Introducing Salesforce User Experience Designer Certification

Matt/ June 17, 2021/ Certifications, Salesforce

Last week, Salesforce surprised us with news of an exciting new certification: Salesforce Certified User Experience (UX) Designer. As part of this announcement we were also introduced to a new Designer career path.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve welcomed this news with open arms, and not because we’re both designers. In fact, I’m the furthest thing from a designer! I can get by, but I am frequently in awe of colleagues who effortlessly create sleek, intuitive user experiences across every project they work on.

Salesforce has many things going for it but the interface has long been a pain-point for users who don’t like it, and developers who want more control over it. A couple of years ago, the introduction of Lightning Web Components gave us the power to harness modern tools and web standards to control Salesforce UI in ways we never could before. This new designation aims to recognize those who command mastery of that UI and the greater User Experience as a whole.

The history of salesforce feature releases is long and storied, however UI changes have been quite underwhelming to say the least and I don’t think this certification can be fully appreciated without knowing the history of the various UI frameworks Salesforce has unveiled.

History of Salesforce UI

Perhaps you’ve been around the ecosystem long enough to remember when Classic UI was new, and developers were eager to diverge away from S-controls and towards Visualforce pages, an XML-like syntactical language used to generate HTML pages. This was a significant development at the time, giving developers the power to fully customize the look and feel of applications utilizing third-party JavaScript libraries such as jQuery. It took quite a while to develop, and reminded me of my old days as a ColdFusion web developer, but we had good control of the UI as long as we had the patience required to build anything.

LWC changed the game by leveraging modern development tools to create powerful UI

In 2015, a new framework was released in beta for building something called Lightning Components on the Aura Framework (later renamed as Aura Components). These components were a step forward but they never felt ready for prime time to me, and I held on to VisualForce and jQuery as my go-to tools for creating sleek interfaces. My biggest pet peeve was these components could not be altered to allow for customized user experiences. I kept an eye on the technology but was never fully sold on leaving VisualForce. Slowly, Aura Components become more and more feature rich and I started to think there might actually be a future for these things after all.

That all changed in December 2018 with the announcement of Lightning Web Components. LWC used standard tools and aligned with modern web standards, using code that natively runs on browsers. This freedom from the Aura framework allowed much faster performance compared to Aura Components. And, LWC are fully customizable which made it possible, finally, to design a user experience.

Why this certification matters

To fully appreciate why this certification matters, we must first understand why User Experience matters (ok, I admit this line sounded better in my head). At the highest level, User Experience is how your users feel when they interact with your application. It attempts to build brand loyalty by fulfilling the user’s needs. I don’t want to stray too far off-topic so I’ll leave it there for now, but for a more in-depth writeup on the subject I’d recommend checking out this article on Workshopper.

If Salesforce created the JavaScript Developer I Certification to set apart developers who are skilled in utilizing modern development tools to customize the Salesforce user interface, then this certification takes it a step further to identify devs who can offer an enriching journey atop that UI. The preparation trail for Javascript Developer I taught the coding skills necessary to develop powerful LWCs but it stopped short of teaching how to maintain a consistent look and experience across your components and the entire Lightning experience.

That is where this new certification comes in. With the second heaviest weighted section dedicated to the mastery of the Salesforce Lightning Design System (SLDS), developers and solution architects will be able to really impress users with their custom LWC components, not just for their functionality but also for their look-and-feel.

To take a personal detour, I recently accepted a contract with Robots & Pencils. There are a few things that really drew me to this company. First, their Salesforce practice is led by none other than Daniel Peter, who needs no introduction as one of the most well-known developers and thought-leaders in the ecosystem. The second reason is the hidden meaning behind their funny name. Robots & Pencils is an effort to blend the most knowledgeable technical experts (the Robots) with the most kick-ass User Interface and User Experience designers in the world (the Pencils). It quickly became clear to me this company embodied the exact formula necessary to secure the most exciting client projects, and I wanted to be a part of that. The new User Experience Designer certification attracts me for the same reasons.

Diving into the details

And that brings me to the section listing for this certification:

  • Discovery: 13%
  • UX Fundamentals: 16%
  • Human-Centered Design: 12%
  • Declarative Design: 27%
  • Testing: 11%
  • Salesforce Lightning Design System (SLDS): 21%

Just as Robots & Pencils blends the technologies with the humanities, this certification strives to do the same while walking participants through the User Experience Design Process illustrated above. In addition to SLDS, I’m particularly excited for the UX Fundamentals and Human-Centered Design sections, although the entire exam looks full of very interesting content.

Who is this certification for?

This certification is not just for Designers! In my opinion, every Career Path in the Salesforce ecosystem will benefit from this new certification. It’s a necessity for the modern Developer, the Architect, and the Administrator. I would highly recommend it to the Consultant. I would even recommend this to off-platform Designers looking to boost their credentials with a designation from a very reputable source.

If you’re as excited as I am for this new certification, or if you’re still not sure if this designation is right for you, check out the official Exam Guide to better understand the target audience and see the objective breakdown for each section you can expect to be tested on.

You will also want to complete the Prepare for your UX Designer Credential Trailmix put together by Salesforce so you can be confident heading into the exam to secure what I believe will soon become be one of the most sought-after certifications on job postings.

Related Resources:

  • Salesforce’s announcement on Medium
  • Don Robin’s Pluralsight course Play by Play: Lightning UX Design Process for Salesforce Developers
  • Trailhead module: Salesforce User Experience Designer Certification Prep
  • Trailblazer Community Design Group

Do you plan to write this exam? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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About Matt

Matt is a seasoned Salesforce Developer / Architect, with implementations of Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, CPQ, Experience Cloud, and numerous innovative applications built upon the platform. He started coding in grade 8 and has won awards ranging from international scholarships to internal corporate leadership awards. He is 37x Certified on the platform, including Platform Developer II, B2B Solution Architect and B2C Solution Architect.