Laurel Jones
Aug 27 · 5 min read
Not quite winter yet, but it cools you off just looking at it, right?

It’s hard to think about winter when it’s still 90+ degrees outside, especially when Salesforce Community Cloud is HEATING UP with some serious user experience updates for both internal and external users. Let’s dive (sled?) right in!

Lightning Communities Updates
Below highlights some of the key updates being made in the Winter ’20 release for Communities as it pertains to the user experience. Many are huge leaps in functionality (adjustable columns and page widths) and permissions (roles for internal Builder users), while others are quality of life enhancements that can be felt on a daily basis (case deflection improvements and improved Account Team management).

  • Flexible Layouts allow you to change the column widths or even add new sections to a page layout. Have you ever wanted to create a page layout with different amount of columns per row? NOW YOU CAN! Get fancy with background images and colors, too! Related to this, you can now set the max-width of the entire page on the theme level. Don’t like the standard 1440px width and want it to go wider? Now you can!
  • Roles have been introduced to control who can make changes in the Builder. 4 total roles allow you to be a full admin all the way down to a read-only role.
  • Navigation Menu Variants are a long-awaited feature to be used on different theme layouts.
  • In Topics Questions, after you select a question and go to the detail page for it, you can now click the browser back button to return to the last page you were on, instead of going back to page one.
  • Account Team enhancements include the ability to add custom fields, buttons and links to the Account Team layouts, use validation rules, triggers and process builder to improve business processes, and report on teams! In addition, team members can now see who has what access (view/edit) to an account or opportunity
  • Managers in a role hierarchy above their reports can now filter list views based on opportunities their team owns.
  • Tile menu is now out of Beta, and can now be deployed through change sets!
  • Case Deflection component has been improved the experience of the articles that appear when a user types in terms in the subject or description
  • Files on records can now be shared with community members. Internal users can now define which files external users can see using the Customer Access option on the file’s detail page.
  • Delegated external users new abilities include managing permission sets for their account’s users, and a better user experience in creating new users by pre-populating language, locale and Chatter Settings picklists, or removing them from the layout altogether

Guest/Public User Sharing & Security
SO much more security around Guest users!

  • Secure Guest User Record Access setting in Sharing Settings to set all OWD to Private for all objects. This also restricts public users from being added to groups or having records manually shared with them.
  • View All Users setting is now disabled in the guest user profile. This only applies to orgs created after winter 20, so be sure to check the access on current guest profiles.
  • Removed various permissions from the guest user profile (see full list here)
  • Guest users can now see records shared with them via Sharing Rules, giving them read-only access to certain records.

Community User Sharing & Security
Alongside guest users, the community user permissions were cleaned up, setting several permissions as defaulted to off. See full list here.

  • TLS 1.2 Encryption is required for Winter 20 release. This will affect what browsers your community is viewed in as well as any inbound or outbound connections from your community.
  • Standard external profiles can be denied for use during the self-registration or user creation processes. You can now enable or disable the “Allow Standard external profiles for self-registration and assignment to users” setting under Communities Settings.
  • Email address confirmations is a much-needed capability coming in Winter 20! This will trigger when a user changes their email address — a confirmation will be sent and validated by the user before the change takes effect.

Case Page Variations & Components Retiring
If any of the listed components or page variations exist on your layout already, you can still use them, but if you delete them, or create a new community, they will not be available. In their place, Salesforce recommends you use generic pages and components associated to the Case object. This includes Case Comments, Case Attachments, and several other Case-specific components.

Salesforce CMS
CMS is now in GA with some great enhancements! Get ready to take your content and localize it, AND create new content types (think announcements, banners, etc.). The content created in the CMS will be available for B2B Commerce managed packages and all your communities (previously only available in Lightning Communities, now available for Visualforce + Tabs!). In your community, you can define a page layout for each content type, allowing flexibility in your page design.

Other Update of Note
Small name changes to features in Communities: “Community Workspaces” is now just “Workspaces” and “My Communities” are now “My Experiences”….hmmm, curious. A sign of things to come, perhaps?

Deep Thoughts by Laurel Jones
I find the product managers of Community Cloud are killing it when it comes to gathering feedback from the customers and partners and actually implementing it in the roadmap. This release is no different. Improvements around layout flexibility, navigation variations, and roles in the Builder being brought to life are prime examples of this, not to mention all the security updates! If you, as a customer, partner or community admin, find that there’s a need you have, talk about it on the Trailblazer Community or the Idea Exchange — if you have the need, there’s a great chance someone else does too.

What’s your favorite update for Communities this release? Hit me up! I’d love to chat Communities!

Full release notes can be found here.

Slalom Technology

Thought leadership from technologists at Slalom.

Thanks to Karl Schwirz

Laurel Jones

Written by

5x certified Salesforce consultant. Live and breathe Communities and Lightning.

Slalom Technology

Thought leadership from technologists at Slalom.

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