Test Your Mobile Customizations
So you got the green light for your mobile rollout. Yay! We knew you would. Now it’s time to move on to the next stage of your rollout: building and testing.
By this point, you’ve probably already spent some time customizing the Salesforce app so it suits your company’s mobile use cases. In this stage of the rollout, you put the finishing touches on your mobile masterpiece and test what you’ve built. Remember: As with any other Salesforce rollout, build and test the customizations in your sandbox or Developer Edition account first, then move them over to production when you’re ready to launch.
Hopefully you checked out the awesome resources that we mentioned in the previous unit. They can help you tweak the Salesforce app and mold it into a powerful tool that lets your users get work done fast. As you customize the app, think about things you can do to improve the mobile user experience.
So how do you provide a good experience for mobile users? Mobile design is awesome because it forces you to think differently. Phones and tablets have small screens, so pare down to essentials and prioritize what really matters. Cellular connections can be slow or spotty, which means you have to maximize performance.
When you’re finalizing your mobile customizations, keep these tips in mind:
- Less is more. For your page layouts, consider the screen size of mobile devices and move the most important information to the top. Only add the fields that are truly necessary. A best practice is to include five fields or less on a page, and definitely no more than eight.
- Build for speed. Think about performance when adding custom elements to your pages. Are there images or processes that can cause slower page load times? Users are less patient with performance on mobile devices, so streamline your content and keep your page elements as lightweight as possible.
- Think about tap targets. Consider how users interact with their mobile devices when creating custom pages. For example, buttons are easier to tap than links.
- Embrace mobile capabilities. Think about all the cool features available on our phones: location detection, camera, accelerometer, and more. Are there ways you can take advantage of the unique capabilities of mobile devices?
If you’d like to learn more about best practices for mobile design, check out some of the links we included in the resources section.
If you have existing Visualforce pages, it’s possible to make them available to mobile users in the Salesforce app. You can just check a box to enable a Visualforce page for mobile. See the resources section for a how-to guide.
But here’s the thing—usually it’s not that simple.
Visualforce pages aren’t automatically mobile-friendly in the mobile app, and when you’re testing, you can have some issues with your existing pages and custom apps.
Fortunately, making your Visualforce pages look great in the mobile app is relatively straightforward. You can either revise your code so that your pages work in the full Salesforce site and the Salesforce app, or you can create mobile-specific pages.
If you want to use Visualforce pages in the Salesforce app, your new best friend is the Visualforce Guidelines and Best Practices section of the Salesforce Mobile App Developer Guide. You can also check out the Visualforce Mobile module on Trailhead.
Once you’ve finished your setup tasks, you’ve reached a huge mobile milestone—you have a prototype of your own customized version of the Salesforce app. Now it’s time to get into that prototype and test, test, test. After that, test some more. Did we mention that you should test?
All kidding aside, we can’t overemphasize the importance of testing. You don’t want any nasty surprises during your mobile launch. Be sure to test the app on every type of mobile device and every operating system your employees use to access the Salesforce app. And then test again. (OK, sorry, last time. We’re officially done nagging you about testing.)
Of course, we realize it’s convenient to do quick sanity checks from the desktop without having to pick up your device to test each change. Luckily, there are device emulators available from Apple and Google that allow you to develop iteratively on your desktop.
To work with the mobile app on a device emulator, download and install the appropriate SDK for your supported devices:
And now, brace yourself for a big ol’ warning. (If we could write this in neon with flashing lights, we totally would.)
Now that you have a working prototype, why not show it off? Before your official mobile launch, you should pilot the app with a small group of users to get early feedback. Sure, it extends your rollout timeline a little bit, but the input you receive is incredibly valuable. Pilots can help you:
- Validate your mobile use cases and identify opportunities for new ones
- Streamline your customizations and catch any “gotchas”
- Collect FAQs that will influence your training plan
- Train your group of power users and advocates before the official launch
- Create an initial buzz about the mobile app
- Gain more stakeholder and executive buy-in with early wins
- Gather testimonials and success stories to use in your marketing and communication materials
So which users should you involve in the pilot? Of course, you’ll definitely want your super users to participate for all the reasons we’ve already explained. But you need a wide variety of perspectives and opinions. That means you should also include your resisters–the Salesforce users who seem to fight you every step of the way.
Yes, you love your Salesforce prodigies. But your rebels are just as important. You have to be prepared to hear all the potential complaints and pain points related to the use of the mobile app. And if you address those concerns early, you’ll turn your mobile rebels into your biggest cheerleaders.
- Salesforce Mobile App Customization
- Mobile First
- iOS Human Interface Guidelines
- Android User Interface Guidelines
- Salesforce Mobile App Trailblazer Community
- Salesforce Mobile App Developer Guide
- Enable Visualforce Pages for the Salesforce Mobile App
- Salesforce App Developer Tutorial
- A Beginner’s Guide to the Salesforce Mobile App
- Visualforce and Lightning Experience
- Mobile Tips and Tricks for Admins
- Salesforce App: Make It Mobile, Make It Easy
- Salesforce Mobile User Experience Design