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Product Update: Improvements to Base Navigation

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Rotimi_Iziduh
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Hi everyone!

I’m Rotimi Iziduh and I’m the product manager working on various Core Surfaces here at Airtable. I’m super excited to share a set of upcoming updates that make the in-base experience easier to navigate, and improve the discoverability of the automations and interfaces features. Specifically, we are introducing a new top navigational structure that contains the below three tabs:

  • Data: This is the default starting point of the old experience. As before, it is where you will review and edit the various tables and views that contain your data
  • Automations: This provides easier access to automations that trigger various actions based on your underlying data
  • Interfaces: This gives quick access to a visual layer to turn your underlying data and automations into apps that are tailored to your unique workflows

To illustrate this, here’s a quick before and after snapshot:

Before:
44aa160a7b3ee7d31903aba031ca4251f6b3f022.png

After:
e75af9dcef447018eb85c8b0806619c698019cdd.png

We’re excited to launch these improvements and please keep an eye out for more exciting updates across your favorite Airtable surfaces!

Thanks,
Rotimi

These updates will be rolled out to 100% by end of day tomorrow. If you aren’t seeing these changes reflected, please try clearing your cache.

59 Comments
Paulo_Rebelo_Fi
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

I’d REALLY like to have the option to see the tabs vertically (fixed on the left).
The previous way that the tabs were shown were more clear to me. Didn’t like the new UI of the tabs.
The dropdown menu to see them vertically I liked but it’d be better on the left. Hope you agree, tnx!

Tristan-ARG
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Nice changes! now I can press click + ctrl and it will open the new base in a new tab! (in google chrome). gooood!

Karlstens
11 - Venus
11 - Venus

Firefox too :smiling_face_with_sunglasses: Excellent.

Jack_Manuel
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Nice clean update. Only suggestion is to maintain the tabs when in an interface. Feels (I assume unintentionally) disconnected when navigating to an interface from the data tab to not be able to navigate back by clicking the data tab.

ScottWorld
18 - Pluto
18 - Pluto

Totally agree with @Jack_Manuel. What’s the point of the new navigation at the top, if it completely disappears when we switch to an interface? The new navigation doesn’t make anything easier if it doesn’t actually present a consistent user interface that actually makes things more user-friendly for the users. @Rotimi_Iziduh

Doan_Giap
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

I like the new layout. But something makes me feel anxious. Can you remove the darker color in free space in the tab (like the old one)? It will make the header seem bigger and fearless. To me, the new one looks like too much color (orange, and darker orange, too much for me :slightly_smiling_face: )
e75af9dcef447018eb85c8b0806619c698019cdd

Jeremy_Martin
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Hi there, I got the update yesterday and have a problem with editing scripts… I sometimes edit a script and before finishing testing, I need to SAVE, but not make the changes live, because I need to finish my testing at a later stage.

I see that I have one of 2 options, DISCARD changes or Update the script

I’ll save WIP script changes locally to enable me to not loose everything before I want to make a change live.

If there is another way / process flow that anyone is following for editing and testing script changes please let me know

David_Solimini
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Generally this feels like a strong move. I ESPECIALLY like the ‘show a table in a dockable popup’ feature that is now in automations. I hope that UI approach finds more uses in the future. And Manage Fields is very useful for managing more complicated bases.

One item that felt very odd to me: The behavior of the Extensions and Manage fields menu items.

When in Manage fields, it bolds Manage Fields, which makes sense:
image

But when you show the extensions pane, we get a divider between the data and the Extensions pane and the darker “header bar” breaks in two pieces. OK, that makes sense. But the Manage Fields menu item is now in the Extensions section rather than the data section. This suggests that Manage Fields is now related to Extensions – though of course, it is not.
image

To reinforce this point, the other buttons in that “header bar” – to expand it to full screen and to close Extensions – are specific to extensions. So that surface is clearly supposed to be for extensions-related UI only, but the Manage Fields button confuses that. In fact, it’s even worse when you expand Extension to be full screen – the Manage Fields button is still there:
image

This leads to the very weird user experience of clicking Manage Fields from within a maximized Extensions pane. Manage Fields is specific to the context of a table, but a maximized Extensions pane is not - in fact it does not list a current table at all… so “manage fields” of … what, exactly? Yes, it’s the last table you were in, but that context switch – from full screen, base-level to full-screen table-level is not communicated with the UI very well, and so it is jarring.

OK, so how to fix this? One option is probably very simple: Swap the position of Manage Fields and Extensions menu items in the darker header bar. With Extensions on the right, the Extensions Pane division header bar can happen between these two options, with Manage Fields staying on the “data side” of the split an Extensions moving into the pane’s header. That keeps the UI elements in the extensions pane header bar to only those that apply to extensions.

Michael_Benson
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

I prefer the current format. It’s all a little cleaner.

However, I’m not moving between bases - we keep everything all in one, so for my use case, I feel the current format is nicer :slightly_smiling_face:

kuovonne
18 - Pluto
18 - Pluto

I recommend that you pair your script writing process with an external code editor such as VS Code and a git version control system such as GitHub. Save your in-progress code locally in VS Code. Store and track versions of your code in GitHub. Have a copy/paste workflow between the VS Code and the Airtable code editor.