Skip to Content

We Are Refreshing Our Visual Design – Here’s How It Helps You Work Faster

Decorative image with example design elements, such as a color palette, icons, circular motif.
A simplified interface design helps you get your job done more efficiently and with fewer errors, which means you can be confident in the user experience. [Alwin Mulyono | Salesforce]

The enhanced Lightning UI brings a modern design that improves the navigation, page load speed, and approachability for diverse users.

If you’ve ever updated the electrical wiring in your home or some other underlying aspect of a physical or digital infrastructure, you know how important foundational improvements are to their longevity. We have refreshed the Lightning user interface design, bringing a modern visual style to Salesforce that makes it easier, faster, and more approachable for you to complete your tasks.

Some of you may notice mentions of these interface design changes in the release notes or while setting up Salesforce, so we want to talk you through key differences and what they might mean for your teams.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What are the enhancements to the Lightning UI design?
How does it help you work faster? 
Key design updates
When will the Lightning UI enhancements be available?
Enriching the user experience

What are the enhancements to the Lightning UI design?

When we talk about a UI, we mean the framework or system that activates the visual design and user interactions on a screen. For the enhanced Lightning UI, we’re referring specifically to the design updates we’ve made to the visual style – or the look and feel – of Salesforce.

Improved organization and harmony help make it possible for you to transition more seamlessly through the app and from task to task.

While the refreshed visual style isn’t broadly available yet, it will be helpful for you to get some background on our approach to user interface design and how it may help your users work more efficiently.

In developing the enhancements to the visual style, we were decisive about what we would keep and what we would let go. We based design decisions on whether an experience met these five criteria: 

  1. Seamless: has no awkward transitions, interruptions, or disparities; and is connected and unified.
  2. Responsive: is quick to respond or react appropriately; gets smarter with user input; and adapts to diverse personas, languages, cultures, and environments.
  3. Intuitive: is easy to learn, understand, and navigate without explicit instruction.
  4. Trusted: is reliable and stable, which ensures the user feels supported and guided.
  5. Delightful: is appealing, rewarding, and sparks joy.  

Bringing these attributes together in the visual style reinforces our commitment to creating a trusted user experience (UX). It’s equally important that we continue to build a trusted relationship with you – our customers. We learn from your insights about the usability of our products. And we want to reflect your feedback in our user interface design.

How does it help you work faster?

To understand how the enhanced UI design can help you reduce time on task and be more productive, let’s consider the benefits first. We’ll dig into the user interface design elements that help drive productivity later. 

Two overlapping screens showing the same left navigation in the old vs new user interface design.
Before and after the user interface design enhancements.

Improved organization and harmony:

The streamlined navigation, simplified icons, at-a-glance views, adaptable spacing, and skeuomorphic cues are examples of how the new visual style makes it possible for you to move more seamlessly through the app. You can transition quickly from task to task, with digestible bites of information that ease cognitive load.

Clear indicators of success and prioritization:

Intentional use of colors, contrast, space, and icons help make data and the stage of opportunities pop. Clearly differentiated button states (default, hover, active) and other indicators help reduce time-consuming errors. 

Improved performance and load times:

Reducing distracting images and optimizing the CSS code are examples of ways we’re maximizing compatibility across operating systems and devices. These steps allow new efficiencies and greater predictability.

Improved approachability and accessibility:

Making sure that our design adheres to web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG), accommodates users with a range of abilities, and can adapt to a range of neurodiversity needs is among our commitments.

While it’s harder to quantify, don’t underestimate the value of delight – the fun touches and sense of accomplishment – to make your users enjoy their experience more.

Key design updates

With artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities increasing at such a fast pace, we’ve had to think deeply about how to modify our visual style to reflect contemporary usability expectations our customers might have. Naturally, as technology gets more sophisticated, the design of interfaces needs to be simpler, less cluttered, and more intuitive.

Here are the elements that culminate in the enhanced UI design:

Circular motifs

We were inspired by the design of the Salesforce cloud, which is crafted from six overlapping circles. So we use circular shapes and rounded edges to convey friendliness, smoothness, and a welcoming feeling.

Gif of buttons showing active states.
The enhancements to the user interface design include a circular motif and design cues on buttons – such as drop shadows and gradients.

Improving icons

The progressive work to update icons helps to improve legibility at varying scales. It creates uniformity across our suite of apps and improves signal clarity. For example, whether a button is active or not. 

Font sizing and weights

This revamp of the type and font scale enhances legibility. It helps the UI bring forward what matters most to users – data and insights.

Methodical color use

The colors in the refreshed visual style are derived from the Salesforce color system, but with improved brightness and contrast. So, this yields a cleaner and more saturated look that conveys a modern aesthetic. 

Skeuomorphism

We introduced aspects of tangible objects from the real world to appeal to human senses and be more familiar and relatable. By adding cues to areas in the user interface design (such drop shadows and gradients on buttons), we can delineate between content meant to be consumed versus actions to execute. 

When you put all of these elements together, you get an experience that looks and feels less dense. It also has better readability and is easier to figure out how to use.

When will the Lightning UI enhancements be available?

Availability for the Lightning UI enhancements will be:

  • New and existing instances of Starter Suite and Pro Suite, starting on June 5, 2024.
  • New instances of Sales Cloud Professional Edition, starting on June 27, 2024.
  • New instances of Sales Cloud Enterprise Edition, starting on July 25, 2024.

Broader availability to new and existing instances will be determined throughout the year.

Enriching the user experience

The work to develop an enhanced UI design has been a long process to understand what our users need. Our refreshed visual style can help set you up for success now and for future innovations. Making Salesforce easier and faster isn’t always about piling on features. When it comes to design, sometimes, less is more.

Get the latest articles in your inbox.