Articles  |   22-11-2018

Top 3 new features: Salesforce Community Cloud, winter 2019 release

Top 3 new features: Salesforce Community Cloud, winter 2019 release

There are many new features announced for Salesforce Community Cloud in the Winter 2019 release. Here are 3 which positively impact the member and Administrator experience.

 

1) Most URLs of Community pages are now editable

All Community pages (including most default pages) can now have their URL customized. This excludes Home, Login and Error pages.

This enables the creation of URLs that are much easier to remember for Community members and users. When Administrators promote or create messages around certain pages, the URL of the page itself can reinforce that messaging by being shorter, more meaningful and consistent.

 

How to use it

Go to the “Properties” of any page, and, at the bottom, click “Change base URL”. Then, enter the new base URL of your choice for that page.

Salesforce Community Cloud Change Base URL

Additional information about this feature can be found in the Salesforce Community Cloud Winter 2019 release notes: https://releasenotes.docs.salesforce.com/en-us/winter19/release-notes/rn_networks_builder_update_edit_URL_prefix.htm

 

2) Community discussions can now be threaded

Before the release of this feature, a Community discussion could only be in the form of a set of answers to a question: one level of answers to a question. Example:

  • Level 1: Question
  • Level 2: Answer
  • Level 2: Answer / Reply / Follow-up question
  • Level 2: Answer / Reply / Follow-up question
  • (No level 3)

Technically a question is represented by a Chatter FeedItem and an answer to a question is represented by a Chatter FeedComment (so basically an answer is a chatter comment to a chatter post of type “question”).

In real life, a discussion doesn’t stop when a question is answered; people can keep replying to each other, ask follow-up questions, or share additional comments not related to the initial question or answer, etc.

With threaded discussions, we have multiple levels of answers following a question hence the idea of “thread”. The initial question is still represented by a Chatter FeedItem, and the first level of answer by a Chatter FeedComment to a Chatter FeedItem. Subsequent sub-levels of answers/replies/comments in the thread are represented by a Chatter FeedComment to a FeedComment.

 

How to enable it

For new Communities, the feature doesn’t need to be enabled; it is enabled by default. For existing Communities, go to “Administration”, then “Preferences”, check the “Allow discussion threads” checkbox and click “Save”. See below:

Salesforce Community Cloud Allow Discussion Threads

After the “Threaded discussion feature” is enabled, whenever the “Feed Posts & Comments” Lightning component is used (usually in the Question detail page), multi-level replies are possible.

The end result looks a bit like this:

Salesforce Community Cloud Multi Level Thread

As you can see, the multiple levels make spotting, reading and engaging with the posts and replies more natural and easier.

  • Level 1: Question
  • Level 2: Answer
  • Level 3: Answer / Reply / Follow-up question
  • Level 4: Answer / Reply / Follow-up question

From the point of view of both Community members and Administrators, the main benefit of discussion threads is obvious: being able to have better and more interactive real-life conversations.

Additional information about this feature can be found in the Salesforce Community Cloud Winter 2019 release notes: https://releasenotes.docs.salesforce.com/en-us/winter19/release-notes/rn_networks_threaded_discussions.htm

 

3) Allow guest Users to access flows

Flows / Workflows for forms have always been a very powerful tool when it comes to member registration, validating eligibility for registration, and customizing the registration journey based on the specific characteristics of each registrant.

This new feature, as mentioned in the Community Cloud release notes, consists of:

“Guest users can now access flows through your public community pages. With flows, you can guide your users through the registration process while learning more about them, allowing you to provide the best community experience possible.

Allowing guest users to access flows means you can serve up multi-part forms and decision trees aimed at gathering specific data before a user registers. Admins can register users at the end of the flow and pull in all previously entered information.” (source: Salesforce)

What is really interesting here, is that no software developer is needed to build and deploy a multi-part form with a decision tree. All it takes is some configuration from the Administrator to build the screens (with questions and fields) and the conditions that control the succession of the different screens. The result is a robust custom registration process.

From the Administrator’s perspective, this opens up a world of possibilities that may have previously required developers or 3rd party plugins. For the registrant, this simply means that their Community has new tools to serve them better.

 

Example (Source of images and text: Salesforce)

Guest user flows allow users to provide their preferences before creating an account. In this example, the admin wants to let users declare their data privacy preferences before creating an account. Using flows, the admin creates a screen to gather login information, such as name and email address.

Source Salesforce: Community Cloud flow guest user info

When visitors enter basic information, they can move to the next screen, which asks about data collection preferences.

Source Salesforce: Community Cloud flow guest user gdpr

The visitor can continue to the last screen, which creates a user record and saves their preferences.

Source Salesforce: Community Cloud flow guest user registration

(End of Example)

Additional information about this feature can be found in the Salesforce Community Cloud Winter 2019 release notes: https://releasenotes.docs.salesforce.com/en-us/winter19/release-notes/rn_networks_guest_user_flows.htm

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