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Community—

On December 13th, we made navigation improvements to Smartsheet. These updates include removing Smartsheet tabs in place of browser tabs, and a new left panel where you can access your Smartsheet items.

For details on these changes, please visit this dashboard. The dashboard includes a helpful instructional video as well as links to a blog post and FAQ.

Cheers

UPDATE

To help ease the transition to the changes, we’ve set up a half an hour webinar of demo and Q & A with members of our design and product teams. The event is called "Smartsheet New UX Q&A" and is scheduled for Monday, December 17 from 8:00 am - 8:30 am Pacific Time (USA).

Here's the webinar registration link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5230296944453247745

We hope you can attend!

Comments

Please bring back tabs, the new navigation is much less efficient.

I thought it would be something I could quickly just get use to but sadly, it seems to be more of an inconvenience than an improvement. 

Hey Everyone, 

Thanks for the feedback. We truly appreciate the passion that our users have for the product and your engagement in this community. This change has been a long time in the making and has been circulated and tested with hundreds of organizations, both new and old, large and small. We have also been directly surveying 1000's of users since the release and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Now, that is not to say it is perfect and this community has been valuable at surfacing and validating additional ideas that we are currently exploring. 

As we released this feature we had a couple things in mind. Many people already use browser tabs, so we are trying to make that easier and more efficient for those types of users. However many people also like staying in the same tab. That is still possible with the left nav. It was designed to be collapsible on smaller screens, and left open on larger screens. You can choose which way works better for you but we have seen the following feedback...

One of the most common frustrations has been that as we are encouraging the use of browser tabs, we did not make it easy to open in a new tab from the home screen. This is being worked on and will launch in the next few weeks. 

Another key challenge has been the in app sheet links "tabs" used to be easy to reorder and this was lost when we move the horizontal tabs to a vertical recents menu. This is something we are looking at adding back in so that you can reorder pinned items as well as favorites. 

One area that we would would like to discuss in more detail is around the navigation menu itself. There are several opportunities to tweak the behavior that warrant further discussion and this group seems well suited for that discussion. 

One option is to leave the left nav open all the time unless explicitly closed. Currently when you open an item from home it automatically closes the navigation, this can lead to extra clicks of you commonly open items from home and then navigate between "Open sheets" in a single tab (I put this in quotes because in the old UI there were never "multiple open sheets" just pinned recently open sheets that were shaped like tabs).  

One option is to leave the "left rail" the 50px wild bar with the icons visible at all times and expand recents and favorites when you hover giving you one click access to recents and favorites as well as one click access to home and Solution Center. 

One option is to combine these two behaviors and leave the nav open/close explicitly if you click the nav menu, but keep the left rail visible all the time.

These last two would sacrifice some (50px) horizontal real-estate but with a hover would create one click access to recents. Combined with the ability to drag pinned and favorites would create good trade off between taking up space and quick access to switch between items. 

Also we will fix the issue where you can't "remove from recents" on the current sheet. 

Would love to hear your thoughts on how we can evolve the left navigation and move it forward, not back ;) @richard. 

 

Thanks for the passion, 

Robin

Richard Rymill Photo

In reply to by Robin Sherwood

Robin and team, thank you for taking the time to respond to the community dialogue with detailed explanations and plans for forward progress. 

The reason why we are all here is our love of Smartsheet as the tool of choice for collaboration activities. This is the first time I can remember experiencing "Disappointment" at the release of an update. I am delighted to hear from you, that you have plans to move things forward and achieve an even better solution that addresses many of the concerns expressed and add further ideas for improvement, so we look forward to those coming through.

In the meantime, as consultants, we are experiencing a very high level of enquiries from organisations that have discovered Smartsheet and just need help setting up with best practice methodology and the number of clients that we are winning because we are using Smartsheet with their colleagues and partners, that they are asking for help to "catch up", proves that overall what you are doing is a great job, including supporting your IPO with increased sales, so the shares are looking good too. 

Our development team are very pleased with the functionality we are able to create to achieve Automation and Interoperability which is also keeping us very busy, so all in all, thanks for showing that your care and are listening and we look forward to further improvements as they come available. 

RichardR

Lead consultant Smarter Business Processes, now based in Manhattan as well as the UK. 

 

 

In reply to by Robin Sherwood

since there's an overwhelming "majority of positive feedback" and not one person on this month old thread has said they liked it, why not using one of your great feature: the FORM and survey all the smartsheet users?

you would get a real idea of whether "1000's liked it" or if in real life it's not efficient.

I am not in this field but sure love using smartsheet and not thinking of leaving the left panel open from the beginning to substitute the removal of the tabs was a rookie mistake in my opinion.

@Robin Sherwood, @Shaine Greenwood In business school we are often taught “overwhelmingly positive” means oh crap, we did something wrong, but the team does not want to fix it or admit it. It is a scary thought. There are entire lectures on this type of public reception from Ivy League universities.

While yes, I love the browser tabs and how easy it is. My biggest issue is, why couldn’t you guys do a best of both worlds method? Navigating / organizing sheets through home is now much more difficult. The new “Home” layout is difficult to, often hidden, and is sized weirdly.

I will give it to you, the new real estate and bow big the smartsheet is is rather nice.

With modern browsers like Chrome, Opera, and Vivaldi having WebPanels, have you thought about letting the “Home” section be it’s own page so we can use it in a web panel that we can easily collapse/open through the Web Panels features in major browsers? That’d be a big win for me if I can use it to navigate easily as part of my browser.

Many users just want tabs in the same browser. This could’ve been done with a toggle. Why not let people choose what they want? It is only the navigation feature. I countered this by using the tab stacking feature in Vivaldi.

But navigating to sheets that are infrequently used is time consuming and annoying. It is making me want to go back to AirTable or Excel 365. Both are far, far, cheaper as Smartsheet is more expensive than the closest competitor by 25x. This just took major points away from Smartsheet. 

Your pros:

  • URLs are nice.
  • Multiple tabs work well, especially in Vivaldi so I can "stack" them. 
  • Good screen real estate.

Your cons:

  • You guys waited almost a month before you responded to the community on this. This isn't good. You turned around and state "overwhelmingly positive" which isn't always true in businesses. This means you guys had meetings and talked about this and had some "oh crap" moments from your largest clients. You made the decision to stand your ground. I can respect it as you are all the designers. This is your baby, and you have a very highly paid board you need to appease. 
  • Navigation sucks. This is the #1 complaint. It isn't the appearance or features. It is that it is difficult to navigate to uncommonly used sheets. 
  • The ideas @Miha Lensasi stated makes sense, and it is a further improvement on your current design. 

My suggestions:

  • Be more active in your responses. 
  • Why does Shaine never respond to users any more? Shaine is the community manager, and we get about 5-10 points of contact a month from a community manager from a major business. If he does respond, it is a canned corporate type response. This tells me upper management is forcing certain responses, which can give red flags to small businesses. 
  • Bring back the "old" home page organization. That was easier to deal with. Or, let the "Home" width remember what it is on that, and differenate the width from the recent width.
  • Create a friendly webpanel page that we can use for Opera, Vivaldi, or Chrome that when we click links that opens new browser tabs. This will solve a lot of real estate issues, and throw a bone to the more tech savvy.
  • If you really don't want to bring "tabs" back, tell your users about a browser like Vivaldi, that lets them "stack" tabs. 

Thank you guys for listening to feedback. You guys pulled off a great software. I don't mean to be confrontational in these points. But, I do hope they help you.

In reply to by NBurrus

Hi Nburrus,

Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback on the recent navigation changes and on your experience in the community thus far. Robin, as a member of the Product team here at Smartsheet, has stepped in to keep the dialogue moving about the new UX. I’d specifically like to address comment that you made which pertains to me and my role:

As our community grows, so does the need for more people to be in the community and respond to posts. This leads to fewer responses from me and more engagement from different people at Smartsheet. I see this as a win for everyone, and it gives the chance to foster conversations with people such as Robin, who has a wealth of data and insight into why we made these improvements to our navigation. I feel (and I hope that you would agree) that hearing from someone directly involved with these navigation improvements is far more effective than conversing through me as a proxy.

On the difference in time that you’re seeing between this announcement and Robin’s response, I assure you that this wasn’t due to lack of engagement. This isn’t the only thread on this topic and Robin has been actively, and promptly, engaged in those other threads as well. 

I’d like to set the record straight on one thing that you said, which my recent responses appeared to be “canned corporate responses” and that “upper management is forcing certain responses.” I can assure you that my responses are my own, typed by my own hands. I’m not using canned responses or templated language.

I’m also a technical writer (I write some of the help articles here at Smartsheet)—in technical writing, keeping language consistent is key. It’s second nature for me to, if the situation applies, use similar language. Again, I think that people appreciate elucidation above all else.

Thanks again for your candor and for your participation in the Smartsheet Community.

All,

What really baffles me is Smartsheet's response of " We have also been directly surveying 1000's of users since the release and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. " Not a single person I know has submitted positive feedback about this. This feels like corporate nonsense. Not to mention- why alienate your frustrated users by saying "Everyone loves it but you". Smartsheet is proving to have a big change management and user acceptance issues.

When you read this community forum, even if there are people who LOVE the new layout out there (where, I have no idea),  there is a VERY large user community that absolutely hates it. "Overwhelmingly Positive" is not how I would describe this- "Overwhelmingly Divisive" would be better.

I am unclear why Smartsheet is unwilling to compromise on getting the tabs back? Why can't users have the option of opening a tab in a new browser OR opening tabs the top of a smartsheet ? Actually, didn't the previous version allow you to "open in a new tab", a feature that is built in to your browser?

Smartsheet, I am really disappointed. All around. The interface, your handling of this problem, your response time, really the whole thing. For someone who seriously championed this product... what happened?

 

 

 

I agree that this is not an improvement. We have only been using smartsheet for a year and have just started to really get everyone on board with it and now it's just become harder. Reading through these comments I've at least learned how to open a sheet in a new tab so I can have more than one open.

My combination of frequently used sheets changes on a regular basis to updating a collection of bookmarks is not an ideal option. We thought we'd found a solution to our scheduling problems but this is really not user friendly. I already have upward of 10 tabs in my browser for other programs I use all day, so adding extra tabs into the mix has been frightful. I'd be interested to know the kind of set-up the happy clients you've surveyed have. I have tried having smartsheet in it's own standalone browser but that is also quite cumbersome.

Having said that, the support we've received from tech support has always been great, but this does not feel like an improvement.

Considering the phrase: “overwhelming positive response”, this may have come about because of the way the feedback was gathered.  If you ask targeted, direct, and specific questions then you filter out too much valuable information.

If you only ask the question, "How do you like the new ability to do X ?"

This is a binary question that only tells you if people like the new feature.  Of course they like new features, so almost all the responses to what you ADD will be positive.

You should also ask the question, "Do you like that we are taking away the ability to do Z ?"

If people know what you are SUBTRACTING, then they will give more useful feedback for your developers on whether or not to sacrifice a feature for a new one.

I always am positive about the new features and functionality that Smartsheet adds to the platform, but I typically voice a strong disagreement about how acceptable it is to trash features I use every day in order to implement features I may use every once in a while.  Sure, I may want to share a link to a sheet with specific filters every once in a while, but I need to navigate my sheets every day.

The new UX has some occasional perks, but it clearly and openly shifted the responsibility for ensuring a convenient way of navigating away from the Smartsheet developers and onto the workloads of the customers (sys-admins + every individual users).  

 

PS.

Here is another workaround I found.  Using Firefox you can get the extension "Tree Style Tab" and restore your lost sheet browsing convenience.  Or you can do the same with Chrome and Sidebar+.

It will restore what Smarsheet removed, but at a cost:

1. You have to do a lot of work yourself to re-create the tree structure of SS using browser bookmarks

2. You will have to maintain your tree structure manually as it does not link to the platform

3. You will then ALWAYS be losing screen real estate unlike the old way SS navigation worked by hiding the tree while sheets were open

 

 

While attending ENGAGE in October, I was initially looking forward to the new UI. During the presentation it was said that we would be able to open items in new tabs rather than having the tabs contained within one Smartsheet tab. This made a lot of sense to me because the tabs used to take several long seconds to load all over again as we toggled from one tab to another. Being able to open each sheet/report/dashboard onto a separate browser tab sounded like a much better alternative because we wouldn't have to wait for the tabs to reload when navigating back to them.

After some experimenting, I noticed that we can right click and select "open in a new tab" only from the Recently Opened or Favorites menu. When right clicking on an item from the folder navigation on the Home tab, we can only select "Open", which takes us away from the Home tab without opening on a new browser tab; there is no option to "Open in a new tab" from the Home tab.

Also, when we click on sheets that are embedded on a Dashboard, that takes us to the report and closes the Dasbhoard. Plus, there's no way to navigate right back to the Dasbhoard, which means that I have to go all the way back to Home to reopen the Dashboard.

It's like I have to open the Home tab in a bunch of browser tabs and just navigate to the individual items I need on each browser tab to have an experience resembling what I thought we were going to get.

Super dissapointed.

Reading through the responses to the new UX, I find it nearly impossible to believe Shaine Greenwood's statement of "overwhelmingly positive response", UNLESS, as stated by Brad Jones, only specific, targeted questions were asked.

The longer I use this new interface, yet fail to see any response to actual, useful improvements like copying columns within and between sheets, the more convinced I become that Smartsheet employees lack any real ability to implement significant upgrades that would make Smartsheet a real king.

When will we be able to Find & Replace within formulas? I have multiple sheets with multiple columns, with anywhere from 80-180 formulas PER COLUMN!

These formulas need to be updated with unique DATE statements. As it stands now, I have to update each formula individually. This takes hours upon hours.

The request for Find & Replace in formulas has been requested within the Community since at least 2014.

The marketing babble coming from Robin and Shaine speaks volumes of "oh crap" moments related to this idiotic UX.

I can't stress enough that since it's release, this new navigation has NOT become easier to work with. It's a struggle to use, I feel flustered when having to use the tool in meetings with business partners, and I've become reliant on the search function to open everything instead of trying to finagle the nav bar/home/inconsistent and confusing layout. I love you, Smartsheet...really, I do! But please find a way to revert this change. Your users have spoken loud and clear!

At the very least I need to have the ability to pin the left home tab open. This is ridiculous...