rework. It was even more painful on screens with large text fields. Finally, approvers were wasting time fixing spelling errors in all those large text fields.

Time is valuable, especially if your employees are hourly contractors. We capture all their hard work by saving partial draft data with the click of the “Next” button on every screen. This draft status is reflected on the Salesforce record, so additional reviews and approvals won’t trigger.

Large text fields should copy work in progress before clicking “Save” or “Next”. This is trickier, since we can’t use the usual mechanism of a user action saving the entire record. Instead, a timer running in the browser sends the text back to Salesforce every 5 seconds:

Recharge Your Salesforce Wizard 3Salesforce recently discontinued their internal spell check, and recommends browser spell checking. With employees running different browsers on laptops and mobile devices, that’s a training nightmare. We need a single spell check interface that’s always active. Using an external spell check service accomplishes this without any employee effort.

One final pain point was squinting at tiny text – not everyone still has young, sharp eyes! Browsers offer font size adjustment, but training and supporting them all would be expensive. Instead, a common set of font size buttons in the wizard lets employees read comfortably.

Recharge Your Salesforce Wizard

When standard Salesforce screens can’t handle complex processes, we replace them with custom wizards. Over time, these wizards become outdated, overloaded, and difficult to use. Recharge your Salesforce wizard with these 3 tips to make your employees efficient again:

  1. Reward Progress with Clear Navigation by adding a progress bar and descriptive navigation to every screen
  2. Use a Consistent Interface by matching custom Visualforce wizards to standard Salesforce controls, colors, and wording
  3. Fix Painful Gotchas by autosaving drafts. Save large text fields during typing, spell check them, and make font sizes easy to adjust.

How will you recharge your Salesforce wizard? I can implement these tips for you as your Salesforce consultant.

About the author