Workday 21: Sleek Design Addresses Customer Needs

January 27, 2014 Appirio

By Jennifer Ott

Customers have talked, and Workday has listened.  Workday 21 is not your typical Workday update release.  This update introduces a new user interface that is sleek, fast, and intuitive.  Mimicking features from the consumer applications that we know and love, such as Facebook and Google, Workday 21 introduces major improvements desired by customers.  Workers today expect more than just functionality from their enterprise software solutions.  These solutions are expected to be as easy to use and state of the art as the software applications we use in our personal lives.  Workday 21 and its new user interface is a huge step toward making this goal a reality.

 Below are the four changes you need to know regarding Workday 21 and what these changes mean to you.

The Homepage

The most obvious and impactful changes in Workday 21 can be seen on your homepage.  Feedback from customers indicated that the current homepage, often referred to as the “Workday Wheel,” which arranges icons in a wheel format and opens worklets in the middle of the wheel, is not intuitive for users.  Workday heard this feedback loud and clear, and Workday 21 marks the removal of the wheel.  Icons in Workday 21 will be arranged in a grid format with worklets opening in the middle of the page horizontally.  The right to left format mimics the way the majority of cultures read which makes this format easier to use.

Workday 20


 Workday 21


The Inbox and User Preferences

 Customers have expressed confusion around the difference between the “Inbox” and the “Workfeed” in Workday 20.  In Workday 21, the Inbox and Workfeed have merged into one unified “Inbox” that is now located in the upper right hand corner of your page.  This new inbox is accessible from your homepage, but clicking on the “View Inbox” link will take you to a full screen inbox page with a side panel preview where you can complete actions all from one screen.


Also located in the upper right hand corner of the header are the user preferences.  This provides the user with a quick way to access their profile page, account information, and manage their user preferences. This look should be familiar to many users as it is frequently used by other consumer applications.



 Any frequent user of Workday knows that the search function is your best friend!  However, Workday found that customers were not using the search as much as they should and the location of the search box was not easy for users to find.  While Workday has offered improvements in previous updates to search in an effort to increase its functionality, such as providing categories to narrow down search results, Workday 21 offers the largest improvement to search to date.  The first thing you will notice is that the search box moved from the right side of the header to the left side of the header.  This was done to make the search box more easily noticeable to users.  Search now also offers type ahead, predictive results, similar to Google, where results begin to populate when users start to type in a term.  Additionally, when entering a search result, you will now have a full screen view that is much more user friendly to navigate.

Workday 20


 Workday 21


Landing Pages

Some workday users have struggled with the concept of landing pages and where to locate these in Workday 20.  Workday 21 moves the landing pages to the new “Main Menu,” which both simplifies the look of the homepage and places the pages in a more easily accessible location.  Workday 21 also introduces the new concept of the “Home Landing Page.”  The Home Landing Page is optional and is separate from the “All About Me,” “My Team,” or other landing pages.  It provides a “home base” where worklets from the various landing pages can be added so users can quickly access everything they need from one page, regardless of whether it is concerning their personal information, team information, or system administration tools.

Workday 20


Workday 21


What Does This Mean For Me?

A Sleek Look

The reaction I have seen to Workday 21 is that it has a sleeker look that better aligns with Workday’s image as being the best in breed HR and Financials system.  The new look has an undoubtedly more modern appearance and is cleaner and more simplified.  There are less links on each page which makes the links or worklets that are available easier to locate.

Easy to Use

The new user interface in Workday 21 is not better looking simply for the sake of being eye pleasing – the sleeker look results in Workday being easier to use.  Workday designed 21 with the end user in mind, and items were moved with the express purpose of making them easier to find and use.  Additionally, the new coloring scheme helps frequently used items stand out and other less frequently used features fade in to the background.  The goal is increased user adoption and less training required to use the system.


Workday 21 greatly decreases the number of clicks one has to make to complete an action or access information.  In many areas, such as the new Inbox, Workday has introduced the ability to preview items and take actions from the current page without moving to a new page or opening a new window.  This results in customers being able to get their work done quickly and easily.  Additionally, the move to HTML5 results in quicker loading pages.

To learn more about the changes coming in Workday 21 and how to prepare your organization, please review the Visual Redesign Readiness Guide on Workday community, designed by Appirio’s Workday Consulting practice in partnership with Workday.


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