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The Differences between Salesforce Classic and Salesforce Lightning

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If you’ve worked in Salesforce for a few years, you are more than likely familiar with the two frameworks of both Salesforce Classic and Salesforce Lightning. And, even if you’re brand new to Salesforce, you’ve come to the right place!


Salesforce Classic was the original framework of Salesforce, and even though Salesforce is moving away from this framework, it was still a stellar CRM compared to its competitors. It’s important to make note that while Lightning is starting to dominate, it is not a piece by piece replacement of Classic.


And, although Classic is not having new features added, there is still functionality that is preferred in Classic as it compares to Lightning. The good news is, there is a toggle that allows you to switch between Salesforce Classic and Salesforce Lightning as needed!


Let’s take a look at the differences between Salesforce Classic and Salesforce Lightning.


The Salesforce UI is like night and day when compared between the Classic and Lightning framework. Classic harkens to a very basic, to-the-point environment. The buttons are grey, the colors are muted and it’s a little cluttered.


The Classic User Interface can be a bit lackluster

This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, but you can see how the Lightning UI is cleaner, with a more modern look.


The same report, but in Lightning!

Overall, it seems the Lightning UI is preferred as far as looks are concerned, whether it be in reporting, or simply using the records, as well.


The navigation between the two are also very different. Salesforce Classic relies heavily on exposing dropdowns for object navigation, but Salesforce Lightning uses a lot of searching. You can still search in the Quick Find in Classic, but it can be a bit overwhelming.
As an admin, you need to find things quickly, and Salesforce Classic has options like object settings nested under each object. In Salesforce Lighting, those options are a little more difficult to find, and it’s usually best to use the Quick Find.


Salesforce Classic has a lot of dropdowns that seem to be a tad too much.


Again, Salesforce Lightning has a cleaner look, with more reliance on the Quick Find.

Salesforce Lightning also projects links towards the top of the list that they want Admins to be more aware of. For example, Multi-Factor Authentication is a change that needs to happen for all customers by February of 2022, but that is not visible in Classic in the same location.


When it comes to page layouts, Lightning may be easier to use, but there are also more places to make adjustments, which can be confusing for less experienced Admins. Lightning has drag and drop functionality on lightning pages, which makes it simple to adjust the layout.


However, there can be confusion when it comes time to make an adjustment to the page layout, on whether it should be done at the object level, or done on the Lightning App Builder. It takes some experience and learning the system to know where certain changes should occur.


The Lightning App Builder also allows for components to be included on the page layout that would otherwise be Visualforce on the Classic page layout, and customization with Lightning Web Components.
Filters can also be applied to certain components, so you can have one page layout for multiple people or profiles, thus limiting the amount of admin work it takes to maintain different team needs. These dynamic pages help keep the org clean and are more flexible than Classic pages.


A filter in the Lightning App Builder for a page layout.

Overall, the page layout functionality is better in Lightning, but there are some complaints. Page caching seems to occur more frequently in Lightning, and many Admins and users have said that page load times can be a bit slower.


There are certain things you can do to reduce sluggishness, and it pays to keep your org clean to promote load times and prevent CPU timeout issues.


There are new features being promoted with each major Salesforce Release (Spring, Summer and Winter). Almost all of these features are built with Lightning in mind. Even as you go down the list that Salesforce provides, you can see that there are gaps where features are not supported in Classic.


Paths, activity timelines, and even territory forecasts are not supported in Classic. This means that as your company leans on Salesforce, there is functionality built with today’s users in mind that you may not be able to take full advantage of in Classic.


Even when it comes to metrics that can be viewed in reports and dashboards, or the flexibility of list views for users to organize their records, Lightning is a superior match. There is also the consideration of the Salesforce Mobile App that works seamlessly with the desktop Lightning Experience.


Create new lookup records without losing your progress!

Lightning also lets users create related lookup records while editing. In Classic, if the lookup record does not exist, users have to backtrack to create the lookup record first, thus losing their progress.

This can be frustrating, and can add more time, as users are forced to search and know exactly which records they need before making updates. The Lightning Experience framework makes this much easier on end users, like Sales representatives, who are pressed for time in their day.


While there is an overlap to some features in Service Cloud that are available in both Classic and Lightning, like Omni-Channel, features like Service Cloud Voice are only available in Lightning. Salesforce is investing a lot of technology to help Customer Service representatives handle customer needs as efficiently as possible.
Service Cloud has become very Lightning friendly and looks to further expand on Einstein and AI to propel Salesforce Service Cloud to the top of the list amongst other service based competitors.


Salesforce Lightning is the framework that cannot be ignored, and if your company is currently using Salesforce Classic, there are steps you need to take to evaluate whether your organization is ready for Salesforce Lightning and what work needs to be done to prepare it for success.


Moreover, our team of Salesforce experts is happy to discuss your salesforce challenges.


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