Although the available standard buttons are excellent for most layouts, they do not leverage the full potential out of Salesforce’s toolkit.
A blog post by Ben McCarthy encompasses some of the more interesting ways to use custom buttons, specifically involving URL hacking. In this article, I will be reviewing and highlighting how it is effective.
1. Using Conceptual Ramp Up to Keep it Fresh and Logical
Like any class or formal training, concepts build off of each other. It’s very hard to skip straight to advanced tutorials if you don’t have the salesforce basics down.
However, once you get to the advanced tutorials, they can stay more fresh because they aren’t weighed down by re-explaining the basics.
For example, the first tutorial introduces you to the concept of URL hacking <screenshot1>.
This tutorial explains the basics of URL hacking, and how to parse relevant URL information in order to pre-populate fields on the page. Each step is broken down simply so that even beginners will be able to follow along.
The second tutorial <screenshot2> expands on the URL hacking concept by applying it to filling in fields for sending emails.
It simply links back to the first tutorial instead of re-explaining it, allowing intermediate users to forge ahead.
The same occurs for the third tutorial for Salesforce reports. <screenshot3>
These aren’t just a random collection of clever Salesforce tricks, they are a cohesive tutorial plan with a clear progression.
2. The Tutorial Fills a Useful Niche
Perhaps the most important factor is that these tutorials are interesting and fill a useful niche. URL hacking isn’t referenced in documentation or officially supported by Salesforce, because the dynamic query strings can be changed without any notice.
That means any tutorial that can clearly explain such a vast tool that is available will fill a niche. While video tutorials are great to learn concepts intuitively, they are harder to return to for reference.
The use of screenshots and code snippet examples improves the usability of the tutorial, making it an excellent resource to keep in your back pocket.
3. Effective Linkbacks and Use of Interconnected Structure.
In 3 out of the 4 examples presented on this blog post, there is a short brief explaining what it is, the benefits of it, and links to the full tutorial. Each of these Salesforce tutorials have a linkback to the main blog post.
This structure makes it easy to digest without overwhelming you with information. More importantly, it makes the page more viewable by not forcing you to have to scroll down at length. Users will often get a feeling of fatigue before even beginning to read if the post appears long.
This lesson can be applied to the UX design of your custom Salesforce layouts. For example, you may want to have a button that allows you to view a user’s account history in a new window on every relevant page for that user. Otherwise, you might have to click back a couple pages to find the link to access that account history.
A smart use of interconnected structure goes a long way in improving the user’s experience, and has a fairly low opportunity cost.
The root of all custom buttons is user experience and convenience. If it adds a useful function for the client and doesn’t have a high opportunity cost, then it should be worth considering. URL hacking gives you that option, and doesn’t require a much prerequisite knowledge.
Additional information is available on salesforce tutorial for beginners, for a better training.