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User interface differences when switching to Jira and Confluence Cloud

Switching from Jira or Confluence Data Center or Server products to their Atlassian cloud counterparts can be a disorienting experience for users if they're not prepared. As the admin, you can help orient your users by understanding how the cloud UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) differs, and then communicating those differences to your users. We've outlined the most significant changes below.

Cloud URL

When you transition to Atlassian cloud, you’ll have a new cloud site URL to access your Atlassian products. You’ll have the same base URL for Confluence and Jira, but each will have a different suffix:
  • Confluence:
  • Jira:

For admins: To help redirect people still coming to the on-premise instance to your new cloud site URL, you can apply a site-wide banner in the on-premise versions of Jira and Confluence, or you can add an announcement to your online help center in Jira Service Management.

For end-users: If you've bookmarked previous Data Center or Server pages, be sure to update them with the new cloud links.


General user interface

The Jira Cloud UI looks more modern than its Jira Data Center and Jira Server counterparts. (See an overview of the updated core experiences.)
Jira Cloud, Jira Data Center, and Jira Server have similar sidebars and horizontal global navigation. Jira Cloud’s main navigation bar gives you quick access to the projects, filters, and dashboards you use most. It also lets you create issues, search, and access help notifications and Jira settings.
Interface details:
  1. Product switcher: Switch to other Atlassian cloud products, like Bitbucket and Confluence, and go to recent projects.
  2. Jira logo and product name
  3. Your work: Get an overview of the things you care most about in Jira. Find issues, projects, boards, and queues you’ve visited, work assigned to you, and your starred items.
  4. Projects, filters, and dashboards: Quickly find and resume work on the things you use most. Your starred items appear at the top of each menu, followed by your recently-visited items.
  5. People: See the people and teams you work with, and create new teams.
  6. Plans: See and manage your plans (Premium and Enterprise only).
  7. Apps: See and manage apps installed on your Jira site.
  8. Create: Create issues.
  9. Search: Find issues, projects, boards, queues, filters, and people.
  10. Notifications, help, Jira settings, and your profile and settings: See what's happening in Jira, get help, and customize Jira’s settings (Jira admins only) and your personal settings.

For more details, see the Jira Cloud navigation page.

There is no issues drop-down in Jira Cloud, a significant change from the Jira Data Center format. Instead, a user’s recent activity will appear in the new Your work menu item on the top left, which will include issues. Filters are now a separate menu item and you can find issues using the search bar:

In Jira Cloud, searching is site-wide and includes Confluence and linked Bitbucket accounts.

The project board and backlog view are similar in both versions for Scrum and Kanban projects. In the cloud, there’s a 5,000 issue limit per board and, unlike on Jira Data Center, you can plan future sprints.
Cloud project view
Jira Data Center project view

Issue view

Here's the history of the Jira issue UI:
  • Jira Cloud had a UI. Then they got a new one. The legacy view should be deprecated from all sites at this point (although it can still be reverted to manually).
  • Jira Data Center and Jira Server haven’t had a lot of changes and look close to the old Jira Cloud UI.
If you're familiar with the Jira Data Center and Jira Server UI, you won't notice much difference from Jira Cloud's legacy UI. However, it is more likely you'll be using the new Jira cloud UI, so the change will be significant.
The new issue view groups key actions and information in a more logical way, making it easier for you to scan and update your issues. The issue view usually appears as a two-column layout on boards and as a single column in the backlog, but it is responsive to the size of your window.
prepare rocket for launch_1569
See What is the new Jira issue view? for more details.
You might feel information isn't as visible as it was before, but take a look at the side-by-side comparison to see which fields are collapsed in the new UI:
Cloud new issue view
Data Center issue view

Team-managed projects vs company-managed projects

In Jira Cloud, migrated projects will end up as company-managed projects.

Previously, team-managed projects were known as “next-gen,” and company-managed projects were known as “classic.”

The differences between team-managed projects and company-managed projects are outlined at Atlassian Support.
Schemes and workflows might be different on the cloud, depending on your migration process. You'll need to educate your teams about what schemes are available in their Jira Cloud site and how they might differ from what they used on Jira Data Center.
In Jira Cloud, boards are project-independent, meaning they exist within and are only available to software projects, but they may be powered by filters, including non-software projects. In Jira Data Center, boards are independent and may include any projects or Jira Query Language-powered issues. While you can archive projects in Jira Cloud, currently you can't archive specific issues like you can in Data Center, but this capability is on our roadmap.

Noteworthy new features

In Jira Cloud, advanced triggers and automation functionality are included out of the box.

Learn more at Jira Cloud automation support

  • Advanced Roadmaps: This may or may not be new depending on whether it was installed in your Jira Data Center or Jira Server instance.
    • The cloud version of Advanced Roadmaps doesn’t include the ability to create programs — group of plans — which is available on Jira Data Center. As of Advanced Roadmaps v.3.29, UI differences between the Data Center and cloud versions are minor.
  • Basic roadmaps (project-specific): The roadmap is where you can create, manage and visualize your team's epics. Roadmaps are useful for planning large pieces of work several months in advance and planning large groups of stories across different sprints.


Home Page

Both Jira Cloud and Data Center have a common access point to the home page: the Confluence logo at the top left. In the cloud, there is now a home link on the top navigation. The Confluence Cloud home is vastly different than its Data Center counterpart and has new benefits:
  • 📄 Resume your work by getting back to your pages faster with recent front and center.
  • 👥 Catch up on relevant activity with the new following feed.
  • 💡Discover what’s happening across your company with the updated popular feed.
Read more about the new Confluence home.
Cloud home
Data Center home

General interface

Both versions of Confluence have sidebar navigation for pages in spaces. Some elements are in different parts of the page. The left navigation in cloud makes it easy to reorder and regroup pages with a drag-and-drop experience.
Another key difference is that space tools is now in the top of the left navigation and is called space settings in cloud. We’ve also refreshed the look and feel of the space settings page so it’s easier to find the setting you need.
space settings screen_1569

The editor

The editor features some of the biggest UX differences between the cloud and data center versions. While the Confluence Data Center editor has not changed much recently and functions and looks like the old cloud editor, significant changes were introduced to the Confluence editor in the cloud. The cloud version of Confluence unlocks a lot of new templates, and page formatting is very different.
Confluence Cloud has fewer macros, and some macros (such as the office macro) don’t have feature parity. This is why, during user acceptance testing (UAT) it’s important to test all macros used by your teams (see: cloud macros vs Data Center macros).
Thanks to live macros, the editing experience in cloud is consistent with the viewing experience. Pages look the same during editing as they do once they're published.
Some macros were intentionally excluded from the new editor to improve performance, but there are alternative methods you can use to get the same results (see here for more details).
Cloud “fabric" editor
Data center editor

To stay up-to-date on features that are rolled out to the new editor, keep an eye on the Atlassian blog, where we announce product changes weekly.

We’ve introduced collaborative editing, which updates the way drafts behave, and moves to a model that's more consistent with how content should be stored for collaborative editing. We'll call the outgoing model, used prior to collaborative editing, personal drafts, and the new model, shared drafts. The notable differences are:
  • When editing a page prior to collaborative editing, a new personal draft was created for each user and the changes couldn't be seen by other users, as personal drafts are private. Using collaborative editing, a single shared draft is created for each page, and anyone editing the page will see the same draft.  
  • Personal drafts were represented by a draft class, which extends ContentEntityObject and contains a draftType field indicating whether the draft was a page or blogpost. We're deprecating the draft class in favor of using the existing page and blogpost classes, where a contentStatus field of draft will indicate the object is a draft.

Before you start a Data Center-to-cloud migration, publish draft pages, because if draft pages contain Jira links or links to other Confluence pages, those links won’t be captured by the link-fixing script Atlassian support runs post-migration.

Autocomplete keyboard shortcuts in the editor

One of the biggest changes are the autocomplete shortcuts used in the editor. If you're used to the Data Center editor, you might be familiar with the “” wiki markup notation. You'll now need to switch to using the autocomplete slash command, which is a single command, to add macros and tools you might not be familiar with.
Note the following changes:
Cloud autocomplete character
Data Center autocomplete character
Lists (unordered)
Lists (ordered)
Smart Links reveal important context about links within a Confluence page (or Jira issue) without leaving that page. When you paste a link in the editor, it will transform into a Smart Link. We support Smart Links for Atlassian products and many other third parties. There are a few different ways to view Smart Links. Check them out below:
Inline view
Card view
Embed view
Hyperlink … with style. The Smart Links inline view makes your links pop on the page. You’ll see the logo from the source of the link, so you quickly have information about the type of content. When inserting a link to other Atlassian products, you’ll get even more details, like the status of a Jira ticket.
Smart Links card view provides even richer detail. You can see a small preview of the content, plus additional information about it. You’ll also start to see actions added to cards over time.
What if you never had to break the flow of work (or leave a Confluence page) to interact with content that lives outside of Confluence? Well, Smart Link embed views help you do it.
Read and edit a Google Drive document, manipulate your Figma file and more, all within a Confluence page.

Read more about Smart Links here

Confluence Cloud search produces better, more relevant results than Confluence Data Center:

 Other editor changes

  • Inline comments when editing: Whether you are editing a page or viewing it, the process for adding inline comments is the same:
    1. Highlight the text you want to comment on.
    2. Select the add comment button that appears above the highlighted text.
    3. Enter your comment and select save (Ctrl+S or ⌘+S).
  • The Data Center editor is full width by default.
  • Anchor links are automatically created in cloud for headings. Non-heading links still need to be specified by the anchor macro.
  • Adding attachments will have fewer features and a different UI.
    • You can't natively link to or render attachments from other pages. You might be used to setting up image or file libraries that can be referred to from other pages, but instead, you can copy and paste the attachment link directly.
  • Tables in the cloud are edited and managed differently: In general, it should be a more intuitive experience but it may take some time to adjust.

Other new features in Confluence

  • Team calendar (now bundled in Confluence Premium)
  • Languages: Atlassian's cloud products and apps are available in two dozen languages, with more on the way. See our manage your language preferences page for a complete list of the languages that are currently available.

The mobile apps for Jira Software and Confluence Cloud are different. If you currently use the Data Center mobile apps for these products, you’ll need to install new apps:

Atlassian Access also comes with mobile device management (MDM) for Atlassian mobile apps.

Additional resources

Watch the blog to get regular updates on what is changing in cloud
Cloud Adoption Toolkit can be used to build and execute a successful adoption and change management plan.
Resources include:
Atlassian’s guide to change management and adoption
Email templates for introducing Atlassian cloud products 
Setting your users up for success with Atlassian cloud products: admin guide
Quick start guides for Jira Software and Confluence Cloud: user guide
Ideas to explore:
Share regular updates with users about new features, tips and tricks, etc. in Confluence blog post
Quarterly user feedback surveys
Free self-paced courses that will help your users get up and running in Confluence and Jira in just 90 minutes
Paid courses for leveling up admin skills
Administration manual
Organization administration course
A brief overview of the basics
Getting started guides:
For admins who are new to the cloud landscape
Both live and on-demand, hour-long demos for main Atlassian products
Cloud release notes and news.
YouTube playlist which are updated frequently to share demos of product features.
Watch on-demand webinars as Partha Kamal, our Head Enterprise Product, and Dave Meyer, Sr. Group Product Manager for Enterprise Cloud, walk through the latest features we’ve added to Atlassian Cloud products within the last two quarters as well as the exciting features on our roadmap - including data residency, industry compliance, cloud user limits, and more.
The Atlassian Enterprise Group's mission is to encourage and foster discussions and thought leadership with the Atlassian Community around a broad spectrum of enterprise-related issues, best practices, use cases, workflows, and any other challenges unique to the space. This group is a place where customers and Atlassians can come together to create feedback loops and have open, honest discussions about Atlassian product plans, ideas, wins, problems, and quality. 

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