Supercharged productivity with San Diego Next Experience UI

Cameron Heckstall-Smith - 14th April 2022

With the release of San Diego rolling out now, one of the biggest changes you won’t want to miss is the fresh and exciting enhanced ‘Next Experience’ UI, Polaris (as it is otherwise known).

This might just be the biggest UI change in ServiceNow history. But don’t be scared, although it looks like a lot has changed, this is essentially a new theme meaning the controls and navigation options still practically where they were, now with a more clean and graphical style.

Like many of you I am sure, I thought the previous UI was good enough, and although as familiar as I am with it, I’m really impressed with this new release!

I for sure won’t be turning back and encouraging customers to do the same!

Large user bases may have natural concerns about upgrading, but ServiceNow and Atos Engage ESM have made the process easy to glide through with lots of useful documentation which I hope this is a good starting point.

If you are a new ServiceNow customer, you automatically have Next Experience enabled and do not need to modify the UI to get the newest user interface. Existing users will need to upgrade by changing a system property.

Login Page

Straight off the bat (in the case you are not using SSO) you can see ServiceNow’s intention to welcome users into the platform and make it more appealing, compare the old and new login screens below for a glimpse into how things have been updated.

Single Pane View / Unified Navigation header

To increase productivity and provide a more engaging experience, ServiceNow has chosen to hide by default the old navigation pane and replace this with the unified navigation header. Instead of icons on the top left, we now have menu items for applications (All), favorites, history, and workspaces. Clicking these overlays the menu items over the existing page as a drop-down (If you wish you can pin these to the side like in the UI16). This gives users more space to view and focus on the work that is needed. 

In the middle, we will find something new called the contextual app pill displays the name of the current page, and clicking the star easily allows you to add this to your favorites.

Landing Pages

Not to be confused with dashboards, the new landing pages are intended to allow users with specific roles to be able to get to work as quickly as possible.

My eyes were drawn straight to the changes that have occurred to the data visualizations but pay attention also to the onboarding wizard which guides first-time users through the new changes.

There is also a useful features section at the bottom of the page that provides links to San Diego specific learning resources and platform controls. As well as reports, performance analytics indicators, lists, and links can be added to landing pages and are intended to be shared by user role, e.g., ITIL users or service desk agents where landing pages direct them to what is most useful for them.

Preferences and Settings

Like other changes, the user settings have had a graphical retouch and although many options are the same as previous releases, there are some brand-new ones. Dark theming is now available for workspaces which will emit less blue light, which is definitively better on the eye.

Another new feature I have longed for in previous releases is the ability to keep navigation present when opening pages in new tabs/windows. To turn this one enable “Always show top navigation” in display preferences for this. Additionally, scope and update set pickers are now built into the navigation by default, which I really like.


As familiar as we have all become with using ServiceNow on UI16, once upgraded and used for a few minutes, I am positive you and your customers will be very impressed with how the system looks in San Diego.

The platform itself has followed the rebranding that ServiceNow has gone through, and it has paid off. If you cannot tell, I am a big fan of this change, and it does a good job of allowing users to focus on the information most important to them. 

If you have not already, give Polaris a go and change the way people work by making the platform look awesome!

If you are interested to learn more about the new ServiceNow San Diego capabilities you can check the blogs authored by my colleagues on Robotic Process Automation and Key Release Enhancements.

To find out more about our offerings, including San Diego upgrade support, contact us today.