I want to first off note that I don’t want this to sound like a complaint.
I love Airtable, and I have used it now for 3 years across countless large organisations and medium-sized clients.
I use it for everything I do. But there was always one part of the UX that I always saw stressing users out, and that was the way you can just click and accidentally add a brand new record at the bottom without ever meaning to. The process to create a record was so easy it was overwhelming, because to non-experienced, pressing command + z is often not learned, so they’d see Airtable as a place where it wasn’t safe to click anywhere (A problem later solved, in part for teams, by restricting people’s ability to add records in a base, or just using a sync so nobody can create records), and let’s not even talk about creating a record which is part of a filtered view because that’s just madness squared … But when teaching Airtable, all I’ve ever heard for 3 years now is a lot of “Whoops”…“Didn’t mean to do that”…“Whoops, where did that go?”, “Whoops, how do I?”/… etc etc etc
And even to experienced users, the daily mini-frustrations I, myself, have when accidentally creating a record and having to command + z was one thing I was sure that Airtable would fix sooner or later, so I didn’t let it bug me, and went on my merry way… Loving pretty much everything else about Airtable, creating thousands of accidental records along the way…“Whoops, command+z”
Then August 2020 hit, and they let a team mess around with the record creation flow, causing mayhem among my clients, and colleagues alike, creating, what I think is one of the longest threads on this community yet.
We all had a little moan, a little joke, and I think for the most part they changed the functionality back - even though, it’s still, in my opinion, clunkier than it was before it was messed with.
But then something happened about a month back… Whereby Airtable have given the field creation process the record treatment and made all sides of their app complete and utter minefields. So today, as I created my 10th accidental field of the day, I decided to write a polite petition to ask the UX designer and Product team…nay, BEG them to fix this!
Here’s my suggestion as an alternative:
- Keep the Plus signs. They’re nice and clear. Everyone is happy
- Please for the love of god stop messing with this empty space - This is important space that doesn’t need to be clickable
- If you really, REALLY have to…Why not add a little friendly round button that a user can click on, so that we can all be very comfortable that this behaviour was intentional
It feels like this decision was made to increase field creation, which just seems mad to me. I typically want less fields…Not more! This is the graph of user frustration that I imagine the analytics doesn’t show:
Please say it’s not just me
As a side note, I’ve actually been building my bases in Google Sheets recently, and my stress levels have been decreasing as a consequence, but it still feels a little like this
And as another side note…Airtable Product team - Sorry for the rant. I rant because I care … You all rock !