Image of Vicki Moritz-Henry next to text that says, "Skills for Success: Designer's Mindset."

Develop a Designer’s Mindset as a Salesforce Admin


There are many different specialties spanning the various Salesforce products. You’ll often hear about finding your niche, that specialty where you’re the expert and you’ve found your groove. Whether you’ve found your niche as an administrator, developer, consultant, or in a highly specialized area (I’m looking at you, CPQ!), there are some common skills that, when honed and developed, are guaranteed to make your projects more successful.

One of those skill sets is the designer’s mindset.

My awareness of the importance of a designer’s mindset came from working alongside an especially skilled website consultant while implementing a sales process spanning the website and our Salesforce system. The thought process behind designing a successful website resonated with me: navigation, ease of use, and the end-to-end user experience (UX).

One notion that came up over and over again was how to design webpages so as to not make the user think. When a user is on a website and has to think about where to click next, you’ve already lost them. My colleagues must have started a pool around how many times each week they would hear “remember, don’t make them think” when we were designing anything, whether it was new Salesforce functionality or content for training. Shortly after, Trailhead started coming out with new badges around design that were hitting the exact same topics I had been studying in website design! This lead to a brand new credential: Salesforce Certified User Experience (UX) Designer.

The buzz around this exam was enormous, with the Twitter-sphere blowing up with Salesforce professionals nominating each other to take the exam. It was clear that this one was not to be missed.

What is a designer’s mindset?

A designer’s mindset, in its purest form, is about keeping your target audience—whether it be an end user, a lead, or a customer—front and center in the design of your project. It’s a human-centric focus that takes a step back from the technical systems and processes, and instead hones in on what the individuals impacted by those systems and processes really need.

There are many different design principles that come into play in a designer’s mindset:

  1. Relationship design involves focusing on ongoing engagement and strengthening connections between people, companies, and communities over time. Sounds a lot like the Trailblazer Community, does it not?
  2. Conversation design takes relationship design a step further by creating meaningful conversations to maintain that engagement at scale.
  3. Inclusive design focuses on the principles of recognizing exclusion, learning from diversity, and solving for one while extending to many. We want to make sure our solutions allow everybody to have a seat at the table and that nobody feels left out.

Let’s take the example of creating a new custom field. We often hop over to the Setup menu, create the field, and are off to the next task. But adopting a designer’s mindset means:

  1. Reviewing the Lightning record page to see where that new custom field is going to be exposed.
  2. Keeping the most commonly utilized fields “above the fold” (that is, in the top portion of the record).
  3. Using help text to provide more information about how this new field should be used.
  4. Conditionally hiding the field on the record pages using Dynamic Forms if it only needs to be exposed in certain scenarios.

All of these small gestures result in saved time, increased productivity, and all-around happier end users.

Why is a designer’s mindset important for Salesforce Admins?

What is one of the top measures of a successful project? User adoption.

In fact, a study by Forrester cited “failure to adopt, once implemented” as one of the top four reasons why customer relationship management (CRM) projects fail, along with “focusing on technology, rather than people.”

That sounds pretty scary for the everyday admin. Our role consists of constantly pushing out projects, big and small, to enhance our Salesforce orgs while improving ROI and increasing team productivity.

So, how can we keep our superhero capes and ensure our projects are a success?

By keeping our end users front and center throughout the entire design process. That means gathering input from business stakeholders from the beginning, creating personas for each type of stakeholder to ensure an inclusive design, testing solutions on the front end as a user following multiple testing scenarios, and gathering feedback after implementation for user design improvement.

Adopting a designer’s mindset can help safeguard the success of your projects, take your admin game to the next level, and maybe even get you a new pair of boots to go with that superhero cape!

How can I develop my designer’s mindset?

It’s never been easier to learn more about UX design!

  1. Hit the trails. Trailhead is a great place to start. There’s an entire trailmix dedicated to studying for the UX Designer credential. This will bring you through not only more of the theory briefly discussed above but also UX-focused Salesforce features, such as In-App Guidance, Salesforce Lightning Design System (SLDS), Dynamic Forms, and more!
  2. Hit the books. Personally, I’m a huge bookworm, so one of my first stops was to brush up on UX design principles at my local bookstore. One of my favorites is Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think, where the same principles about web design can inform your Salesforce solution design. If you’re looking to take it a step further, check out The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond by Jesse Garrett or The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman.
  3. Hit up your friends. The Trailblazer Community always has your back when it comes to learning new skills, and UX design is no different. As soon as the new credential appeared, the blogs offering helpful tips and advice came flowing in. Get started thanks to Vanessa Grant, Gaurav Kheterpal, Luke Menzfeld, Palash Dubey, and many, many others!

The new Salesforce UX Designer credential has been foreshadowed as the first of many design-focused certifications to come, meaning that the designer’s mindset is here to stay. It’s no surprise, with UX design having an impact on everything from user adoption to project success—and we all know happy users make for a happy admin! With these skills arguably being applicable to any role within the Salesforce ecosystem, there’s never been a better time to start developing your designer’s mindset.

Take these three steps to build your success:

  1. Explore the new Salesforce Admin Skills Kit to learn how to represent your skills when applying for admin jobs or preparing for performance reviews.
  2. Share these skills on social media using #AwesomeAdmin, and tell other admins three skills you’re going to commit to developing this year.
  3. Revisit next Tuesday for the next blog post in this series!


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