The user interface (UI) has been significantly updated in Dynamics CRM 2013. Many of the changes are designed to simplify the user experience and reduce the number of clicks required to interact with the system. Many of the changes also are designed to eliminate pop up windows for a “flatter” user experience. This flatter UI also forms the foundation for moving away from a PC / Windows / Internet Explorer-centric application to a system that can be used across many devices, operating systems, and browsers. User interface changes always take time and effort to adjust to, but I think the benefits of simplified interaction and support for a broader array of devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone) outweigh the effort required.
As part of this user interface redesign, the left side navigation has been removed from the web client and replaced with a tile based navigation bar at the top of the page that collapses when not in use (to save space). When selecting a record from the navigation bar, the record is loaded in the existing page rather than loading in a new window or tab. The navigation bar then shows a “breadcrumb” style path that displays the navigation hierarchy to where you are, and allows you to quickly navigate back up the chain. The Back and Forward buttons in the browser can then be used to navigate the history of pages viewed in CRM. Most recently used (MRU) records for each record type are also quickly available from the navigation bar.
The ribbons have also been replaced with easier to navigate command bars. The most used actions can be performed by clicking a button while all remaining actions can be accessed from the More Actions menu. When viewing a record page, related records (formerly available in the left hand navigation of the record window) can be viewed by clicking the down arrow next to the record name in the navigation bar. Changes made to existing records are automatically saved every 30 seconds and also when the user navigates away from the record page, while new records are saved manually by clicking the save button. Also form elements now morph and re-organize themselves automatically as window size changes to adapt to different size screens on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The navigation bar elements automatically collapse, data fields automatically become narrower, and parallel data columns automatically stack on top of each other as the window width becomes smaller.
When upgrading to CRM 2013, you should plan for training and support around the new user interface so your users can quickly make the transition and improve their productivity in the new system. Also, we recommend analyzing and re-designing your existing forms to take full advantage of the new UI. If your organization could benefit from the new user interface in Dynamics CRM 2013 and / or would like some assistance with upgrading to the new version, please contact the experts at