Improvements to expand and edit records

Hi all!

We are excited to share that as of today, we’ve made it easier for you - and your team - to expand and edit records in Airtable.

  • We’re making it easier to edit records while in the expanded view. We’ve increased the area around fields (including moving the field label to the left to save vertical space) in the expanded view for each record and made improvements to the activity pane.
  • We’ve also made it clear when a field is editable in expanded view so your collaborators can easily make edits.
  • We’ve added a persistent action bar so that common actions like changing between records, turning on comments, and the record title all stay in the same place, even as you scroll through the details.

You can expect these updates to be reflected in your bases in the next two days. We’d love to hear feedback from you about this change, so please leave your feedback below!

8 Likes

im so confused. im seeing changes but they are not what you’re saying they are. are we being tested on?

1 Like

Thanks for the notification.

I like the fact that field names are no longer in upper case and reflect the same case that they are configured with. I also like how they wrap.

I miss seeing the icons for the field types.

I do not like the instructions to start tying in fields that do not have any text. In some cases, fields need to be editable but users should not be typing in them, such as when a field should be set by a script or set by a person with a different job. I feel that there could have been a better way to communicate that the fields are editable.

17 Likes

all else i will say, i have 4 airtable users other than me in THIS PARTICULAR project and I had to answer 900 questions and complaints about this change. people freaking out thinking they broke things. even i did a hard refresh when i first saw it.
When asked if they thought it might be easier once they got used to it they said no they prefer the old interface and feel that the change sets them back in their airtable comfort and training.

7 Likes

Agree, inviting users to type in fields that are empty is counterproductive. They may be filled in later through automations, or they may be empty for a reason. It’s hard enough to train SOP’s when the fields are just empty, but it’s just unnecessary to invite people to “start typing” instead of just clearly defining the short answer field in the view.

6 Likes

I will echo all the points @kuovonne noted, both positive and negative. I will also add that I like that long text fields don’t take up more space than they need to.

My personal wishlist of improvements to the Expanded Record View:

  • Must-have improvements to make it usable again
    • Put the field icons back so we know what the field type is.
    • Editable fields should have a background or border unless you’re looking at a shared view, in shared views the “clean” look would be fine. Placeholder text should be a field setting or a global setting that can be turned on/off
    • Link Record Fields take up an inordinate amount of space (same was true for the previous design). Airtable has three designs for how linked records look: the full preview with certain fields displayed, the blue “pill box”, and the white pill box as seen in form views. There should be a toggle for displaying linked records in a more compact way.
      • You’d be legends if linked records could be displayed as a nested grid as opposed to just pill boxes. Edited to add: if you’re going to adjust UI, its preferred that it becomes more usable, not just moving things around on screen.
  • Other items that could be useful
    • Perhaps a toggle for displaying a field’s description directly below the field name? Default behavior should still be using info icon like current.
    • Near as I can tell the expanded record view always shows fields in the order they appear in the view from which the record was expanded, but if its expanded from some external area (i.e. a linked table or an app), it follows the field order of the first view of the host table. Some control over which view’s field order gets shown would be great.
17 Likes

Control + F is not longer able to be used with the expanded record, this needs to be resolved as we can’t get the browser to search the record, only the grid below which is greyed out because the record is open. For long records, it is difficult to see the data you need.

10 Likes

The icons are definitely a big miss here, especially in larger more complicated bases!

9 Likes

Yah, I too am thinking the soft text “Start typing…” would be confusing in many situations especially where there’s automation doing the typing, and that Field Icons are definitely needed.

May we nudge Airtable Devs ever so softly to start to develop/include Field Colours, that could then be used in this new fancy Expand And Edit Records dialogue window? :wink:

3 Likes

Kamille’s suggestions are great, particularly the one about displaying linked records in a grid. That would be legendary.

5 Likes

+1 for this. Imagine it can act as subform or subtable and you can specify which column on that linked record to be displayed.

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I am NOT a fan of this change. The expanded view is now all white without a distinction or separation between fields. Please add the boxes or some color to this view.

Icons are a must! Please add them back.
Editable field MUST have a contrasting color. No border or contrast just give me a LONG list of items and text.
Please delete the instructions telling me to start typing. This is confusing to those who do not edit records.
In most cases, I have more than 10 document attached to a record. Now, I must scroll even more to get to the information I want in the expanded view. Please make the attached documents section small again. If I want to view a document, I can expand that section.

All in all, I am NOT a fan of the changes.

13 Likes

Unfortunately, I feel that this change is extremely misguided, and that it is only going to drive more people away from Airtable.

For me & several of my clients, this new design change is completely & totally unacceptable for the following reasons:

  1. There are no field type icons, which is critical for distinguishing different types of fields at a glance.
  2. It prompts users to start typing text for every text field, which is extremely misguided.
  3. It litters the screen with hyphens to indicate calculated fields that have no data in them.
  4. There are no colors or shading or any other design elements to distinguish between different parts of the screen, so everything runs together.
  5. There is no easy way to distinguish which fields are editable or not.

It seems like Airtable was trying to copy Apple’s minimalist style, but Airtable paid little attention to the actual details of Apple’s style which makes interfaces easier to use instead of more difficult to use.

Airtable’s interface has traditionally been one of its biggest selling points, and Airtable has done such a good job of it in the past. But this change is a gigantic step backwards and introduces a bunch of problems that didn’t exist before.

10 Likes

This is the same feedback I’m getting from my users. They don’t like it at all. And I don’t like the way it was rolled out with no warning.

Changing the whole look and feel of expanded records has a huge impact on our workflow, and a heads up would have been nice. I don’t consider a same-day post I had to go looking for in the Community Forum much of a notification – especially for something like this that literally affects every single record and field.

The issues that have been called out in previous posts are causing problems for us too:

  • Lack of visual hierarchy and field delineation
  • Missing field type icons – this is a HUGE miss that is going to require massive retraining
  • “Start typing” and “Add a number” instructions causing major confusion
  • Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling and then scrolling some more to get past fields that used to be collapsed with option to expand (particularly links and attachments)

@Jordan_Scott1 and the rest of the Airtable Team, I appreciate your intentions here, but the execution was not done well. You made a lot of assumptions and failed to communicate in advance, and your users are the ones now suffering the consequences. Please give us a way to switch back to the old view while you fine tune this one!!!

11 Likes

The proper way for a company like Airtable to behave is to build trust with its customers, not continually break trust time & time again.

4 Likes

I agree with everything kuovonne said and want to add, part of the release says " * We’ve also made it clear when a field is editable in expanded view so your collaborators can easily make edits."

I would argue this release had the exact opposite effect. The form fields not having an outline is VERY annoying and poor UI. It’s like, everything is just greyed out and looks like Nothing is editable.

7 Likes

The field type icons are also incredibly useful when troubleshooting issues from screen captures—on this forum and, I suspect, in support calls as well.

The single dash for empty formula fields mimics the behavior of formula fields in Interfaces. I didn’t like it there and I don’t like it here. Having a dash also makes writing formula fields more confusing. A formula that outputs BLANK() should be blank, not a dash.

7 Likes

It’s not so much a trust thing IMHO, but rather, Airtable just had to create a pick-list of power users that can make themselves available to test these features before pushing them out live to everyone.

It’s very common practice, and I’m not too sure why they hit the go live button with these features - because with just a few weeks worth of tweaking from the feedback given, they’d then have a much smoother launch that receives nothing but praise.

Airtable could perhaps use their own product to manage their feature enhancements in a base. :smile:

5 Likes

well, unusable for us as of today, when it all went grey.
Productivity in the toilet, and its not just because I (we’re) not used to it, its simply impossible to seee what im doing.

Its now much less obvious to the eyes, if a field has been populated or not.
Anything thats editable from where you are, should have a white box around it.

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Hi @Jordan,
Hi Airtable,

Unfortunately, I’m not excited by this as it is !
Why does Airtable not first open Beta for such a UI/UX change attempt ?

Each time I got some bad experience effects like described in the latest Table Talk Topic,
I was telling myself: “OK, this is poor or bad or missing feature BUT Airtable UI/UX is top amazing, close to ideal !”
So, before to dare to alter UI/UX, please first propose a Beta of this !

Thank you if Airtable could understand that,

olπ

2 Likes