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.
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!
Thanks for flagging this @Grow_With_Jen - this was an unexpected bug and the team is working on getting this fixed as quickly as possible!
Chiming in with all the other unhappy core users. Have built quite a large and interactive base for my CSO and likemany of the others spent the better part of the day thinking I had a bug in my browser that was making expanded records display wonky. Complain number one is no warning that such a substantial change was taking place. Complaint number two is if your enhancement looks so off that it is misperceived as a bug on the windshield instead of an improvement then perhaps said improvement needed a bit more user acceptance testing before being rolled out. NB Also as a 60-year-old eye glass-wearing user who uses Airtable 8 hours a day, the lack of division between the fields is extremely fatigue-inducing. I can only image how others with more severe vision deficiencies feel about the all white without a distinction or separation between fields.
thank you, friends
Hi all –
Overall, I appreciate the intentions behind this update. Side-by-side labels and fields makes this a much easier screen to scan down, especially now that they are in mixed case. It is definitely a more usable layout. @Jordan_Scott1, please share that positive feedback with the team as well!
At the same time the layout is more usable, some of the design choices applied to it really have reduced its usability. However, they are also easy fixes, I think.
The “editability status” of fields is less clear than it used to be/could be. I can see how it is tempting to remove all the bounding boxes from the fields – it is much less cluttered. But the moment the designers felt they needed to add cue text (“Start typing…”) to the fields, it should have signaled the UI was not communicating enough information to the user. A user shouldn’t have to read something to know a field can be edited.
Potential solution for editable fields: A low-contrast key line around editable fields plus lightening the background color on mouseover would probably address this. And if the field is a drop-down, the drop-down arrow should also always be there. Together those changes would communicate a users’ possible interactions and clarify field type.
For all fields: I agree that the icons for field type should come back – they are useful in the grid and here.
(Aside: I wonder if part of the challenge for the designers is the fact that the item view sheet is gray. That choice reduces the designers’ options while simultaneously reducing the contrast – and thus the readability – of the UI. I haven’t done any calculations on this, but I wonder how accessible some of these low contrast gray-on-gray choices really are.)
Lastly, a broader suggestion Re the record detail UI: It might be worth asking why this part of the UI is a modal which appears in front of the entire interface. That choice doesn’t seem to add much utility – you can barely see other records behind it – while simultaneously limiting the available space for the expanded record itself. Instead, the record could expand to be in front of the grid/view space itself. An ‘x’ close button in the right top corner would close the record and return to the grid behind it. The benefits of this would be:
There are some questions to consider (Does the open record persist if I change view or tab and return?) and some fun possibilities (Pin a record open/minimized as a window like gmail), but I thought it might be an idea worth sharing.
Classic or Experimental?
It’s really great to see all the passionate feedback and great ideas for improving the new expanded view. Such changes fall into the innovator’s dilemma - users want each new version to remain the same, but be wholly different. Often, abrupt UX changes are like elections - at least 50% of the audience will be disappointed.
It’s a paradox, of course. However, experienced engineering teams know that they can easily disappoint near-zero per cent of the users by simply adding a user setting -
I have a much simpler ask - please inform the dev team when it comes to changing long-standing UI features, almost every user will be comfortable with a “classic” and “experimental” option. Users are free to choose either without disrupting their individual comfort and use cases.
Most advanced software asks which you prefer and integrates feedback options in the selection process. When they opt-out of the experimental version, you needn’t know anything more; the user preferred the classic UX. This alone is a data point and it’s captured effortlessly while also giving the user exactly which UX they prefer.
@Jordan_Scott1 Your work (and the work of your team) is hugely appreciated, and I am a huge supporter of Airtable’s excellent and consistent progression, but there are some serious missteps here. We urgently need to see a return of the icons to clarify (for example) what is a formula and what is editable. I also echo previous posts about confusion over the ‘Start typing’ notification when a field might be automated. As an Airtable user of over 4 years, this is the first time that I feel like a development needs to be entirely rolled back.
I totally agree with everything that @Bill.French said. You can’t blindside users like this and make the product infinitely more difficult to use. Give people a choice to opt-in to experimental features, just like Google does, and then refine those experimental features based on user feedback.
I mean, at the very least, the field type icons need to come back. It’s unusable without those.
Then we can start addressing the rest of the issues. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
Yeh and also, I appreciate your effort to make it known. My guys are pretty upset, and im struggling, so i appreciate your well thought out and proffesional analysis of it and your decent reporting of it here in the forum, Many of us are too busy and hectic to take the time to do it so well, so sincerely thank you!
bam ,spot on. Thank you for explaining it so authoratively, i completely love this post.
Why was this not announced ahead of time? My users and I have wasted time trying to puzzle out why things have ‘gone wrong’. Was it not piloted? I agree with all the comments below and strongly urge you to reverse this change immediately and go back to the drawing board. My 15 users utilize expanded views all the time and constantly navigate between tables from them.
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