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Stephanie_Sosa
Airtable Employee
Airtable Employee

👋Hi all! I’m Stephanie, product marketer at Airtable and I'm so excited to introduce some powerful new features to help teams build AI-powered apps on top of shared data—all within a single, scalable platform.

Today, we’re bringing AI to Airtable, making Airtable the easiest and fastest way to deploy AI-powered applications across the enterprise. We're also releasing new features to empower teams to get up and running and build powerful apps quickly with a suite of pre-built applications for marketing and product teams. 

 

  • Apps by Airtable: Get set up and running faster than ever with out-of-the-box apps built for critical use cases. Available for Enterprise.
  • Verified data: Easily protect and manage your org’s most important data from one place, while making it accessible to those who need it most. Available for Enterprise.
  • Two-way sync: Automatically sync data and edits back and forth between workflows so your teams can easily collaborate on the most up-to-date information. Available for Enterprise.

We’re rolling these updates out over the next week; if you don’t see them reflected in your workspace, hold tight! 

But something I’m super excited to announce is a new left navigation in Interface Designer. Now, we’re making it easier for you to quickly find and engage with the most important parts of their workflows. In addition to the updates we released back in March, Interface Designer makes it that much easier to build on Airtable. (And spoiler alert: we’re not done. Stay tuned for even more exciting updates to the app building experience)

Stephanie_Sosa_0-1683733750437.png

Left Navigation: New left navigation panel for easy navigation between interfaces & pages.

But that’s not all, you’ll also see that we cleaned up the share view menu so that your teams can discover and share important views and data across the org.

 

Stephanie_Sosa_1-1683733760055.png
Redesigned Share View Menu: Simplified sharing and syncing with a redesigned share view dialog.

These features will be a game changer for teams of all sizes—helping them build the apps they need on a scalable, secure platform. Learn more about these updates in our blog post!

We can’t wait to hear what you think, and see what you build, with these updates!

124 Comments
Sean_Murphy1
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

I mean, some people put a lot thought and effort into their layouts and this update basically says "haha screw your careful work." I figured for sure they'd have an option to collapse it by today but no. I CAN adjust the width of the sidebar slightly.... not really sure what the point of that is other than to tease.

ScottWorld
18 - Pluto
18 - Pluto

Welcome to the world of Airtable. Here’s the most obnoxious thing of all: The Airtable consultants begged Airtable ahead of time to NOT roll this out in its current form, but they let us know in no uncertain terms that they weren’t interested in our feedback. This is how it's ALWAYS been with Airtable... things will never change until they get a new CEO. These sorts of systemic problems at a company always stem from the top down.

Sean_Murphy1
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

I mean, the interface designer is literally a 'page layout' program. Imagine Adobe chopping off 2 inches from everyone's existing InDesign documents and mashing the content into the remaining space. Designers would break their wacom tablets in two and send the pieces to Adobe. Clearly Airtable doesn't take this as seriously, not coming from the desktop publishing world.

Personally, I'm not hugely affected by this but the execution has me eyeing self-hosted solutions a bit more closely. I mean, that's the thing with cloud services -- it's not enough to have a good product, the company managing the product has to be responsible.

I reckon some people who are 'in deep' with deployed applications are resorting to browser extensions to get rid of the sidebar... but that's inviting future problems and may be a non-starter on locked-down corporate systems.

Anyway, I'm sure none of this is news. I feel really badly for people with tight layouts that are now even tighter. I'll feel even worse for people who are scambling to adjust them if/when Airtable releases a collapse function. Has anything been said about that?

Eric_McFetridge
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Our team has found a fun new issue with the left navigation panel: You can no longer "open in new tab" if you want to open another interface page without closing the one you're in. You could do this with the top nav bar......

TDY
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Our client is angry this morning.

Our client's staff is angry this morning.

Not acceptable; this turns Airtable from a solution set, to a toy for prototyping. Absolutely no resiliency in the field where work stoppage or asset extinction is a constant liability.

"Now what?"

  1. We will see what Airtable support has to say in direct email, which so far is responsive and we've gotten a person on the other end to deal with.
  2. We can't help but now prioritize the examination of alternative solution sets, and that is not a shock to anyone reading it. Stumbles are like that.

Get up and walk, Airtable. You have clients.

 

Liz_Shaw
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Another trivial but irritating effect of the new left sidebar navigation - different types of interface pages display the Interface title and page name differently at the top. Looks like pages created from the Grid/List/Calendar templates nicely display the Interface Title/Page name at the top, but Forms, Record Review, Summary, and blank/custom pages show nothing. 

In addition to being annoying from a design perspective, this (combined with the removal of the ability to color-code individual interfaces) is slowing down my workflow as I have to constantly double-check which interface I'm in on a given tab if I'm working on a page type that doesn't show the title up top. (I know the title is slightly bolded in the left sidebar, but it's subtle and my focus is on the main part of the page where my data is.)

Airtable is riddled with these little inconsistencies where features behave one way in one scenario, and differently in another. (For example, having 3 different sets of available button actions depending on whether I'm on an Interface page built from a template, an interface page built from the blank option, or in the base. Or the list of records displayed in the filter being different on an Interface page built from a template, than an interface page built from the blank option.)  These inconsistencies make rollout within our organization harder if the training has to include statements like "well, if the page you're on looks like this, then use the filter like this to find what you need, but if the page looks like that, you have to do this different thing..."

Further frustrations: There appears to be no way to reorder, group, or hide interfaces in the left sidebar (Again, inconsistency! It behaves completely differently then the "Views" sidebar in a base.) There's no way for an individual to separate the Interfaces they actually use from the rest of the organization's interfaces.Screenshot 2023-05-18 at 11.44.15 AM.pngScreenshot 2023-05-18 at 11.44.02 AM.pngScreenshot 2023-05-18 at 11.42.39 AM.pngScreenshot 2023-05-18 at 11.43.55 AM.png

Bill_French
17 - Neptune
17 - Neptune

What AI thinks about this slow-motion train wreck... (I used CustomGPT to build this in five minutes)

Bill_French_0-1684433712116.png

ScottWorld
18 - Pluto
18 - Pluto

Percentage of ChatGPT’s analysis above that is correct: 100%

Percentage of Airtable employees that will even read @Bill_French‘s post above: 0%

Everybody, sing along with me:

Airtable 👏 Does 👏 Not 👏 Care 👏

Zach_Conrad
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

On a call today with a client, I clicked "edit interface" on my 13in surface tablet and we couldn't even work through edits together. The left sidebar is a big misstep.

I will say, what's more concerning to me is that veteran Airtable users and frequent posters to this community are FURIOUS. Obviously, no one is feeling heard here. For some of us, Airtable provides a means to income, so we care about the product. Why are long time users being ignored? Why the lack of meaningful response? We have clients asking questions that Airtable isn't helping us answer. 

Frustrating. And, really, embarrasing.

Grunty
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Looking in retrospect, while Airtable kept its scope within the boundaries of their database features, everything would run quite smoothly.

Once they decided to come out and release a front-end feature that directly effects end-users’ interactions, they end up stumbling this way, even after some successful previous implementations.

UI/UX is a specialty in its own right these days, so I’m perplexed over how these drawbacks could not be considered in advance of such an impactful change.

All this incident reminds me of what I’ve once been warned about in a course on Continuous Improvement and QA — the ‘intoxication of success’ syndrome. Maybe the syndrome struck again.

By the way — IMO this incident got enough reaching and entity as to be added to the incidents monitoring page. So users would have a glimpse of how/when its solution is being addressed.