Enabling or Discovering Spring 2023 Top Challenges and Features – Part 2

In Part 1, I covered the features that just appeared without intervention that you need to be on the lookout for in Spring 23. Now on to the top ten list of features to explore and enjoy when you are ready! They are rearranged in order from my preview blog in the order of important IMO:

  1. Mobile. I moved this to the top of the list because of its impact and how different it is for end users. I mention mobile a lot because I think people at small organizations (and large) can’t be waiting until we get to a big screen to get things done responsibly for our constituents. To see these new features you do have to make sure you have updated your Salesforce mobile app. The app update date came out AFTER the Spring 23 software update. Mobile landscape is enabled and simply works. The flow screens reconfigure to use the additional width, although there are still so many things at the top and bottom that input height gets squeezed too much for comfort.

    The enhanced contact experience beta is enabled in setup globally and then each user has a toggle on their contact home page on mobile. You get asked to allow Salesforce to provide Caller ID. In iOs you go into “Call Blocking and Identification” and enable Salesforce. On the home contact page you now have the option to add new, import (from your phone contacts) or toggle back to normal contact experience. Upon import, you get a selection of all contacts on your phone with the ability to select one or more. I imported one name and got a new contact. The contact existed already, so I got a duplicate. (Checking first would be nice, Salesforce!) I have a new view that shows me the top few fields (more like a contact manager) and lets me click into the Salesforce record. I can export a contact to my phone contact manager, now, too. I gave my phone a call and I believe that Salesforce provided contact data for the call notification. I had hoped that perhaps when I answered it, Salesforce might log the call or give me the option to log it. I don’t see that.

I used the better report summaries all the time as beta. It appears that from the beta to the GA they have gotten rid of the summary pane on the bottom, which I used to pull up from the bottom and make very good use of. I miss it. I’ll have to reconfigure a number of reports to be more friendly to the new mobile now. But I do run lots of reports on mobile and they work!

  1. Flow Editor: I put this up top because sometimes the simplest changes are the best! We can now hover on a flow component and read the description. This allows a lot more user friendly navigation.(There are no notes in the PRocess Builder rule migrations… perhaps a first step when you start to maintain manually.)

As a best practice that I recommend, you can also add “extra” Text Templates to serve as design notes, test  plan notes, and revision notes. If only Salesforce would give us a way to make PDFs of our processes in flows!

If you clean up your minor revisions and add the revision history as a second line to your flow description, you can keep a very nice history in flow. Here is a flow history for one of our important workhouses at SYMin under view details and revisions. With some self-discipline, you can do your future self a huge favor. The key is to always replace the Rev history with someone useful AND to delete all the interim activations that didn’t “take” for whatever reason. You might now have them like we do! Lol.

  1. Automation Flows. The 2000 element limit is gone from run-time. There are still plenty of limits but flow is just too big a step to parity with Apex. We can now do http:// callouts more easily. I bet there will be cool examples using ChatGPT in no time. But the big news is that the Process Builder migration tool has arrived in its first form. I’ll cover that in Part 3 of this blog.
  2. Dynamics. Dynamic Forms (fields), Dynamic Actions (buttons), Dynamic List (related list) and now Dynamic Activities (actions on the Activities component). I still don’t use Dynamic Forms anywhere because it doesn’t work on mobile, but it’s available now on many objects including leads and cases. There are nice free custom lightning page components that do this job well for all objects and for mobile. I use Dynamic Actions on all objects that support them because they work equally well on both desktop and mobile (with a little effort). It’s now available on all standard and custom objects. I’ll be excited to see what I can do for users with the new Dynamic buttons for the Activities component. I don’t use the Dynamic Related List component because it supports mobile, but this release fixes an almost fatal flaw in that there was no “View All” link. I will try using it on a desktop paired with a good mobile option, with conditional visibility based on form factor.
  3. Screen Flows: These are for interacting with your internal users as well as external users on a Site or Experience Cloud. (You get 100 free public clouds with Salesforce so this can get very powerful.) Building Flow screens has a “dynamic” ability to make screens from an object definition itself. You define the record variable (or read one) and drag the fields to the screen. Fields are automatically the right type and will even have default from the record if you load it first. It takes seconds to create a form like Name, email, phone, account, affiliated with (a lookup), and newsletters (a multi select picklist in my org). Here’s what it looks like. Note that the account is a lookup within the database. And my Affiliated With is also a lookup. Both have options to “create new.” You’l also notice that the field I despise most in all of Salesforce if required! That ***** Salutation. Is anyone listening? Please give us options to move forward without Salutation on the UI! I won’t /can’t use the compound name field EVER because of this. Regrettably we also cannot use validation on any of these dynamic flow fields.

End users expect and deserve a great experience when filling forms, so you may have to build them the old fashioned way without dynamic form so you can include validation of email addresses, phone numbers, and not have the required Salutation, for example. You can mix and match, however. Just add normal fields and dynamic screen fields together and then make an assignment at the end. It’s a big trick to do defaults but you can also load a default variable for each field prior to the screen with an assignment. We’re not there yet, flow designers– please give us: control of compound field visibility component by component and validation! I’d also like to be able to control how picklists are presented for dynamic fields. You may also want to use standard picklist fields because you can now control if they are presented as value pickers (left/right sides), checkbox groups, or drop-down. Here’s the same form built with a standard text input field for first and last name and a standard picklist field shown with a new presentation option: checkbox group! I personally like it a lot!

End users expect a great screen experience these days to be highly productive. We have been able to make screen components visible or invisible based on some of what they type. I have flow screens that have checkboxes to hide or expand fields much like a collapsible section. You can do a lot now already before Spring 23 based on conditionality visibility. Here is a simple flow that demonstrates three interactive elements: (1) showing/hiding form fields or sections, (2) progressive forms that increasing the number of fields as a user fills in data, (3) elements that present additional information based on user input (in this case a “strong” language warning). The form as first presented:

The format as it responds:

What you can’t do is give one field a default based on another field on the same screen. Or pass an input from one component to another interactively.  Conditional visibility is interactive but components are not. I had hoped to test this with field defaults but the Reactive Screens Beta is not available in my org. Disappointing! I don’t know why. The example everyone is excited about requires more time but will be a search box accepting input and a datatable showing results dynamically as you type. You can have one component react to other components. I can’t think of anything useful. A much simpler example is to have a First Name field that becomes the default for Nickname or Badge Name on the same screen. Or shipping address that comes pre-filled on the same screen as billing address. You can do neither of those now AFAIK.. Once the beta truly becomes available, we’ll see how much life we can bring to screens.

  1. New Desktop Contact Import Experience. There is a new option to enable users to do their own importing. You can find the setting by searching for Basic Data Import. This causes a new option to appear on the contact home page (And I suspect lead home page). When I click it, I see three options: sync with Google or Microsoft (but this required admin privilege and uses EAC which I have regretted turning on every time I have done so), import from CSV (the new experience), and Import/Update/Export (the familiar data wizard experience). This could be great or not work well with NPSP and Education Cloud. We don’t do a lot of bulk importing so I haven’t had a reason to test it. And I’m a big fan of Apsona or NPSP Batch Data Entry when we import. Importing is a skill and I’d discuss whether this helps or not with your top users.
  2. Reports: Subscriptions. You can report on which users get subscriptions and what type. First you  have to create a report type and then you use it to see what’s going on. We haven’t done that yet. The report is messy but it shows many things. You can see classic subscriptions, lightning dashboard and report subscriptions, the schedule frequency, whether they are alerts or emailed reports, and any conditions. We have some of all of them. I suspect but do not know for sure that subscriptions by users no longer active are shown in the table without an owner ID. I’m not certain but it’s worth looking into. Such things tend to come back and bite you when you least expect it.

These things do NOT make me very happy at this point. I had hopes but so far no joy:

Reports: Collections. Supposedly we can now apply tags to our report and dashboards to create a Collection. This required enabling the Analytics Home which I have done, but I have no such tab. So this one it’s really there for me right now. I continue to use a dashboard to collect related reports into a single browsable item. Collections may be better though, when it works.

Pronoun Fields. This one annoys me. Salesforce has decided to add gender fields without any control on our part. So now I have my legacy gender__c field on the contact and a new standard field called GenderIdentity. It has four picklist values by default.  And I have a new Pronouns standard field also. It has six picklist values by default. They say these are vetted but they are not published with any white papers or guidance. There is in app guidance announcing them that uselessly just points to object customization. Even thought this feels heavy handed and somewhat empty, field level security for both fields *appears* to be off by default for all profiles Without any documentation about current or future policy of exposing these, aligning them with existing Salesforce functions in NPSP that support gender, etc.I feel this is premature. Best practice known within non-profit fields is to allow free format answers for self-reporting this important and high-stakes information and then map to internal standards for reporting based on program requirements, which often vary from funder to funder.  This is premature. I would have loved it if you’d spent the time removing the mandated Salutation fields instead, frankly. They significantly interfere with user experience on every name field in the world–not to mention the potential abrasive impact. I don’t mind gender and pronouns… I might even like them if I knew how they were going to impact me moving forward. 

I don’t cover Slack because it’s not part of the Power of Ten grant. Even though it’s free to many organizations, it’s free use by religious, educational and political organizations isn’t granted so I can’t use it. I’ve raised this as an issue for years now without any movement, so it’s a limitation I’ve learned to live with. You won’t see me on Slack!

I don’t cover Slack because it’s not part of the Power of Ten grant. Even though it’s free to many organizations, it’s free use by religious, educational and political organizations isn’t granted so I can’t use it. I’ve raised this as an issue for years now without any movement, so it’s a limitation I’ve learned to live with. Sort of like the extremely non-sensitive and very irritating salutation field that is forced on every organization and end user in the world.

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