Oct 20, 2022 10:24 AM - edited Dec 06, 2022 08:00 AM
The new configurable “Record Detail” Interface is a fantastic and long awaited feature in my book.
However, its functionality is severely limited by the fact that all Pages within an Interface share the same “Record Detail” Interface for a given table.
My company has a very complex Airtable Base that we use to manage our Architectural Design Business. The base is structured to revolve around a table we call “Items”. This table has around 120 Fields, of which around 30 need to edited by a user at some point during a project.
The nature of our work requires us to approach the same “Item” from multiple different phases or perspectives throughout the course of a project. Each one of these phases requires us to interact with a different set of fields from the “Items” Table.
A simplified example is below:
There is some shared data across all phases, such as Name, Project, Item Code, Room, Status, Etc.
Budgeting Phase: Budget, Importance, Client Wants, and Typical Price. Invoicing Phase: Selected Product, MSRP, Mark-Up, and Invoice Number. Ordering Phase: Paid Price, Tax Paid, Shipping Paid, Vendor, and Order Number.
Views do allow us to accomplish this, but one of the biggest issues with using views for nine different project phases, is a users ability to quickly and easily determine where they are and what they are looking at, without reading text:
Myself, my employees, and my clients all struggle with being able to figure out where they are in the Base/Table, and what they are looking at / need to interact with. This can be alleviated with training and experience by employees, but in general it increases the mental workload of accomplishing fairly simple tasks, or quickly getting information about an Item.
That brings me back to the topic at hand: “Record Detail” interfaces:
Currently, from our “Orders” Interface, we enter data about an order we’ve placed, such as Receipt Image, Vendor, Total Paid Price, Tax, Shipping, Etc. We also can see a list of Items (from the “Items” Table). Often, we need to add new items to our Items Table while filling out an order.
Before, we had to have a second window open, adding a new item, filling out its info, and then trying to find the order you are working on from a list of 10000 orders. Or you had to scroll through the list of 120 aforementioned fields in the classic record review pop-up to find the 5 needed right now.
The new configurable “Record Detail” Interface makes this so much easier:
Now we can add a new Item practically inline while filling out an order, and have only the information and fields needed to complete the process. This is a feature I have been hoping for for years, and long term will make onboarding new employees and clients significantly easier.
As it stands right now, the configureable “Record Detail” Interface that we made for adding Items while filling out Orders, is the only one we can make for all of items.
We also have an Invoicing Interface and, just like for Orders, we frequently need to add new Items to the Items Table during the Invoicing Process. Just like for Orders we need a specific set of Information and Fields. Some of these overlap, and some of them don’t.
Right now, there is no way for us to create a different “Record Detail” interface for our Invoicing Process.
We either need to add all of the fields needed for every phase and process to this shared “Record Detail” interface or We have to just pick one process or phase that needs it most and show only the fields it needs. This problem compounds when we have 9+ different ways we need to work on the same data.
Allow the creation of different configurable “Record Detail” Interfaces based on context.
Ideally, this would be simply based on which interface you opened the record from, almost like a subpage.
I get the impression, and I could easily be wrong about this, that the reason it is currently set up to be shared across all pages in an interface, is so that you don’t have to keep building the “Record Detail” Interface every time you make another Page. Which, I can definitely see as saving time and annoyance.
My suggested compromise is to have a “Default” “Record Detail” Interface that is works exactly as it does now, but have a toggle input for “Use Page Specific Record Detail Page” right under where you currently have the “Allow users to open record details” toggle.
That could also have a button that says, “Set this Pages Record Detail Layout As The Default”.
All in all, the addition of Interfaces to Airtable is huge step forward in improving one of Airtable’s biggest weaknesses: context awareness. Interfaces along with the new Record Detail Page should help myself and others build Bases that are accessible to a wider array of audiences, and reduce onboarding time. This could be made even more powerful by allowing the creation of context aware Record Detail Pages.
Airtable recently added a feature that allows you to make customizable version of the “record review” that is accessible in Interfaces.
You can currently only create one of these “Record Detail” Pages per source table, and thus all interfaces and pages that you access it from have to use the same fields from that table.
My suggested feature is to make it so that you can have multiple different “Record Detail” Pages per source table.
Nov 01, 2022 05:41 AM
Yes! We have the exact same problem. The previous version allowed us to set the visibility of fields by hiding them and this was different for each record review. The current version is a great update but we really need the ability update different records on the same table with different Record Review pages.
The current page system also resets the “home” page when you go back which is a minor problem when people need to scroll through the page to re-orient themselves to the right spot they were working from.
It would be great if these 2 things could be solved. Custom Record Review Pages for Records from the Same Table and Bring back the Pop-Up Page so Users don’t need to scroll through the whole page to continue their work.
Really hope more people upvote this post and we get some visibility and a possible update to solved our issues here as right now there is no solution for it that doesn’t need changing the data layout on the Data Tables.
Dec 06, 2022 08:41 AM
+1 for this!
Dec 06, 2022 10:08 AM
I've just made a thread asking about the same topic!
Definitely +1 for this.
It sounds like your system is a lot more complicated than mine, but we have a simialr issue where we need unique "Record Detail" pages depending the details that need to be input.
I also like the suggestion from @Devteam_Soluis, bringing back the pop-up pages to show the record details.
Feb 08, 2023 01:58 PM
Mar 07, 2023 05:54 AM
For anyone interested in this:
As of 3/7/23 they have deployed a solution to this issue.
More great progress from the Airtable team!