How to Build a Suggestions App in Salesforce

by | Nov 29, 2022 | Salesforce, Salesforce Admin

Introduction

We’ve come a long way, and we got to learn quite a bit on this journey. Let’s use all the valuable admin skills we’ve acquired so far to create an App! This App needs no coding. We’ll be taking advantage of the point-and-click tools offered by Salesforce to create this App.

The employees of an IT company require a system in place to let the management know their suggestions effortlessly! Be it a faulty tap in the restroom or an Air-conditioner that requires maintenance, their suggestions need to be heard and rectified ASAP.

As the Salesforce Admin of the firm, we’ve been presented with this problem. It’s up to us to find a solution to this predicament.

Let’s create an App to solve this issue with these five steps:

1. Create an app and a custom object.

2. Add custom fields to the Object.

3. Modify the UI for a seamless experience.

4. Automate calculations, data quality, and field updates using formulas, validation rules, and the process builder.

5. Create reports and dashboards to track the status of suggestions and to analyze how well the company manages employee suggestions.

Let’s get started!

How to Build a Suggestions App in Salesforce

1. Create a Custom Object

Let’s start by creating a Custom Object, Suggestion.

1. From Setup, open Object Manager.

2. Click Create, and then select Custom Object.

3. Enter the following:

  • Label: Suggestion
  • Plural Label: Suggestions
  • Under Optional Features, select Allow Reports.

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4. Make sure you check the box for Launch New Custom Tab Wizard after saving this custom object.

5. Click Save.

You should be on the Custom Object Tab page for the Object, Suggestion.

6. Enter the following:

  • Object: Suggestion
  • Tab Style: Choose an icon of your liking

7. Leave the rest as is. Click Next, Next, and Save.

2. Create an App

Let’s create a basic App using the App Manager. We’ll build on this App moving forward.

1. From Setup, type App Manager in the Quick Find Box, and then click App Manager.

2. Click New Lightning App.

3. In App Details & Branding, enter Suggestions Hub for App Name.

4. Leave the rest as is, and then click Next, Next and Next.

5. In Navigations Items, move the following from Available Items to Selected Items.

  • Suggestions
  • Reports
  • Dashboards

6. Click Next.

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7. For User Profiles, move the System Administrator from Available Profiles to Selected Profiles.

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8. Click Save and Finish.

That’s it! We’ve established the foundation for our App, Suggestions Hub. Let’s visit the App to verify the changes.

3. Visit the App

From the App Launcher (), launch Suggestions Hub. You should be directed to a page just like the one below!

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You should be able to view the following:

  1. App Launcher: Your doorway to all available Apps.
  2. App Name: Displays the name of the current App.
  3. Navigation Menu: Displays all the tabs available for the App.

Add Custom Fields

Now that we’ve created a foundation for our App, let’s create a couple of fields to make the App relevant.

A. From Setup, open Object Manager and select Suggestion.

B. Open Fields & Relationships from the sidebar.

C. Click New.

1. Add a Description Field

This field will be used by the employees to give a detailed picture of their suggestions.

A. For Field Type, select Text Area (Long). Click Next.

B. Enter the following:

    • Field Label: Description
    • Visible Lines: 10
    • Description: Please describe your suggestion in detail.

Click Next, Next, and Save & New.

 

2. Add a Category Field

This field will make it easy to categorize the suggestion., and also helps with reporting later on.

A. For Field Type, select Picklist. Click Next.

B. Enter the following:

    • Field Label: Category
    • Select the checkbox, Enter values, with each value separated by a new line.
    • Enter the following Values (each separated by a new line): Customer Services, Employee Services, Facilities, Kitchen/Snacks, Others.

C. Click Next, Next, and Save.

 

3. Visit the App and Test the Changes

Let’s take a look at how our App looks so far. From the App Launcher (), launch Suggestions Hub. Create a Suggestion record by clicking New, and check if the App works fine so far.

4. View Objects in Schema Builder

Let’s visit the schema builder. The Schema Builder offers a dynamic environment to work on the data model.

  1. From Setup, enter Schema Builder in the Quick Find Box, and click Schema Builder.
  2. Click Clear All, and select Suggestion and User objects from the Objects palette.
  3. Click Auto-Layout in case the objects aren’t visible in the Canvas area.

It should look like this:

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Let’s go ahead and add two more fields to the Suggestion object using the Schema Builder.

5. Add a Status Field

This field gives employees insight into the status of their suggestions.

A. Click the Elements tab from the sidebar.

B. Drag the Picklist field type and drop it on the Suggestions object.

C. Enter the following:

  • Field Label: Status
  • Values ( each on a new line): New, Under Consideration, In Progress, Implemented.
  • Select Use first field as the default value.

D. Click Save.

E. Let’s update the security of the field so that only the Admin can change the value of this field.

  • Right-click the Status field from the Suggestions object.
  • Click Manage Field Permissions.
  • Select the Read-Only for all Users from the top of the column.
  • Deselect Read-Only for the System Administrator.
  • Click Save.

 

6. Add an Implemented Date Field

This field lets us know when the suggestion was implemented. This field also helps us keep track of progress while making reports.

A. Click the Elements tab from the sidebar.

B. Drag the Date field type and drop it on the Suggestions object.

C. Enter the following:

  • Field Label: Implemented Date

D. Click Save.

Let’s update the security of the field so that only the Admin can change the value of this field.

A. Right-click the Implemented Date field from the Suggestions object.

B. Click Manage Field Permissions.

C. Select the Read-Only for all Users from the top of the column.

D. Deselect Read-Only for the System Administrator.

E. Click Save.

7. Test the App

Let’s take a look at how our App is doing so far. From the App Launcher (), launch Suggestions Hub. Create a Suggestion record by clicking New.

Where are our fields, Status, and Implemented Date?

Fear not; it’s just not on the Suggestion page layout. When we use the Schema Builder to create new fields, we need to add the fields onto the page layout using the Page Layout Editor. We’ll get to that soon.

Modify the User Experience

We created the App, related objects, and fields, but that’s not enough. Now, let’s make sure the employees have a great experience on the App. Let’s tinker with the Page Layout to modify the UI of the App.

1. Modify the Page Layout

First, let’s add the fields, Status and Implemented Date onto the Suggestion page layout. After which, we’ll add a new Description section and rearrange the remaining fields.

A. From Setup, open Object Manager, and select the Object, Suggestions.

B. From the sidebar, select Page Layouts.

C. Open Suggestion Layout.

D. Drag and drop the fields, Implemented Date and Status to the Information Section.

E. Click Save.

Now let’s add a new Description section.

A. From the palette, drag and drop Section to under the System Information Section.

B. Enter Suggestion Description for Section Name. And for Layout, select 1-Column.

C. Click Ok.

D. Drag the Description field from the Information section onto the Suggestion Description Section.

E. Click Save.

You should be left with a layout similar to this:

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2. Create a Global Action

Let’s create a global action that enables employees to enter a suggestion without leaving the page they are currently on.

A. From Setup, enter Global Actions in the Quick Find Box and then select Global Actions.

B. Click New Action.

C. Enter the following:

  • Action Type: Create a Record
  • Target Object: Suggestion
  • Standard Label Type: New [Record]
  • Name: New_Suggestion

D. Click Save.

You should be on the Global Action Layout. We can select the fields to be displayed in the global action here.

E. Drag and Drop the fields, Category and Description from the palette onto the layout.

F. Click Save.

G. Click New in the Predefined Values section.

H. Enter the following:

  • Field Name: Status
  • Specific Value: New

I. Click Save.

3. Add the Global Action to the Global Layout

We need to add the global action to the global layout to let our employees access the global action.

A. From Setup, enter Publisher Layouts in the Quick Find Box, and then select Publisher Layouts.

B. Click Edit next to Global Layout.

C. From Mobile & Lightning Actions on the palette, select New Suggestion and drag it onto Salesforce Mobile and Lightning Experience Actions section.

D. Click Save.

You can access the Global Action, and New Suggestion, from anywhere in the org by clicking on the plus icon () at the top-right corner of your org.

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4. Test the App

Let’s take a look at our App now to see how it’s doing so far. From the App Launcher (), launch Suggestions Hub. Create a Suggestion record by clicking New and see the difference for yourself!

Add Business Logic

Let’s ensure that our data stays clean and up-to-date with some business logic!

1. Add a Formula Field

Let’s create a formula field, Days Open, that displays the number of days a suggestion has been open or the number of days it took to implement the suggestion if it’s closed.

A. From Setup, open Object Manager and select Suggestion.

B. Open Fields & Relationships.

C. Click New.

D. For Data Type, select Formula. Click Next.

E. Enter the following:

  • Field Label: Days Open
  • Formula Return Type: Number
  • Decimal Places: 0

F. Click Next.

G. Enter the following formula under the Advanced Formula tab

IF(ISBLANK( Implemented_Date__c ), TODAY() - DATEVALUE(CreatedDate) , IF(Implemented_Date__c < DATEVALUE(CreatedDate),0,Implemented_Date__c -DATEVALUE(CreatedDate)))

 

H. Click Check Syntax.

I. Click Next, Next, and Save.

2. Create a Validation Rule

Let’s create a validation rule that ensures that the field, Implemented Date, is not in the future ( we can’t predict the future, can we?).

A. From Setup, open Object Manager and select Suggestion.

B. Open Validation Rules.

C. Click New.

D. Enter the following:

  • Rule Name: Date_In_Range
  • Error Message: Implemented Date cannot be in the future. The date must be today or in the past.
  • Error Location: Implemented Date
  • Error Condition Formula:
Implemented_Date__c > TODAY()

E. Click Check Syntax.

F. Click Save.

3. Update a Field Using Process Builder

We want to make things easier for the person who’s in charge of acting on all the suggestions. When a User adds a value for the field, Implemented Date, let’s update the value of the field, Status, automatically to Implemented.

Let’s use the Process Builder for this useful automation.

A. Open Setup, type Process Builder in the Quick Find Box, and then select Process Builder.

B. Click New.

C. If a pop-up appears asking you to try flow builder, click Continue in Process Builder.

D. Enter the following in New Process:

  • Process Name: Update Status
  • Description: Update the value of the field, Status, to Implemented when the field, Implemented Date, is assigned a value.
  • The process starts when: Select – A record changes.

E. Click Save.

F. Click + Add Object.

G. Associate the process with the Object, Suggestion. To Start the process, select when a record is created or edited.

H. Click Save

I. Click + Add Criteria.

J. Enter the following:

  • Criteria Name: Implemented Date Assigned?
  • Criteria for Executing Actions: Select – Formula evaluates to true.
  • Formula:
    NOT(ISBLANK([Suggestion__c].Implemented_Date__c ))

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K. Click Save.

L. Click + Add Action.

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M. Enter the following:

  • Action Type: Update Record
  • Action Name: Update Status
  • Select a Record to Update: Choose to Select the Suggestion__c record that started your process.
  • Click Choose.
  • Criteria for Updating Records: Choose No criteria – just update the records!
  • Set the new field value:
    • Field: Status
    • Type: Picklist
    • Value: Implemented

N. Click Save.

O. Click Activate, then click Confirm.

4. Test the App

Let’s take a look at our App now to see how it’s doing so far. From the App Launcher (), launch Suggestions Hub. Create a Suggestion record by clicking New and enter a Date in the future for Implemented Date, and then click Save.

The following error message will appear:

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Create Reports and Dashboards

The Suggestions Hub App includes a Reports and Dashboards tab in addition to the Suggestion tab. Let’s take advantage of those features to make the App more relevant.

1. Create a Tabular Report

Let’s create a simple report that displays the total number of Suggestions received and their status.

A. From the App Launcher () , launch Suggestions Hub.

B. Open the Reports tab.

C. Click New Report.

D. Choose Suggestions for Report Type.

E. Click Start Report.

F. You may have noticed that the report already includes the field, Suggestion Name on it. Let’s add the fields, Status and Days Open.

  • Click Add Column and select Status.
  • Click Add Column again to select Days Open.

G. Click Save.

H. Add the following details in the pop-up for Save Report:

  • Report Name: Suggestions: Open Suggestions
  • Folder: Public Reports

I. Click Save.

J. We want only the suggestions that haven’t been implemented in the report. Let’s add a filter for that. Open the Filters tab from the sidebar on the left, and enter the following details:

  • Click Add filter, and select Status.
  • Operator: not equal to
  • Value: Implemented
  • Click Apply

K. Click Save & Run.

Depending on the record values, you should be left with a report similar to this:

 

2. Create a Summary Report

Tabular Reports do not include charts. Let’s create a Summary Report so that our users get a visual depiction of what’s going on with their suggestions. Assuming you’re already on the Reports result view of Suggestions: Open Suggestions, let’s get started:

A. Click the dropdown next to Edit and select Save As.

B. For Report Name, enter Suggestions: By Status, and click Save.

C. Click Edit.

D. Under Group Rows, click Add group and select Status.

E. Click Save & Run.

F. From the top-right corner, click .

G. Click on the gear icon next to the chart to access Chart Properties and then make the following changes:

  • Display As: Donut
  • Chart Title: Suggestion Status
  • Value: Record Count

H. Click on the dropdown button next to Edit and click Save.

You should be left with a Report just like the one below:

3. Create a Dashboard

Let’s complete our App with a Dashboard.

A. From the App Launcher (), launch Suggestions Hub.

B. Open Dashboards tab.

C. Click New Dashboard.

D. For Name, enter Suggestions Dashboard. Then click Create.

E. Click + Component to add a component.

F. Select Suggestions: By Status, and click Select.

G. Select the following in Add Component:

  • Display As: Donut
  • Value: Record Count

H. Click Add.

I. Click Done and Save.

You should be left with a dashboard just like this:

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Well, that’s it! Way to go! We created a Suggestion App with just the point-and-click tools available on Salesforce.

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