Double Click on Field Name - Restore Customize Field Functionality!

Hello Airtable, Please, please please reverse this change!

Double-clicking on the field name now only modifies the name of the field. It is a pain to have to right-click to access this menu. I don’t want to be overdramatic and claim this will totally ruin Airtable, but it’s much less efficient than the old method.

I also noticed that when creating a new field, the field type is now the first dialog. Then we are prompted to put in a name. This is fine and I can get used to the new workflow. I understand that this reduces the number of times I use “Tab” to move between dialog boxes.

I love Airtable and hope it continues to make progress! Just not the progress I don’t like :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Double-clicking a field name still works to change all field properties for me. However, there’s a slim chance that you’ve somehow been granted access to a randomly-assigned beta feature (which happened with the new view switcher earlier this year). Could you share a screenshot showing the behavior you’re seeing?

I don’t have this new feature yet either, but due to the sheer number of complaints that I’ve seen about this new feature in the forums, this PERFECTLY exemplifies what I personally believe is the biggest problem with the Airtable team:

They change things that NOBODY has ever complained about once in the entire history of the product, yet they completely ignore all the little problems that people have been complaining about for years.

Very soon, I will be posting my list of my Top 75 Issues with Airtable — little bugs & problems & gotchas & headaches in the product that have gone unfixed for years, despite users being very vocal about these issues.

It feels to me like the Airtable team is completely out-of-touch with their users, and it feels to me like they don’t care about having a dialogue with us at all.

Quite honestly, I’ve personally never felt such a disregard for users’ voices in my 30+ years of software development.

This is just my own personal opinion, but it is what bothers me the most about working with Airtable.

I love Airtable the product, but I consistently feel like our voices & needs & concerns fall on deaf ears.

Please be sure to email support@airtable.com about what sounds like a terrible new change!

@Taylor_Savage @Jason @Adam_Minich

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p.s. I actually received this disastrous new change for a few minutes, but thankfully it is now gone.

One of the biggest problems here is that this new change prevents us from customizing fields in a mobile browser.

Airtable has (shockingly) never been optimized for use in a mobile browser, but the one thing that WAS possible in a mobile browser was customizing a field by double-tapping on the field name.

Not anymore, once this change rolls out. Now a mobile browser is essentially useless for using Airtable.

Good Morning @Justin_Barrett, here is a link to a video highlighting the new workflow: https://www.loom.com/share/b7e1a3be8f2f48da824975ce058b0243

@ScottWorld, you are indeed lucky the feature was only temporary. Luckily I have only seen this on my personal account so far, but it will be a real pain if it rolls out on my work account!

Anyone who agrees, please call it out here! I am hopeful they will come to a version of this workflow that we can all agree is great, similar to the final version of the view switcher.

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Thanks for putting that video together, Paul. That’s very interesting indeed. It’s possible that this change is coming about from new user feedback. I don’t recall how often I’ve seen new users comment about being confused by the interface for adding/modifying fields, but it has come up once or twice. Perhaps the direct feedback to Airtable is greater than what we see here.

If there’s a plus side to this change, it provides greater unity re: how renaming works across Airtable. Double-clicking tables and views instantly lets you edit their names in place, so it makes sense to have this behavior also apply to fields. The current behavior does allow this to some extent with the combined name/settings dialog, with the name instantly in edit mode, but again, that combo might be confusing to new users if they expect a double-click on a name to only let them edit the name.

Just restarted my Airtable desktop app and it’s still the old behavior. Same thing in the browser. Curious to see how quickly this rolls out. If it’s anything like the change to the view switcher, my gut says that unless there’s some massive backlash against it from a sizeable portion of the Airtable user base, what you see is going to eventually become the default, perhaps with only minor changes depending on user feedback.

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I’m sorry that this has been your experience. While I agree that there are many requested changes that Airtable has not implemented, I have a different impression. However that might be due to different expectations. When I submit a support request, I get a response within a business day. The response isn’t always what I want to hear, but I always get a response. When there have been “Ask Me Anything” events in this community, my questions have been answered. Whenever I’ve pointed out errors in documentation, that has always been fixed. (Documentation errors are far easier to fix than code bugs.) I am in the process of submitting a custom app to the marketplace, and I receive personal emails from regarding that process.

While I dislike the current process of renaming & customizing fields, I hope that we will come out of the experience with an even better user interface. I’m also probably not the target audience driving Airtable’s desire for a different user experience. I do remember when I first started using Airtable, I was confused why both “rename” and “customize” menu options did the same thing.

While this type of beta testing can be very disruptive for people who don’t like it, I can see how it can provide better feedback than other methods, and include a broader swatch of users versus feedback from only people who opt in. It would be nice to be informed of the testing, but maybe they are trying to see who notices, and telling people in advance might affect the results.

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Double-click to rename makes sense to me as that’s standard behavior elsewhere in Airtable and common functionality in other apps. I don’t think that in and of itself was a bad change.

However I do absolutely believe you should be able to rename a field and customize the field type in the same dialog OR you should be able to change the field name and field description in the same dialog.

Now, if this is in advance of some extra field type config options coming down the pipeline and they thought the dialog would be too crowded to include field name, I could understand. But as it stands with current features available it doesn’t seem to be an advantage to separate field name and field type options.

So if it makes sense to keep field name and field type configs together, then there isn’t really a reason to change the double-click functionality.

This has exactly zero affect on me and how I use the platform. But from a sheer logic perspective the change in its current form hasn’t provided a benefit, and therefore likely isn’t worth the backlash it will receive.

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I think that these changes will primarily affect opposite ends of the spectrum of users:

  • new users who are new to making/customizing their own bases, and
  • consultants who tend to do a lot of field configuring because they are working on bases for clients.

The knowledge gap between these two sets of users is fairly large, and finding a single design that works well for both groups will be a challenge. I think that Airtable is up to that design challenge, but they need feedback from users explaining their use cases.

Yeah, I rarely enter field descriptions, in part because entering them happens on a separate screen.

I have this change and I don’t like it – partly because it ruins my usual flow with creating a new field (I have the name I want in my head ready to type - and I’m not given the option to type it anywhere!) and also because I end up with a field with a stupid name like ‘Calculated’.

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:wave: I agree.

I constantly edit/create fields as part of my consulting job,

The new way of creating fields and customizing them is frustrating.

Please return to the old way of creating fields and customizing them with a double click.

Thanks :frowning:

That’s a pretty broad brush you’re painting with there, and I don’t believe that assertion to be entirely true. We have no idea how many complaints Airtable has received directly about the old/current behavior. It’s entirely possible that they’ve been swamped with complaints/questions from users who are confused by the all-in-one design, but we’d never know about it unless those same people also posted here. We can’t accurately judge strictly by what we see in this forum.

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That’s true. It does seem like, as @kuovonne mentioned above, that Airtable is more responsive via their support email address than this community here.

The only thing we can really evaluate is what we can see in the forums here. We have the #show-and-tell:product-suggestions category which is filled with tons of repeat requests for certain fixes & certain improvements over the years that have gone unanswered. (I’m compiling my “top list” of these requests which I will be posting as soon as I have time to clean it up and make it readable.)

Is that a list of your personal top favorites, or aggregated “most likes received/most comments/most duplicated requests?”

It’s not really a scientific sampling, but it’s essentially a list of requests that I’ve personally seen repeatedly requested during this year — usually pulled from threads that go back several years of people requesting the same thing.

If I saw it come up enough times, I added it to my list.

Also, if the requests personally affected me or my clients, it definitely made the list! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

So yes, some of my “personal favorites” combined with “community favorites”.

I don’t expect Airtable to implement new feature request simply because people request them in this forum. This forum is designed for community interaction with occasional Airtable involvement. Airtable is under no obligation to respond to user initiated conversations on these forums. Also, just because many people request a new feature doesn’t mean that it could or should be implemented.

On the other hand, support request are different. Airtable does have an obligation to read and reply to support requests, depending on your subscription level. I just got an email today that the engineering team confirmed a bug that I reported to support, and they will work on fixing it. I was also given a workaround to use in the meantime.

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It would be interesting to compare you list with @Bill.French’s lists.

I don’t actually make lists or even spend any time tracking issues. From time-to-time I search my own business intelligence indices looking for patterns. Mostly, I do this to add some clarity when users make broad, unsubstantiated and misleading claims about products.

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Why? What value does this provide? There are things about Airtable that bug me, but I don’t see the value in sharing a list of them with an audience, let alone compiling the list in the first place. I might mention one or two in passing when solving someone’s problem or making a video, but I don’t see how tracking them benefits anyone. It just feels like you’re trying to find as many flaws as possible. I’d rather focus on what it can do, not what it can’t do.

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Indeed. We can only make inferences and we should be very cautious about the community content as a source of deeply accurate information; it’s just a piece of a much larger puzzle. Bear in mind, every competitive vendor is represented here.

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