Salesforce Classic vs Lightning: More than a pretty interface

When we first published “Lightning Experience vs. Salesforce Classic: Is the Lightning Experience Revolutionizing Salesforce?”. Over two years ago there were many features missing from the Salesforce Lightning Experience. Making the conversation about the UI and what was missing. Certainly, over the last two years, Salesforce has significantly closed those gaps. Now, only discussing the Lightning UI misses many of the benefits it has introduced. 

User Experience

Often the most controversial part of any redesign, the user experience in Lightning is significantly different than Classic. It’s common for users of a product to resist changes to their experience. Lightning brings benefits for those that do. Whether your users are selling, helping, collaborating, or marketing, there are improvements to help them get their work done faster. Salesforce worked to simplify the user experience and create more efficient navigation. That allows you to not only change records quickly but change applications.

Significant work has gone into refreshing record layouts, dashboards, and report views. When Lightning was first introduced, admins and users were finding themselves having to switch back to Classic for specific tasks. Now that happens far less often. With the Lightning App Builder, it’s easy for admins to create new custom page layouts. The benefits aren’t limited to administrators. Here are a few areas the experience has improved.

 Salesforce Lightning Experience

  • Home 

Salesforce has transformed the way you start your day by adding an intelligent Home page. Sales reps can monitor their performance to goal and get insights on their key accounts, with an assistant providing the complete list of things to do. Admins can use the Lightning App Builder to create custom Home pages.

  • Opportunity Workspace

The new design allows you to help your sales reps work their deals faster. Lightning enables you to showcase key record details in the new highlights panel at the top of the page. Also, get key coaching details with a customizable Path to support your sales process. And, see a wealth of related information on hover using a quick view.

  • Accounts and Contacts

Lightning has optimized the layout for accounts and contacts, organizing the content by their primary use case: reference. Your sales team can locate important data efficiently, get the latest news for your customers, work smarter, keeping the data clean with field-level duplicate matching, among other functions.

  • Reports and Dashboards

Now users can create their filters while viewing a report. Also, if you already have reports from Salesforce Classic, the transition is very easy, because the reports are automatically viewable in the new interface.


Meanwhile, when someone says Lightning, it’s common for people to think just about the new user experience. Wrong, Lightning brings even more. Lightning as a platform has improved the experience for users, administrators, and developers. With new frameworks, Salesforce has made it significantly easier to create new pages and applications and made data access easier to manage. 

The new Lightning architecture takes advantage of modern web stacks that are now more standards-based, with Lightning Web Components providing a layer of specialized Salesforce services. You no longer need a proprietary component model, proprietary language extensions, proprietary modules, etc. For example, there are many significant benefits such as:

  • Common component model
  • Common programming model
  • Transferable skills and easier-to-find / easier-to-ramp-up developers
  • Interoperable components
  • Better performance because core features are implemented natively in web engines instead of in JavaScript in framework abstractions


Developing in Lightning requires a mind shift, but opens doors. Salesforce Classic was built around a page-centric model, while Lightning is based on an app-centric one. Basically, now that Classic Visualforce is only one (older) option, it’s possible to build web applications that are mobile-ready and run natively in browsers, even faster. Furthermore, the new lightning component architecture gives you two programming models: the Lightning Web Components model and the original Aura Components model. 

in addition, if you are currently developing Lightning components with the Aura programming model, you can continue to do so. Both can coexist and interoperate. But, in the future, we recommend you consider migrating your Aura Components to Lightning Web Components. Start with the components that would benefit the most from the performance benefits of Lightning Web Components.

“Lightning offers us the opportunity to use Lightning Web Components, these allow us to perform faster tasks with custom components, which can be used in different pages with just a drag and drop. It has great compatibility with different browsers which allows us to work without problems on desktop and mobile devices.”

Alexis M, Developer

“With Lightning Web Components I have been capable to develop reactivity, responsive and scalable solutions, thanks to its state-of-the-art web architecture that integrates features like Lightning Design System and MCCV model, leading to smoother development and a more comfortable user experience.”

Christian R, Developer

Check out one of our latest workshops. Mateo H, developer, shares one of the latest components our team has been working on:

If you want to discover more about Salesforce Lightning, we recommend you check out this module on Trailhead. That is to say, if you want to go deep into the main differences check out the Salesforce help page: Compare Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic

Our team has also worked with different organizations and their projects. We are Salesforce platform experts and we offer custom development to help you build your platform and solve the right problems. If you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.

Lightning Experience vs. Salesforce Classic: Is the Lightning Experience Revolutionizing Salesforce?

User experience is a huge factor in how a particular platform is perceived by end users and ultimately defines whether or not they will adopt to utilizing the platform. User interfaces that are choppy and lack visually appealing features tend to fall by the wayside because they are not engaging and they’re more than likely not as functional as they should be. For example, Salesforce updated their platform by implementing the Lightning Experience; a new and exciting way to view and access your Salesforce profile, as opposed to the duller, less visually satisfying Classic mode.


Well, perhaps, we can lay out the pros and cons of each Salesforce feature and establish how each comes with its own set of benefits. Lightning or Classic, you ask?


As the predecessor of the Lightning Experience, Salesforce Classic provides users with plenty of resources to complete their daily work tasks. It comes fully stocked with all of the typical CRM capabilities that ISVs/admins will utilize daily such as, accounts, leads, opportunities, campaigns, etc. Additionally, developers can use JavaScript source codes to build out tools like Process Builder, Visual Workflow, or code-driven approaches.



Salesforce Classic

Salesforce Classic has proven to be an optimal solution over the years, however, there’s a sleeker and more intuitive Salesforce UI that’s on the horizon; the Lightning experience! It has an entirely different user interface for (SFDC) and it possesses some of the core Salesforce classic features as well. Additionally, it has many new cloud-based features and Salesforce objects are given a cleaner, fresher and overall more visually appealing look. The major goal of the Lightning experience was to enhance the usage of data and tools by minimizing the clickthrough rate so that Sales Reps could perform their job functions quickly and easily. AND – it’s completely mobile responsive.


Lightning Experience

The weigh-in?

While the Lightning experience looks awesome, it still has some catching up to do in terms of not having the most utilized Salesforce classic features embedded into its interface. Also, developers are not able to continue to use JavaScript/Visualforce coding libraries and some AppExchange apps might not be supported in the Lightning experience. If you’re a Salesforce party that has not yet fully acclimated to Salesforce classic and have no users/developers or system admins in your Org, it’s definitely best to go straight to the Lightning experience and build out your Org on this platform.


However, if you’ve heavily delegated all of your work tasks within Salesforce Classic, it may better serve to you to wait it out until Lightning experience gets up to speed and fully incorporates features like territory management for sharing and assigning accounts, Public Knowledge Base, Live Agent, Macros, among other features that streamline and simplify workplace functionalities.


As you can see, user experience plays a large role in both viewing formats. With Salesforce Classic, usability depends more on functionality and streamlining work whereas Lightning experience tends to focus more on the “look and feel.” The Lightning experience is definitely the way of the future and we suggest a slow transition whereby switching back and forth between each mode may be the ideal approach until Lightning incorporates more features for functionality. With that being said, we think both Salesforce Classic and the Lightning experience both have much to offer, however, Lightning is the new frontier in the Salesforce arena and eventually, we’ll all want to entirely jump on the bandwagon! 


Check out our new article about Salesforce Classic vs Lightning: More than a pretty interface.