Hello! I'm Phil and I'm a Product Manager at Airtable. I'm excited to let you know about some visual design updates we've made across the Airtable product (which some eagle-eyed members of the community may have already noticed!)
We released a number of visual updates in the last day with the goal of making it easier and more intuitive for you to build powerful apps that are not only delightful to use but impactful as well. Most of these changes have rolled out in the last day, and here's a summary of what's changed visually:
The updates to colors are notable, and I want to highlight why we've made these changes. We adjusted our colors because many of the existing colors are considered "inaccessible" when text is displayed on top of them. This means customers with visual impairments may not be able to read the text. Our updated colors help those customers better use apps built on Airtable, make Airtable a more inclusive product, and position Airtable well to meet important accessibility standards in the future.
We hope these changes improve your overall Airtable experience and make it easier for everyone on your team to use your apps. Thank you for working with us to build better experiences together. If you have any questions or general feedback, let the team and I know here! We're eager to know what you think.
Update (February 23rd) Hi everyone, we’d like to thank you for your thoughtful responses to our visual design updates. Among the feedback, we heard concerns about some of the changes and we’re using your feedback to improve the experience further. We've tested the accessibility of our colors, and will continue to carefully and extensively test colors to strike an optimal balance between contrast and vibrancy. Like you, we care deeply about our product and strive to design a better experience for everyone. We’ll keep you posted on updates and share more information in the coming weeks.
As a colorblind individual I now find the updated color palette harder to use. Many of the existing fields in my base now have colors that are indistinguishable to me and I've had to go back through to make edits because of this. Surely there's a better solution to this?
I agree. The old palette was easier to read. It is also more difficult to distinguish between the lighest shades of a color now.
Some of the "Labels" are harder to read for me now, too, especially the white text on most of the third line.
Personally, I would like a colour wheel option to be able to make my own label colours rather than just having the, in my opinion, very limited defaults. But I'm not sure how easy it would be to code such a thing.
I'd be interested to know if these changes are evidenced as being more accessible, or if that is just a nice statement without backing
I want to believe the best of the product managers of course, but giving a little evidence may help.
It's the same with the community forum – the UX changes have actually been negative
The new blue does not play well with the colored logo in shared views
@Phil_Rose In my personal opinion, this new color scheme isn't a "refresh". It actually feels like "destruction" of the entire product line to me, so I feel like "damage" would be a better term to use than "refresh".
Airtable used to feel fun. Now it feels drab, lifeless, depressing, gross, and it makes me feel like I'm swimming in a swamp when I use Airtable. I'm not a crocodile.
Really, really, really disappointed that you guys actively decided to spend your time & energy & resources on this.
And, in regards to the colorblind user above who now can't distinguish between many of the colors in Airtable, I thought that Airtable wanted to democratize software by making it more accessible to people? Now you're just shutting out all colorblind users?
Please give us the ability to reverse back to the previous color scheme.
Also, here's the most shocking thing of all:
Not sure that you guys realize that Airtable became popular across hundreds of thousands of customers SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE OF ITS FUN, LIGHT, AND PLAYFUL COLOR SCHEME.
Which part of this color scheme do you think is going to attract customers now?
Please give us a way to undo this change.
I support the intention. I really do. But I wish there were a way to be socially responsive without hurting something central to Airtable's success.
The loss of the bold, bright, fun colors that made the Airtable experience feel enjoyable and approachable compared to traditional operational software is a big deal. My main Base, previously a friendly wake-up green, is now a somber evergreen - the same color as Excel. My accounting software (Quickbooks) now has a brighter green than Airtable (with white type). Combined with the other desaturated and darkened colors, the creative, visually-fun Airtable vibe is gone for me, or at least seriously diminished. There is also more unwelcome visual noise and unpredictability. Why do some of these colors use white foregrounds and some black. What happened to the feeling of tonal consistency between the colors that made the old UI pleasing?
Airtable is not as simple to use as it used to be. Do we really want every new user, already intimidated by the growing complexity of the UI, forced to confront a Navy Blue Grid, or a Rust Kanban that looks like their 401K provider's portal page (oh wait, my Fidelity portal uses a bright green). it just doesn't seem like a good direction for user growth.
The most accessible version of the UX would simply maximize contrast in all cases and use predominantly Black and White. But accessibility is about trade-offs, not hard rules. I hope there are other ways to support it that don't kill such an important aspect of the Product.
The calendar field in interface form used to be prefilled with today date, right ?
now.... let's guess
Would have preferred additional options as opposed to changing the existing. People use the colors in select fields to be a quick visual reference so their brains don't have to do extra work to read. We now have to rewire those pathways. Generally not a fan of going more neon on some of these colors - not super easy on the eyes.
One of our bases that used to be yellow is now lilac. wth.
I have only heard negative things from my clients about the new colors. More dull. Their colorblind employees are struggling. We miss the old colors! Command Z the new colors
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