Many years ago I came across an article on how one of New York’s favorite SOHO restaurants, Balthazar, designs its menu. The concept that menus are built based on what the restaurant wants to sell by leveraging location on the menu and psychology to achieve a favorable outcome has stuck with me. I regularly try to dissect a new menu looking for the stars or anchors being presented. Recently, when asked about best practices for Salesforce.com page layouts, it became clear that it’s very similar to designing a menu. There are areas of the screen where people look first, which I see as prime real-estate, and other areas that are more like the “Menu Siberia.” Keeping this logic in mind will make your page layouts more effective and will help users engage with the data. Below is a breakdown of a page layout as I see it:
Prime Real Estate: The upper right hand corner of the page holds the most important information, just like the restaurant menu. If this was an opportunity in Salesforce.com, I would put Stage, Amount, Close Date, and Probability in this quadrant. This information is continually updated and is critical for pipeline reporting.
Easy to Reference: This is the “right next door” concept of the menus. Next to the critical details are the data points you’ll want to reference overtime but not necessarily edit. This is where the Opportunity Name, Account, and Type would be listed. It’s easy to find and right next door to the important metrics on the right.
Details of the Record: This space contains details that are helpful for the users to complete their tasks. In this case, it could be sales details including Next Steps and Lead Source.
Below the Fold: This references the point on the page where a user is forced to scroll to view the information. It’s a term that originally comes from the newspaper/print world. Anything below the fold tends to get lost because readers focus on the headlines.
Page Siberia: The more the user has to scroll, the less accurate the information is going to be. I’ve seen critical data points below the fold that are never completed or updated. I tend to use this space for administrator information such as Last Modified and Record Owner. In the eyes of the user, this might as well be Siberia.
Each record will have exceptions but optimizing for the user should be the top priority. When was the last time you read past the headlines? I’d love to hear your feedback. For more information, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org