April Interface Designer Updates

Hi all -

I hope the week is going well. I’m excited to be able to share the next wave of Interface Designer updates targeted at making interfaces even more powerful and easier to use.

  • Button Element: Allows you to add a button - and configure some actions - in your interface. This will allow you to quickly approve/reject requests and gives flexibility to making status changes like assigned or complete.
    • You’ll be able to configure buttons to update a field or multiple fields of a single record with a single click. You may also choose to move to the next record.
    • You’ll be able to edit the color from 4 different options. Below are the color options and their labels. These labels are meant to be guiding principles of when to use these colors, not what they do.
      • Blue = “Primary”
      • Red = “Warning”
      • Green = “Success”
      • Gray = “Secondary”

  • Calendar Element: offers the same functionality as the calendar view in an Interface. It includes the ability to customize the initial view that visitors see. This is a great way to manage your editorial/campaign calendars or to coordinate releases with product partners.

  • Duplicate Element & Duplicate Interface: Duplicate an element within an interface or duplicate an entire interface. This cuts down the time spent designing your interface and makes it easy to replicate, or just utilize as a starting point.

  • Right-aligned headers: Now you can put elements (like a button :eyes:) on the right-side of your header.

Additional Resources:

Let us know your thoughts below!

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I was just thinking this morning that it would be awesome to be able to put a calendar in my interface. :raised_hands:t2:

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Thank you for letting us know about these new features.

Duplicating interfaces, pages, and individual elements are all super useful features.

The ability to add a button is also useful. Based on my initial look, it seems that the only thing a button can currently do is update up to 5 fields in the current record at once. It also appears that the new values must be static values. For example, the button cannot update an editable field with the result of a formula field.

Many people have been anticipating the incorporation of buttons in interfaces, and have many thoughts on all the different features that they want buttons to do. For now, I am going to simply be happy that we have this new functionality. Of course I want more functionality, but I am also going to trust that Airtable knows what people want buttons to do and that Airtable will carefully investigate the best ways dealing with those technological challenges.

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Hi jordan, sorry to be that guy again but this button isn’t very helpful considering airtable has now TAKEN AWAY the ability to add existing in record buttons once the interface has been created. People need to be able to open URLs, run scripts, send webhooks and open apps. not reset field values.

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@Jordan_Scott1 can you clarify if the inability to add button fields to an interface is planned change or a bug? Existing interface have button fields, and it seems that a button field can be added when first creating an interface.

Until button elements have more features, button fields that open urls serve two important purposes in interfaces that cannot be replicated with the new button element:

  • opening a form to create a new record
  • navigation to a specific record in a different interface page

I understand that having two types of buttons can be confusing: button elements versus button fields. I also understand that adding new features needs to be done carefully. However, removing existing features also needs to be done with care, and it feels like Airtable has removed features.

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Hi @Jordan_Scott1 the inability to add buttons completely changes the interface functionality that we started using months ago (enterprise account) and it’s creating mass chaos. Is there any way to roll back that functionality? Buttons are key to the workflow of being able to share links to other views and guide high level users to the correct locations without making them dig into the base itself.

This sounds like a very small thing, but it was one of the simplest features I felt was lacking from Interface Designer. I’m glad new additions are still taking into account at least some of the small scale needed improvements.

With regard to Button Elements, from its description it sounds like a way to be less reliant on Automation runs, though only for specific use cases.

Would it be possible to merge the functionality of Button Elements and Button Fields? They are both useful: sometimes you need to open an external link, sometimes you need to quickly update the current record. I think it would be fine to keep them separate but both options should be there in some way.

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I would like to merge the functionality of Buttons and Automations. Click a button to run the logic in an automation.

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Looking forward to using the button element more.

Am I crazy, or is it not yet possible to modify the icon of a button? (The lightning bolt)

For certain interfaces, I don’t think I prefer to have an icon at all, it doesn’t seem as professional as it would with only text, which is what most buttons in user interfaces use.

Sounds like the Webhook trigger. So either the Button Element or Button Fields should have an option to silently call/open the webhook address associated with the Automation, with inputs for data that should be passed to the trigger (if needed).

Though I still like having options that don’t rely on people eating up Automation runs since as of today, you cannot “buy more” if you go over your monthly limit;

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Same here. I wish the business logic in an automation could run locally and not need automation runs. But currently the only way to run business logic like that locally is with scripting. People need a way to create and run business logic that doesn’t involve JavaScript, and currently that’s just automations (or a third party service).

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Solid update, though there is one significant flaw that jeopardizes this “fulfillment” style of workflow: The “Move to next record” feature does nothing if there is only one record remaining in the interface. If your workflow removes records from the interface upon a “Rejection” button press, it works fine until the user reaches the last record, which will then disappear from the navigation pane upon rejection, but persists on the main interface screen, functional and all. Since the record remains in front of the user, they will intuitively assume they misclicked or that the rejection did not go through; they will click again, and again. This is not only confusing to the user, but can mess up a lot of backend things if the button is pressed multiple times like this.

My use case: The interface is populated with all records that need to be reviewed. This is typically 1-5 records, since they get reviewed quickly. Thus, the issue of the persistent final record will occur very frequently. The user will experience unexpected behavior when they reject the final record and it does not disappear, unlike the previous records.

The solution: Either have the “Move to next record” function hide the current record if it’s the only one in the interface, or probably more reasonably, if the record does not exist in the navigation pane, hide it from the user. It doesn’t really make sense that records that have been removed from the interface will persist in front of the user (not to mention fully functional) anyway. The issue really hampers “fulfillment” type flows where the goal is to finish processing all the records in the interface.

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Hi all! I’m Emily, a Product Manager for Interface Designer. Thanks so much for all of the continued feedback on this new Interfaces launch & Interfaces as a whole!

Wanted to jump in and address the known issue with the removal of button fields from Interface Designer. This was an oversight and we’re working on a fix to get button fields working again in Interface Designer that should be live in the next few hours. Appreciate you all in the community for flagging this to our team so we can get this feature turned back on for you, and a big thanks to Jordan for bringing this to our team’s attention swiftly.

For some context on the future of buttons in Interface Designer: we are hoping to invest into the new Button element feature over time, and we believe this first launch of Record Update functionality is just the first step!

We’re hoping to update this element to encompass even more functionality in the near future, including opening URLs, navigating through your Interfaces, and triggering Automations. As we expand on the functionality of the Button element, we’re expecting to eventually deprecate the button field in Interfaces, but we want to make sure you still have access to button field functionality until we can achieve that parity.

Excited to get your continued feedback as we develop this functionality & more for Interfaces in the coming months.

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@Emily_Sermons Thank you for joining this community and providing this feedback so quickly! We are looking forward to getting this fix, and appreciate knowing that all we have to do is sit tight a little longer and button fields will be back to normal. We also really appreciate the insight into the future plans for buttons in interfaces.

@Jordan_Scott1 Thanks for creating this thread at the same time as the release of these features so that we immediately had a place to put our feedback. (Technically, I think some people saw the rollout of these features/bugs a few hours before your announcement was posted, but this shorter delay is a huge improvement versus past experiences.) Thank you also for so quickly communicating the issues to the correct team and facilitating the quick reply from Emily.

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All of that is super exciting. Thank you everyone involved with improving interfaces, I use my interface to manage my working day every-single-day, so it’s wonderful to hear that there’s more improvements and features coming.

Can’t wait to use a button to fire an Automation, or a script, or open a link. I was hoping too, that a button could perhaps copy either a record field or set of fields into the users Clipboard for pasting elsewhere? That would be awesome!

@Emily_Sermons & @Jordan_Scott1 my list when I try to choose a record in a linked field in Interface Designer now looks like this:


when it used to look like this:
image
Is there a way to add this back in, because I am finding it much harder to find my lessons today unfortunately!

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This. Entirely this. :point_up::clap::ok_hand:

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@Alastair_Noon Thanks for sharing these two screen captures.

I can see how this would be really frustrating and impact your workflows. I hope that Airtable restores the previous behavior, at least for users who have full access to the entire base.

On the other hand, I’m taking this as a hint that Airtable is working on what interfaces might look like when we can eventually share an interface with someone who does not have access to the entire base. This limited view mimics what people see when filling out a linked record field in a form.

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Hi,

Do you guys know what could be the reason that I can not find the calendar element yet in the all elements tab?

I have tried using different interface designer templates, but this calendar element simply doesn’t show

Tahnx

Try a hard refresh (ctrl+F5, or cmd+F5 if on mac). My new features didn’t show up until I did that.

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