What’s New in the User Interface for Enterprise edition of Dynamics 365 (Online)
Since the upgrade from Dynamics 2011 to Dynamics 2013, the user interface of Dynamics 365 (Dynamics CRM previously) didn’t undergo any major changes. Sure, the navigation bar saw some changes, along with small updates here and there, but nothing to write home about. With this latest update, Microsoft decided to listen to what the customers want, and they sure delivered.
New and Refreshed User Interface
- Reduced amount of white spaces: Most customers complained about unused white space in Dynamics 365. Those days are soon to be over; Microsoft is revamping the whole user interface to eliminate the white spaces, providing a cleaner, more compact design.
- Improved visual hierarchy: New clipboard structure for content.
- Standard fonts: Microsoft will start using standard fonts in all of Dynamics 365 to give users a more consistent user interface.
- New look and feel: For tabs, buttons, and input fields.
- Label visibility: Again, one very annoying thing from previous version of Dynamics 365 was field labels getting ‘trimmed’ if they exceeded a certain length. Microsoft took care of this by wrapping the text of labels and values.
- Extended customizations: The color of sub-grid headers can be customized on the form level.
- New standard themes: Introducing themes was a nice idea that Microsoft brought with Dynamics CRM 2016. This allows businesses to customize their Dynamics application with colors that can be consistent within their organization. Now Microsoft provides three standard themes out of the box: CRM Blue theme, CRM Default Theme, CRM Orange theme.
Unified Interface Framework for New Apps
The new unified interface was built from scratch to provide a…well…unified experience across all the apps. It has accessibility as a main target to make navigating through the interface easier, faster, and less demanding. You can now:
- Skip to content directly using a screen reader.
- Jump to specific sections using browser plugins.
- Save time and effort by using keyboard shortcuts.
- Have the same experience on any screen size with the new responsive web designs implemented (i.e., sub-grids will morph into lists for smaller screens…How amazing is that?)
Customer Service Hub
Microsoft introduced the interactive service hub in Dynamics CRM 2016 and it brought a lot of new features to the table, such as interactive dashboards, live updates, etc. Ever since it was released, even though it was a very cool feature to have, it struggled to integrate with the already existing components (normal dashboards, charts, views, etc.) Therefore, it has been rebuilt using the new unified interface framework as a standalone application. Also, as the title of the section suggests, it’s been renamed to “Customer Service Hub.”
Again, this is based on the new unified interface framework. It’s part of the Customer Service Hub. You can now manage everything about knowledge base articles in one place (author, edit, search, publish KB articles).
Most notable enhancements are:
- Content in rich text editor: See a preview of how the KB article will look on multiple devices
- Improved support for HTML Source editing of KB Article
- Enhanced search: Knowledge base is enabled for “Relevance Search,” which uses the Azure search service to index and search records.
Business Process Flows
These are still fresh out of the oven. They had a complete overhaul with the introduction of Dynamics 365 back in December 2016, but Microsoft saw room for improvements and didn’t sleep on it.
- Business Process Flow is now an entity, and custom views can be created.
- BPF entities can be accessible from the sitemap.
- They can be displayed in floating mode or docked mode.
- Stages can now be aligned vertically or horizontally.
- Optional steps can be defined with criteria to trigger them.
Timeline and Activity Feeds Update
The new timeline allows service reps to view all customer interactions for a specific case all in one place. Notes, posts, and other interactions can be managed directly from the timeline itself. The activity feed in the timeline makes some sort of a summary for reps to view all activities related to the case they’re working on to give them more visibility.
“What’s New” section gives reps a view of what they missed, such as notes, unread emails, and new activities that were created while they were away.
New Quick Create Forms
Tasks, phone calls, and appointments benefit from new Quick Create forms to save time and increase productivity.
An updated email editor comes with this update to provide richer editing capabilities.
A new LinkedIn Connector solution will be available in the AppSource called: LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.
The new features include:
- Multiple members account support: Your Dynamics 365 organization can be synced to multiple employees’ accounts to bring in leads from different LinkedIn accounts.
- Customizable lead-matching strategies: User can customize which fields to take into consideration when bringing lead information from LinkedIn.
- Analyze Lead performance across sources: This will give you insight into which sources are generating more (better) leads.
The Dynamics 365-Outlook integration is a widely used feature, as it integrates both products seamlessly to make access simple and fast. This app has been updated with the new unified interface. It keeps the same functionality as it did before, adding the advantage of the unified interface: Mobile client users can use the Dynamics 365 app for Outlook the same way they use the Dynamics 365 (online) mobile app.
View list items
As mentioned before, sub-grids and views can be shown as lists of items in the updated app.
Microsoft has added a very useful “Favorites and Recent” tab in the left pane of the sitemap to give users easy access to the entity records they used the most or are the most important to them.
Detailed record view
You can easily access all of a record’s details from within the app.
The global UI search is also included in the new Dynamics 365 app for Outlook to enable advanced search for records.
Dynamics 365 Mobile App
The new Dynamics 365 mobile app is built using the new unified interface. Updates will be pushed on the server side, so there will be no need to install updates from the app store anymore.
The new navigation in Dynamics the 365 Mobile app provides faster and easier navigation between various areas and entities, including the new “Favorites and Recent” tab to easily access your important records.
You can now delete, reassign, or close records without even opening them. Just click on the More button and you’ll have all the options you need.
iFrames and web resources
In order to keep the interface unified and consistent, you can now enable iFrames and Web Resources for Mobile to have them showing in the mobile app.
Continuum support for Windows Phone
If you’re using the app on your Windows Phone (if you’re among the 0.3% of the world…sorry, Microsoft), you can benefit from the Continuum feature by connecting your phone to a bigger screen.
Better handling of mobile offline. No need to wait for data to download. You can now immediately start working on the app once switched to offline, while the data will be downloaded in the background (giving you access to check the status of the download).