5 Noteworthy Community Cloud Features in the Salesforce Summer ’15 Release

With every release, the Salesforce1 Community Cloud just keeps on getting better. We’ve seen some significant improvements to Communities over the past year and that trajectory doesn’t appear to be slowing down with the Summer ’15 release.

I reviewed the 30 or so Community Cloud enhancements and have provided a short list of those that I believe warrant serious attention, along with my own input.


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1. Customize Visualforce Error Pages For Authenticated Users

You can use custom Visualforce error pages for authenticated users instead of the default Visualforce error pages.

In Community Management, select Administration | Preferences, and then select Use custom Visualforce error pages. Then in Administration | Pages, click Go to Force.com to specify your custom page.

When Use custom Visualforce error pages is selected, users who are logged in to the community will only see your custom Visualforce error pages. When Use custom Visualforce error pages is not selected, users logged in to the community see the default Visualforce error pages. Guest users who aren’t logged in to the community will always see the custom Visualforce error pages, regardless of whether or not you select the Use custom Visualforce error pages option.

My take:

Let’s face it; the default Visualforce error page is just plain ugly. I can’t imagine anyone out there being pleased with that screen being shown to Community users. Fortunately, Salesforce.com is providing additional support to remove this for authenticated Communities users, once and for all.

If you take advantage of this feature, you can avoid displaying this to your Community ever again:

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2. Customize Your Community’s Change Password and Forgot Password Pages

Use a custom Community Builder (Site.com Studio) or Visualforce page instead of the default Change Password and Forgot Password pages.

In Community Management, go to Administration | Login & Registration to change your page assignments. You can use a custom Community Builder (Site.com Studio) or Visualforce page to override the default pages.

The Forgot Password page can be customized in Community Builder or Visualforce. If you want to use a custom Community Builder Forgot Password page, first publish your page in Community Builder.

The Change Password page can only be customized in Visualforce.

Page selections made in Community Management override previous page selections specified in the Site.com and Force.com site settings. For more information, see Use Custom Change Password and Forgot Password Pages in Your Community in the Salesforce Help.

My take:

Salesforce’s defalt Change Password screen is fine. It works and it’s relatively clear.

The default Forgot Password screen is a completely different story. Regardless of what email you have entered, the text communicates to the user that an email has been sent. And…what if you forgot your email? You’ll sit there waiting for the email to come, since Salesforce won’t inform you in any way that you’ve used an incorrect email.

I completely get the security element here and that part makes sense. However, the clear statement that “an email has been sent” is misleading and has definitely caused pain for users. The good news? You can now scrap that text and put in something that makes more sense.

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3. Create Custom Recommendations

Create recommendations to drive engagement for your community, encouraging users to watch videos, take trainings, and more. Edit these recommendations in Community Management, where they’re supported in feeds in the Salesforce1 mobile browser app and in any community using the Summer ’15 or later version of the Napili template.

In Community Management, select Recommendations | Recommendations. For instructions on creating recommendations, see Customize Recommendations in Communities in the Salesforce Help.

In the Salesforce1 mobile browser app, recommendations appear directly in the feed. In communities using the Summer ’15 or later version of the Napili template, recommendations appear by default on the right side of the home page. Recommendations don’t appear in other communities.

Chatter REST API and Chatter in Apex also support custom recommendations.

My take:

Salesforce.com’s recommendation engine is bit of a mystery. We don’t have an exact picture as to how the recommendations are made and (until now) we’ve been at the mercy of the relevant algorithm. Custom recommedations will be very useful in engaging users and providing them with more relevant Community content.

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4. Enable Case and Lead Assignment Rules More Intuitively

The options available for the Case Assignment Checkbox and Lead Assignment Checkbox now respect both the Default setting and the Show on edit page checkbox independently. Previously, these options were not independent of each other.

To update the case assignment checkbox, edit the Layout Properties of the case page layout.

Example: To force case assignment rules, select Default under Case Assignment Checkbox. This means end users won’t see any option to turn off case assignment when editing a case. You can also decide to include the Assign using active assignment rules checkbox by selecting Show on edit page. If you select both options, the assignment checkbox is displayed and is checked by default. The default setting will force the assignment rule to run unless you also display the checkbox and a user manually deselects the checkbox.

My take:

Finally! This has been a major pain. I mean, why in the world would you allow your customers or partners to have control over whether Lead or Case assignment rules were applied? It never made any sense to me. This is a seemingly small change that actually is extremely beneficial to a number of organizations on the Force.com platform.

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5. Streamlined Community Management Overview Page

The Community Management Overview page provides only the most relevant information you need. Links to best practices, release information, and groups in the Success Community ensure that community managers have what they need to be successful.

  • A list of community resources give you quick access to documentation, playbooks, and groups in the Success Community.
  • Videos provide relevant release information right at your fingertips.
  • Click More to access your community status and template options.
  • Quick Links have been removed.
  • The Force.com and Site.com Studio links under Advanced Customization are now on the Administration | Pages node.

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My take:

One more step in the right direction for Community Cloud. Communities have always had a slightly awkward administration page. It wasn’t necessarily that controls were missing, but the navigation seemed out of place.

Salesforce has taken the time to create a clean, simple hub for Community management. This is another solid change that isn’t flashy but provides some serious value for admins and others.

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