Adopting a Lightning Experience – Part 1

  November 13, 2015       Richard Clark

lightningpt1-1Every Salesforce system admin and consultant surely knows by now about the Salesforce Lightning Experience (Lightning X) and, if it’s available to them, has access to enable it in their org.

So do you know how to go about checking whether your org in particular is ready to switch Lightning on, how to enable it, why you should enable it but most importantly when to enable it?

In this post I’ll cover the How, and the next post will cover the Why and When.  Here I’ll be taking you through a step by step example of upgrading one of my orgs and, more importantly, some of my findings on the way. The idea is to give you one handy guide from which to find the other materials.

As you’ll find in the resources below there’s already a very rich source of material in implementing Lightning X on Trailhead and Developerforce.

If you’re a developer looking for information on building Lightning Components then you can stop reading. I’m not covering that here! Follow the Trailhead Lightning Developer Trail instead and be aware that there’s some very cool features coming that make customisation of standard Lightning pages so much easier than the Visualforce days of old.

If you want to go ahead and implement Lightning then stop reading now and just skip to the references below, or search ‘Lightning Experience’ on Trailhead. You have everything you need on Trailhead to get started. If instead, you haven’t got time to spend hours on Trailhead and want to get a summary then please read on!

lightningpt1-2At makepositive we have a special offer until the end of the year which we’re calling Lighting Health Checks. As opposed to our standard 5 and 10 day Health Checks that look at your entire business and your Salesforce org(s), this Health Check focuses on an assessment of your readiness for the Lightning UI. The outcome is a plan for implementation, if appropriate, a list of any blockers to upgrading, and identifying any packages in your org for which the vendors should divulge their plans for Lightning X support. If instead you’re happy to go through all the resources and do this yourself then please do, as long as you don’t just switch it on and see ‘if it looks like it works’!

Before we begin please rest assured that, now Winter 16 has hit your org, nothing has changed regarding Lightning unless you choose to take action. There are other impacts of Winter 16 that you should have already tested out in your sandbox though, regardless of the new user interface.

Also remember that, while some of your favourite features may not yet be in Lightning X, they are most likely on the roadmap, and there are several cool new features – such as Sales Path, Card Views, Assistant, Account Insights, new Dashboard builder – that are ONLY available in Lightning X.  We can safely assume this won’t be the end of the innovation from either.

How to enable Lightning ?

Step 1 – Are you ready for Lightning ?

You must go through the assessment as outlined in the Trailhead course “Deciding if Lightning is right for you”. This is essential before you go any further and if you don’t you won’t really know what the heck I’m talking about from here on.

No, seriously, go take that Trailhead, then come back to read on!

OK, if you are going further then make sure you’re doing all this in a Sandbox first. You’re potentially going to enable some new features that you can’t switch off, but it will warn you first in those instances. (As I’m sure you all just took that Trailhead I don’t need to keep banging on about this, do I?)

Just in case you didn’t absorb all the material from the Trailhead, here’s my baker’s dozen of some of the most common features in Lightning X that the Winter 16 release does not support. Although we hope to see many of these in Spring 16, you should review any use of the following and the workarounds available:

  1. If you use Person Accounts you can stop reading now: you don’t even get the option to switch Lightning on yet! Don’t worry though, it’s for very good reasons and you still need to review the other items and plan your change over once it is supported, so read on.
  2. Not all standard objects are Lightning enabled yet: this means they won’t show up in the left hand navigation menu but you can still access them. This is a real pain where they are typically accessed through related lists such as Account/Opportunity Teams, Quotes and Orders.
  3. Custom Buttons using Javascript and URLs are not available. Not only this but standard buttons such as Sharing, Manage External Users and Salesforce2Salesforce External Sharing are also not available yet.
  4. Auto-population of standard pages using URL parameters (URL hacking) is no longer supported.
  5. Visualforce pages previously developed that leverage the Aloha (Salesforce Classic) CSS classes, or which implement Javascript, especially window.location calls.
  6. Inline editing not supported.
  7. Custom tabs in the left hand navigation (app menu) are no longer supported. You need to access them via the App Launcher.
  8. Even Visualforce pages written entirely with standard visualforce apex and chatter components will not be auto-rendered with the Lightning UI. They might be one day in the future, but there is no guarantee they can ever be supported.
  9. If your Visualforce pages use iFrames then you need to re-test them very carefully, depending how you’ve implemented. Visualforce pages themselves are now served as iFrames, and nested iFrames can be very nasty! You’ll most likely need to look at Cross Origin Resource Sharing for help.
  10. The new Calendar looks good but none of the drag and drop support or team view is there yet.
  11. No page override for List Views. Tab home and list views are now combined, so don’t expect this to come later.
  12. Portal/Community access is not supported. You don’t get the Manage External Account button so you can’t grant access or login as portal/community users. Plus, you can’t switch into the community as there’s no global header until you flip back to Classic.
  13. Third party AppExchange package support is still patchy. At the time of writing of the 2667 apps on the AppExchange only 116 are tagged as Lightning Ready. Beware! They may still work but contact the vendor to ask for their timeframe and impact assessment.

The workaround for all but the first one of these is simple: your affected users will need to be comfortable to switch to and from the Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic modes. The good news is salesforce have made this is as easy as possible.

Step 2 – Exec Sponsorship

Just like when you first implemented Salesforce you should have a project team and exec sponsorship for what you’re about to do. You’re going to need to make decisions about whether to proceed, potentially engage third party suppliers to make changes to their products or previous custom developments, and get internal resource to undertake testing of the changes.

See the Lightning Experience Rollout Trailhead which has a very handy enablement pack with slides, templates, spreadsheets, gap analysis and handy feature comparisons of Lightning vs Classic. This is the type of deliverable we provide when we deliver a  Lightning Health Check.

Step 3 – Enabling Lightning X

First here’s my org before I start, pretty standard looking:


The first thing I need to do is go to <yourname> > Setup to access the system admin setup. You’ll see at the top of the setup tree a new option called Lightning Experience (if you don’t have Person Accounts activated). Click that.


  1. Make sure you’ve completed the Trailhead course “Lightning Experience Basics“ and received your badge. If you skip this step, it will be like upgrading from Windows 7 to 8 – you know what you want to do and how to do it but you can’t find it and don’t know if it’s still there!
  2. Enable recommended features. Choose for yourself what features you wish to enable based on their usefulness. Note that once enabled they’re enabled for all users, so ensure all stakeholders agree to the feature activation first, you can always enable them later.lightningpt1-5
  3. Decide who can use Lightning. Lightning won’t suit all your users, but the Trailhead modules give you great material to determine who to enable it for. Remember that even after enabling this a user needs to decide for themselves when to switch between Lightning and Classic modes. Just make sure you communicate the changes to them first and manage their expectations. I chose to use a Permission Set to enable access, primarily as there are other features you may want to include (more on that later).lightningpt1-6
  4. Enabling the Lightning Experience – Flip the switch and … nothing happens! Not quite. Your users with the permission set will now have a new menu option. They get to decide when they switch in, and importantly, out of Lightning. They’ll need to know how to do both, trust me on that one.





OK, that was so easy, what were you scared of? Well, switching it on is very easy, and switching off is equally easy. The reality is you need to do much more to plan and cater for your customisations and even if you’re 100% out of the box, you need to educate your users about the new UI and when they still need to switch back to the Classic view.

Step 4 – The Extra Bits

Here’s some extra stuff that isn’t documented in one place but I’d recommend you also consider.

  • If you use Cases then to maximise the benefit make sure you optimise your Case Feed layout and your Case Feed Publisher Actions. This can save your users hours each week in reduced navigation clicks.
  • Now we have Feed Tracking on all objects, so also consider using the Feed view for your custom objects.
  • Update the Lightning X Permission Set to include any additional functional permissions to maximise the use of Lightning. This includes:
    • View Setup for accessing the Data Import Wizard
    • Run Reports for viewing the Top Deals and Performance Chart on Opportunities
  • Clone your key (editable) Dashboards for Lightning users. First create a separate set of Folders (in Classic mode as you can’t seem to do this in Lightning). Once a Dashboard has been saved in Lightning you can no longer edit it in Classic mode (you can still view it, just the Edit button will disappear). It’s vital if you have users using both Classic and Lightning that they understand this and you put in place backups or restrict changes to any key business dashboards. Storing them in separate folders is advisable for now so it’s clear to everyone.

Step 5 – Rollout Strategy

So you now know all about Lightning and you can go ahead and let everyone loose? Think again. There’s a very good set of resources from Trailhead. Use the Enablement Pack to support your rollout.

Based on your findings, document everything in a Gap Analysis (see the Sample Gap Analysis Checklist v1.xls in the Enablement Pack) and Implementation Plan. Prepare to brief and demo to your key stakeholders about the changes and only offer the changeover to users who will be constructive in giving feedback.

If you’re undecided whether to adopt Lightning yet, use the Sample Risk Severity Matrix from the Enablement Pack to help you reach your decision.

Your rollout plan should include at least the following:

  1. Document your sandbox configuration so you have a clear ‘Steps to Repeat’ or configuration workbook
  2. User Testing plan (Who, What and When)
  3. Communication Plan – Include everyone, not just those in the pilot
  4. User Training Plan
  5. Production Go Live – pilot
  6. Post Implementation Support and enabling additional groups of users


Read part 2 here where I’ll cover my experience of using Lightning and share my thoughts on both .

If you’re interested in a Lightning Health Check, please get in touch with us.



Essential reading:

Lightning Experience Basics
Trailhead – Getting Started with Lightning Experience
Trailhead – Deciding if Lightning Experience is right for you
Trailhead – Enabling Lightning Experience
Trailhead – Lightning Experience Rollout
Lightning Experience Considerations

Other useful links:
Trailhead – Migrating to Lightning Experience
Are you ready for the new Lightning Experience?
Admin Trail – Starting with Lightning Experience
Developer Trail – Lightning Experience
Developerforce – Lightning Experience FAQ
Lightning Experience Enablement Pack