Why Dynamics 365 Suddenly Looks Different

Troubleshooting Microsoft's New D365 Unified Interface

Author: Richard Hancock | Managed Services Consultant | Formus Professional Software | Dec 2020
Screen grab of troubleshooting D365's new interface

If you’ve just logged in, on or after December the 1st and things aren’t working then don’t panic! It can be fixed and we hope to help to point you in the right direction.

Microsoft has rolled out a new Unified Interface (UI). The new look user layout for D365.

1st Dec - D365 New UI

From the 1st December 2020, the old Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) user interface will be moved over to allow for a consistent and optimised user experience across all devices regardless of screen size, portability, or orientation. This deprecation of the legacy interface has been taking place gradually for many businesses throughout 2020.

Some businesses who received the news early via our email updates planned for the change and switched over themselves, allowing some control and a flexible bedding in period.

If you weren’t prepared for this, you may be wondering why your D365 suddenly looks different, or in some cases, isn’t working as it was.

We previously reported on the move to UI, all the cool features and small niggles associated with it back in October last year when they were announced.

However, we have since discovered several new challenges arising from this switch and are already aiding organisations to patch up the bugs and better understand the use of the new features.

This article will cover some of the issues you might be experiencing but as you will see, not all systems will be affected in the same way. A skilled dynamics internal audit may be needed to pinpoint the exact issues unique to your system, especially if you have added JavaScript functions.

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Our Microsoft Wave updates give you a summary of the original Microsoft documents:

  • Inform you of new or improved features
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You can sign up to receive these MS Wave updates automatically to your email account. Alternatively, keep checking back here within our resources pages.

Why Has My D365 Interface Changed / Stopped Working?

Some businesses have already transitioned to the new UI, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe. You may have missed a number of things that could become issues when Microsoft flicks the final switch. Others, may only now be finding oddities or perhaps even complete changes to what you are used to seeing when you open D365, things in the “wrong” place and functions missing or broken.

Common Issues With The New D365 UI

Some of the most common issues we’ve encountered so far have been:

D365 fields no longer working

Some issues we’ve encountered when helping our clients upgrade their environments are customisations and processes not working as intended on several forms. This is likely due to the default values not being carried over.

This will require a developer or Dynamics specialist to investigate as these adaptations are likely to be unique to your business.

D365 tabs in the wrong place

Previously, tabs were rendered vertically to expand all menu items within each section. This is however no longer the case in UI, as all menu items now appear horizontally on the left-hand menu which is controlled by the sitemap set for the Model-Driven App (more on this later).

D365 missing alerts and popups

Contextual warnings and pop-up alert messages which were once appearing may now no longer be. This is due to the client APIs in the JavaScript libraries responsible for displaying these now being deprecated.

If this is happening these will need replacing. Again, this will require a developer or Dynamics specialist who knows JavaScript.

D365 key ribbon buttons no longer appearing

One or more of your favourite ribbon buttons may not be displaying. In our experience, it’s probably the one containing all on-demand flows which can be run on a given form. The source for this issue lies in changes to Security Roles coming in which has hidden these under the “miscellaneous privileges” existing security role profiles which need to be turned on unless you are a System Administrator.

This one can be fixed without a developer and is in fact the only issue that is generic enough for a straightforward MS troubleshooting guide.

Screen grab of My Active Accounts in Dynamics 365 new UI

Problems like these won’t be happening to everyone but if it’s happening to you, chances are you will need to take a closer look behind the scenes to fix them.

What to Do Next?

Our first piece of advice: Don’t panic!

The system is seldom truly broken, just a little out of sorts. Here is a simple 3 step approach to finding and fixing the issues you may encounter:

1. Identify the UI issues

Conduct a thorough review of your system's appearance and expected function to identify all possible issues before you begin to plan the fix. Make a list of all issues with a note on how they should/were working beforehand. Perhaps even take this opportunity to optimise further by suggesting how you would like things to work better after the fix?

If you have a technical team in-house, who handle software, they will need to do a deeper dive into some of these issues. We have produced a D365 User Interface Transition guide below, to help lead you through the preliminary technical checks.

2. Classify the issues

From this audit, your in-house team will have a better chance at determining what level of operative is needed (Dynamics developer or in-house specialist administrator/superuser) and may be able to take care of a number of issues themselves.

If at this stage, you are still finding it difficult to gauge the technical level of the issues you are having, ask us about our New MS UI Evaluation Service. We can offer you advice on the actions to take and the level of work to be done.

3. Implement the fixes

The work that is needed is heavily dependent on the amount of customisation your particular system has. Before you reach out for a consultant or your Dynamics partner, you could try a few things yourself using our guide below.

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Our D365 User Interface Transition Guide

The following guide has been put together to help you identify and iron out some of the problems we have been seeing.

Steps towards ensuring customisations you’ve previously made to your system can be tested and aid you in discovering which bits need fixing.

We’ve split these into sequential steps to follow, along with the level of technical experience best to complete them:

1. Run the Power Apps Solution Checker

(Level – Super User/Developer)

Step one of this, as outlined by Microsoft is to run the Solution Checker on all unmanaged solutions within your environment.

To do this, all is needed is to navigate to sing in to Power Apps, select “Solutions” in the left pane and select the ellipsis next to an example and the option to run the solution checker will appear.

This will then display a notification and send an email of the results so these can then be reviewed later.

The benefit to this is the Solution Checker Report outlines a full list of issues, their location in the environment and the exact details of the issue down to the component and statement & line this appears in.

Screen grab of Power Apps in Dynamics 365 new UI

2. Identify Replacements for Deprecated Features

(Level – Super User/Developer)

These are the important bits you want to look out for after you've run the Solution Checker and opened the Solution Checker Report.

In here, you’ll see many of the following areas which are in use within your solution, in the context that need to be addressed:

  • Deprecated client APIs. See the full list of these here
  • Process Dialogs which are also being deprecated; these can be replaced using Business Process Flows or even Canvas Apps
  • Task Flows are also going, with Business Process Flows being the optimal replacement for these.
  • The Dynamics 365 for Outlook (COM Add-in) will no longer be able to be used - Luckily this can easily be swapped for the lightweight Dynamics 365 App for Outlook
  • Some Dynamics 365 Customer Service features are also leaving and can be addressed by:
    • Swapping Service Scheduling for Universal Resource Scheduling.
    • Moving from deprecated Knowledge Management tables to the latest versions of these.
    • Moving from Contract Tables by migrating to Entitlements.

3.Check your Third-Party Solutions

(Level – Developer)

If you’ve installed any Independent Software Vendor (ISV) apps through Microsoft’s AppSource, now is the time to check if any updates are available. These are found within the Power Platform Admin Centre under “Solutions” within your environment.

Other third-party solutions provided outside of here will need reviewing with the partner or ISV who provided these to ensure they are up to date ready for UI.

4. Test all your Changes Made

(Level – User/Super User/Developer)

If time allows, we would strongly recommend using a copy of your production environment for this stage, just in case any unintentional changes are made which may need reverting.

While it can be tempting to just dive in head-first, our best advice would be to split your testing into two sections for Business Processes and System Customisations.

Business Processes (these are all the stages you’ve set up to perform the actions needed to display the right data in your environment depending on the criteria set, grouped under the following headers:

  • Business Process Flows
  • Business Rules

System Customisations (these are all the technical system changes you’ve made to display the data stored within your environments and will therefore include:

  • All Active Forms
  • All Personal and System Views
  • All Security Roles and Field Security Permissions
  • Command Bar buttons
  • JavaScript Libraries and Event Handlers
  • Plugins
  • Web Resources
  • Charts

5. Identify any Gaps

(Level – User/Super User/Developer)

Once you’ve wrapped up your testing, make a note of any regressive components missed by the Solution checker and updates, along with any pain points users raised which can be addressed to optimise your User’s experience, either within further system customisations or via user training.

6. Define your Model-Driven Apps

(Level – Super User/Developer)

A Model-Driven App (MDA) is the new ecosystem for viewing all your systems entities and associated records with the new Unified Interface.

If you’ve previously had any experience with making Canvas Apps, you’ll have no trouble getting to grips with these are only a slight departure; what they lack in user control over data accessibility is more than made up for with how easy it is to build and navigate them.

All created apps can be opened within Dynamics, on the Dynamics 365 Home page, or as part of our Office 365 portal under “Business Apps”.

Out of the box examples include the Sales Hub, which is Microsoft’s offering for all Sales users in an environment to use with the Sales, Enterprise App Access Security Role.

If these out of the box MDAs don’t fully fit your needs when moving what you need across to the new UI, you can easily create your own in the Power Apps center, with more info on how to best do this here.

Screen grab showing example of Dynamics 365 new UI

7. Review your App Settings and Sitemap layout for UX

(Level – Super User/Developer)

So you’ve set up your MDA and are ready to start using it. All that is left are some small changes to be made which will make all the difference to the feel and function of your layout.

Check your users have access to their relevant apps using the new MDA security roles of the corresponding name:

Screen grab highlighting model-driven apps in Dynamics 365 new UI

Make sure you’ve optimised your Sitemap correctly by defining a ‘main area’ to open the App by default, with the most used dashboards, tables etc. added as sub-areas within this.

If your entity icons could do with a refresh, now is also a good opportunity to change these – we recommend using the SVG format for these so they render best regardless of display resolution.

8. Update your Training materials and conduct some User Acceptance testing!

(Level – Super User)

We know more than anyone that user buy-in for any change is crucial in getting everyone to use your systems to the best of their ability. To ensure this, help introduce your end users to the changes gently by double-checking any features missed in the previous stages are raised and addressed before they make it to Production.

Also, don’t forget to check all your training documents and Knowledge Base materials have the latest screenshots and hyperlinks also for future reference.

In Summary

Whether you like it or not, from the 1st December 2020 the old interface for all Dynamics 365 systems will be moving over to the new Unified Interface and the legacy web client for accessing these will be depreciated.

If you’ve just logged in on or after December the 1st and things aren’t working, it can be fixed by following our D365 User Interface Transition Guide and using the additional Microsoft how-to guides we’ve linked to help you best diagnose your problems.

Plan your changes – this can be a tricky one to attack and things may need to be done in the right order for it to work, but if your team have the right experience you should be able to fix most of the straight-forward problems.

Our nifty resources in this article are always on hand should you need them.

Most importantly, if things get too big we are here to help.

Resources and Further Reading

See the Full Unified Interface Playbook.

Some FAQ’s on the move to UI, as compiled by Microsoft

The Official Dynamics Unified Interface Community forums

The full whitepaper for approaching user experience in the transition to the Unified Interface (we read it so you don’t have to!)

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