New Shortcuts in the workspace

Hello. I 've noticed the addition of new button-style shortcuts.
Each time you press New Form, or New Grid…it creates a NEW base. this is so confusing and extremely waste of precious space.
Why someone who can easily add a new base, to have these buttons on the top, which do something very very very specific.

If anyone has found usability on this layout, please share with us

Wow. I haven’t seen these new buttons yet, so they’re probably rolling these out slowly — or it’s yet another accidental mistaken rollout from Airtable, which happens many times per year.

Your description of what happens with these buttons is pretty shocking. We already know that the majority of Airtable employees don’t use their own product, so this is more proof that they have absolutely zero clue what they are doing. As far as I’m concerned, their entire team needs to be replaced, starting from the top down.

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Import is even worse though, because you will be completely confused about import.
I think the biggest problem with this layout is that these buttons are for completely different functions

1st button is for collecting data (Adds New Base)
2nd to make a Grid view (Adds New Base)
3rd. to Import Data…(Adds New Base)
4th. To browse 4 templates or Explore more templates (Adds New Base)

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this is absolutely useless.

Airtable has a toxic development culture. They ignore the things that customers have actually been requesting for 6+ years, while they spend all of their time adding useless & frivolous things into the product that actually make things more confusing & more painful for customers.

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Hi @Aristeidis_Zagklis! Thanks for posting about the new workspace buttons. This is an experiment that will run for a few weeks, so if you’re willing, I’d love any more thoughts you have on the feature. I understand that you weren’t expecting the “New Form” or “New Grid” buttons to create a new base. Can you elaborate on what you were expecting instead? Are there shortcuts (or anything else) that you’d like to see here that would be more helpful for you than making a new base with a form view, grid view, via import, or via a template? Thanks so much for your time!

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Hi Sophie,
I have seen these buttons as well and think they fly in the face of what database design and build should be. Yes, it’s nice to not have to delete a table if you want to import a new CSV file, but no one should really be sitting down and saying, HEY, let’s build an entirely new database just to get a form filled out. The data GOES somewhere, it needs to be organized. Just creating a new database on a whim means that someone will have to spend hours later on actually determining what the data was for, why it was in this format, and what is supposed to happen with the responses.
I hope to get some of that valuable real estate back, as we shouldn’t be telling users to just create a new base on a whim, but have a thoughtful process in which a new database is built.
I’m speaking from hours and hours of cleanup and “bases everywhere” restructuring.
It’s simple to set up a base is a great adoption tactic, but I think Airtable “owners” everywhere are freaking out with the ability for casual users to create new bases in elegantly designed workspaces.
If they don’t want the casual user to just create a record willy-nilly, they definitely don’t want them setting up entire bases willy-nilly.

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Hello Sophie.
Thanks for getting back for me
@Grow_With_Jen explained it Very Well why this is wrong direction. It remains confusing for simple users, and distracting for power users.

We don’t need shortcuts there because these shortcuts are bounded with a database that doesn’t even exist before you press thes buttons

  • button is more than enough in the workspace. This is my feedback.

Also, this recently open bases, which some users might find it useful, is very distracting for me, because, i see duplicates if the workspace below, has the base i opened.
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As you can see on the screenshot above…plus if open a back up file for example (the gray base), i will still see it (because it was recently opened).
The worst part is that we cannot move it, as we can with other workspaces, and rearrange it. I would just have it in the bottom. or turn it off if could. I have 5-8 bases, me and my teams work with. First days airtable launced this recently opened bases, they were asking me, which of the base was the correct. they thought it was a copy…

Landing page, should be simple and clean. from time to time, a lot of useful things have been added, or improved, but i keep noticing airtable is doing experiments to see if the users are going to be angry with the new “improvement”. What @Grow_With_Jen or @ScottWorld wrote is common sense, not personal flavour of how to use the product.

So i assumed the UX team asked theirselves…I think we should add some shortcuts…
Because users cannot make easily a New Grid View (which is the default btw), or it is difficult to find how to make a new form?
all these already exist in each table on the left sidepanel.

It is pity, that our responsibility is to run our businesses , but we spend time to put our minds to think for Airtable…how the software should work friendly for the user who is paying its fee.

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@Sophie_Airtable Instead of Airtable making random stabs in the dark about what people need or want, why don’t the engineers at Airtable actually listen to customers’ needs by scouring through the hundreds of constantly-repeated suggestions in this forum?

People have been loudly requesting some of the most needed features for nearly 6 years, and Airtable continues to ignore all of us.

I have a list of approximately 75 top feature requests that my clients have requested — below are the first 33 of them.

  1. Adjustable height of column headers (in grid view): We need adjustable column heights, so the field names will wrap onto multiple lines. This would enable columns to be thin instead of wide, which allows the customer to see more fields at any given time. Lots of my customers have simple checkbox fields which they want to make extremely narrow, but they have to keep these tiny fields fields incredibly wide just so they can read the name of the field.
  2. Multiple Select fields & Linked Record fields (in grid view): If you have too many multi-select options added into a multi-select field (or too many linked records added into a linked record field), you may not have enough space in the field to see all of the options or linked records that you’ve selected. This is fine, but Airtable doesn’t give you any visual indicator onscreen that you have more data in the field to look at, so you don’t actually know that there is hidden data that you’re not seeing at the moment. You actually have to manually click into each field with your mouse, one field at a time, in order to see the little ellipsis to let you know that there is more data in the field that is hidden from your view. There should always be an onscreen indication for each field to let you know if there is more data than what you can visually see onscreen, so you can quickly scroll through your base and immediately know which fields are showing you ALL of the data and which fields are NOT showing you all of the data. The great news is that single line text fields always handles this perfectly, because single line text fields always shows you the ellipsis at all times when there is hidden data. But that ellipsis is hidden for these other types of fields, so we have no way of knowing that there is hidden data.
  3. Leading spaces and extra spaces should always show in fields. This has caused so much confusion amongst my customers & amongst people in the forums. Let’s say you type this text into a single line text field: “ John Smith”. Notice that there is 1 accidental space before the word John. Airtable will display this onscreen as “John Smith” as soon as your cursor leaves the field, even though there is actually 1 extra space before the word John. Therefore, when you sort your data alphabetically, you can never figure out why “John Smith” is showing up at the top of the screen, when it should be down below. This is the same exact problem if you have extra spaces in between words. Let’s say you type this on accident: “John Smith”. Notice that there are 2 spaces between “John” and “Smith”. Airtable will display this as “John Smith”, so you will never know that you have a typo in your field. The real problem here is Airtable is TRANSFORMING OUR OWN DATA ON US. Airtable’s #1 priority should always be to SHOW US THE ACTUAL DATA that we have typed into a field. Otherwise, it makes it impossible for us to have data integrity, and it makes it impossible for us to troubleshoot issues.
  4. In the lower left corner of grid view, where it shows how many records you’re currently looking at: Many people get confused if the number is lower than they’re expecting because they don’t realize that they’re looking at a filtered list. They might even think that records have been deleted. What that should say in the lower left is “X of Y records”. Currently, it just says “X records”. But it should say “X of Y records”. This would enable people to know at a glance how many records are in their entire table vs. how many records they’re currently looking at.
  5. Date formatting: This one is so critical for so many people. Please give us more date formatting options, including the ability to format date fields with the day of the week showing. Currently, we have to create a completely different formula field to show the day of the week. I would take a look at all the date options that are available to us in the Mac’s Date system preferences, and just give us all of those options. But adding in the day of the week is really important for so many people. If date formatting options allowed us to include day names, then we could easily sort by the date field while still displaying day names. (Normally you can’t sort on day names, because Airtable will sort those alphabetically, so it becomes confusing for people.)
  6. Problems with restored snapshots: Restored snapshots do not show any activity history for any records, which make them unusable for many people. Also, restored snapshots should retain the SAME Record ID’s for each record as they had in the original base, so we can quickly compare records from the snapshot to the original base. Without these 2 features (activity history & same record ID’s), snapshots have been essentially unusable for my customers.
  7. Summary bar: Give us some way to access those summary bar values in formulas/sorting/grouping. The database app FileMaker Pro had this problem for a while too, and they finally figured it out by giving users a “GetSummary” function.
  8. All those checkboxes running down the left margin of grid view: It would be great to have the option for extensions to pull record lists from those checkboxes (instead of us needing to create separate views for extensions to pull from). That way, we could quickly check off a few records at a time, and the extensions would pull its record list from those checkboxes.
  9. Drop-down calendar in date fields: European calendars start on Monday instead of Sunday. Other countries start on Saturday instead of Sunday. This causes a lot of date typos in other countries.
  10. Bug fix: After deleting a field, if you hit undo, any view filters that are based on that field do not get restored when you use the undo command. This can result in tons of automations inadvertently firing, and all of your views getting permanently thrown off.
  11. Bug fix: The “last modified time” field should only update based on user actions (or API actions). But if you delete a field, or if you change a field from number to text, every record in your entire base gets its last modified time updated — even though no activity has been logged in the activity log. This confuses everybody, and can cause automations to inadvertently trigger. Either the “activity viewer” needs to reflect why the last modified time has changed, or the last modified time field needs to be updated to ONLY REFLECT user changes (or API actions).
  12. Regularly scheduled backups: Currently, Airtable takes unpredictable snapshots, because they’re based on some number of user actions that needs to be taken before the snapshot kicks in. Many of my customers believe that it would be more beneficial if Airtable made regular predictable backups on a schedule, such as once every few hours or once per day. Otherwise, if Airtable just takes snapshots after X number of actions, you’re not guaranteed to get a backup of the most important actions which might have recently taken place. For example, someone might only make one change to the base today, but it might be the most important change ever made. Counting user actions wouldn’t capture this important change, but regularly scheduled backups WOULD capture all changes, big or small.
  13. Automations based on record updates: One of the biggest questions we see in the forums is why an automation based on “a record being updated” suddenly fired while they were still in the middle of typing in the field. Automations should wait to fire until the person’s cursor leaves the field.
  14. Filters should wait to update the view until after we close the filter, because we might be changing a view that an automation is looking at, and we don’t want the records to constantly change until we’re finished changing the filter. Otherwise, the automations will inadvertently fire.
  15. It’s not super helpful for the default time in a Date/Time field to default to the current time… ideally, it should start off at midnight or some other standardized time.
  16. Automation error message emails: The person who receives automation error message emails is not usually the person who needs to know about the error. It should either be the person who triggered the automation, or a collaborator who is assigned to those automations. Currently, the person who receives the error message email is the very last person who turned off & on the automation. This is not a great error system, because it allows for a lot of errors to fall through the cracks.
  17. All new views should always default to “collaborative” instead of “personal”.
  18. “Find Records” automation action — we should have the option to loop through the found records, which is not currently available. This would enable us to perform individual actions on each record that was found.
  19. After submitting a form, the ability to add an image to the confirmation message.
  20. When we create linked records to other tables, those other tables always create a linked record field that represents the “back link” to the original table. However, when we create linked records within the SAME TABLE, Airtable no longer creates a “back link” field anymore. So many people have requested this, that BuiltOnAir created a script for it here: https://builtonair.com/script/same-table-linked-records-backlinks/ 6
  21. Linking records: When linking records, we are only allowed to search for records to link to by searching the primary field in the linked table. This ends up causing people to create crazy primary fields that are very lengthy formulas that combine data from many other fields. We should be able to search by any field that we want.
  22. When expanding a linked record from within a linked record field, it always shows us the first 4 fields (and the entire field ordering) of the FIRST VIEW OF THE LINKED TABLE. We need the ability to CHOOSE which view to pull the field ordering from.
  23. Duplicating views should go to the bottom of the view list, not in the middle of the view list which disrupts existing workflows.
  24. Formulas: The “Value” function doesn’t actually return only numbers… it often does math functions which people are not expecting. We should have a real “Value” function which only returns numbers.
  25. Formulas: We need a new function called “Filter” that mimics FileMaker Pro’s “Filter” function. This allows us to tell Airtable which characters to pull from an input, and Airtable will only yield those characters as the output. So for example, given the input “A1B2C3”, we can tell Airtable to filter that input with characters “ABCDEF”, and Airtable will return “ABC” to us.
  26. Buttons in grid view: The button labels (i.e. the text that visually appears on the button) should be dynamic, based on a formula.
  27. Rich text formatting: Formulas, lookups, and rollups should ideally respect the rich text formatting if they reference a rich text field.
  28. Linked record fields: We need the ability for linked record fields to automatically show in reverse order, so the newest links are at the top.
  29. The “hidden fields” button in the toolbar: It would be very helpful if we were able to sort by field type. And it would even more helpful to be able to immediately jump to wherever that field is currently located in the grid view. Currently, it is often difficult to find fields in grid view.
  30. Gallery View doesn’t display more than 1 line per field, and doesn’t hide unused fields, and doesn’t change its height to accommodate varying field heights per record. The MiniExtensions gallery tool is required to do any of these things.
  31. When sending emails via Airtable’s new automations (regardless of whether it’s an Airtable email or a Gmail), Airtable always puts double spaces between the paragraphs of the email. It looks like it’s defaulting to “wide line spacing”. This should just be single spacing or “normal line spacing”.
  32. Buttons in grid view: Should be able to trigger automations.
  33. On forms, linked record field should have the ability to create new linked records.

Why doesn’t Airtable actually choose something — ANYTHING — from this initial list, instead of continuously adding ridiculous features that add no value to the product but actually detract from the user experience?

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Sophie, thank you for letting us know that the new workspace buttons are an experimental feature.

Is it safe to say that these buttons only appear to users who have creator access to the workspace?

I do not have access to these buttons, and I am curious about the “template” button. What does this button due? Does it create a new base from one of Airtable’s preset templates, or can users define their own templates?

Over the past few years it seems like Airtable has put a lot of effort into making it easier for users to create things – create new records, create new fields, create new tables, create new views, create new automations, and now create new bases. Yet the act of creation needs to be tempered with an understanding of when and how to create new things. Creating new fields and views is so easy that bases get littered with unnecessary fields and views that everyone is afraid to delete because no-one knows why they are there.

Instead of making it easier for people to create more disjointed things, I would love to see more effort going into creating connected things and helping people understand connections. For example

  • when making a new table, have the option to create a new junction table
  • when making a new linked record field, make it clear that a backlink field is created and give the user the option to name the backlink field without hunting it down
  • when deleting a linked record field and/or a linked table, warn about backlink fields being turned to single line text and ask to delete the backlink fields.
  • when making a new linked record field, if there already is a linked record field between those two tables, tell the user and confirm that this is a new relationship that is different from the existing relationship
  • when creating a select field with many choices, or if the choices seem to grow over time, suggest using a linked record field instead
  • when the primary field is not 100% unique, show a warning (that can be dismissed) and suggest adjusting the field so that it is 100% unique
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Hello @Sophie_Airtable
are there any news? there was plenty of feeback from Kuovonne and Scott

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So many options for the Airtable team to turn Voice of the Customer in actual development. We can’t make it any easier nor more helpful than this :man_shrugging:

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Hi,

I strongly agreed with near half of statements, and rather agreed or neutral with others, except 17 and maybe 32.
Before, we were drowned in corporate views, which collaborators spawned as “create and forget”. Also I can’t miss a chance to thank AT developers for really useful tools like ‘Manage fields’ (with ability to sort field types) and ‘Insights’. I have personal small base, and it’s no problem to manage views/fields manually.
But when administering enterprise with 10+ workspaces and 50+ bases, these improvements are very helpful. I just miss a role which can let me use some of the central management tools without granting me enterprise admin roles.

I understand that you summarized opinion of many different users and companies, so my objections is not for discuss, just an alternative point of view.

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