Dear @Frank_Strack , dear @Coda_hq,
I like to see the positive site of things, but what a missed opportunity here. There were some issues with the mobile experience and an update has been promised for so long, but this is not what I, and I can’t imagine many others, were waiting for. The actual experience is worse that it was.
I have not joined the beta program, because with Coda it’s an all or nothing deal and last time I joined a beta, there were too many issues with my daily used production docs. Problems are OK for a beta testing, but not if ALL docs are affected. So this time I decided to wait and see, but I had not bargained for another big update the Coda way - no notice and here are are. No choice as to implement the new version or not - we wake up and the update is a fact, the good and the bad.
Since the update is, at least in part, meant to allow Coda to work more like an app (which for me, it already did pretty well), I am going to skip reviewing the document area, because for my purposes, that works fine. You find the doc you want, you open it and there you go. So no comment about that part of the mobile experience.
Upon opening the doc, there is nothing but disappointment, sorry to say it blunt like this. A few unwelcome changes and too many things unchanged.
Let’s start at the beginning - upon opening a doc. You can now choose doc navigation, either Tabs or Sidebar. If you choose Sidebar, you get Sidebar, but if you choose tabs, you get both! So you might as well leave the Sidebar option away and just have a checkbox for Tabs. But worst thing is, if you choose tabs, you get only a max of 4 options, a dot and then a 5th one (actual page - which is kind of nice) . The other bookmarks are not accessible any more (through the tabs). The little hamburger menu option we used to have at the very right of the Tabs bar is gone.
When using the side bar, there is a prominent arrow top left. You would think this closes the sidebar menu, but it closes the doc. I am sure my users will do that frequently.
There is no graceful way to close the side bar, other than trying to touch the little bit of page you see at the very right of your screen (or making a page choice). That is not very intuitive.
There are some grey bars in the sidebar - and I can’t figure them out. The first thin one is between the bookmarks and the page list, but then there are some thicker ones down in the list and the meaning of those is beyond me.
Any doc editor can now Hide any, locked or not, page and this option is way too accessible. This is asking for problems. It is also way too easy to find the option show hidden pages. I am very aware of the limitations of hidden pages, but they are hidden for a reason, because that is where you store your base tables, setup information, hidden functions, etc. You can even wonder if they should be accessible on mobile, but at least not this easy. And not for everyone.
Sharing permissions: it is way too easy for editors to share a doc. So, I turned that off in my settings. (Allow anyone who can edit to change permissions and share.). The little share symbol stays visible for all users, but upon pushing it nothing happens. That nothing happens is good, but the share symbol should not be visible in the first place. And, worst, when this permissions are turned off, users can’t edit their bookmarks any longer (they can remove a bookmark, but not make new ones). The hamburger menu at the top of the side bar is not there any more when the sharing permissions are turned off.
Going to the stuff we deal with every day - most this is old grief, but I can’t look side by side to old and new so I might as well complete this posting with my (previous) findings:
page headers should use a smaller typeface on mobile and less spacing between the title and the body of the face. The wast of screen can be enormous, in particular with some more descriptive titles
Tables: Coda is still setting the table to card or table view, based on the table setup. That should be a doc makers option at design time. Table view uses too much screen - where I get to see 6 rows, there could easily be 12 rows visible. Card view also takes too much screen, there should be better card-view layout options.
Longer lists get a button at the button of the list “show xx more” - this is in table view and in card view. This is a nuisance if you access your list all day long, like for looking up product information and upon finding a row and going to a modal view. Every time you go back to the table (from a modal or from another page), you have to scroll down again, hit the button “show xx more” one or many more times. The doc maker should be able to specify at design time how many records to show, including the option show all.
Modal views have way too much white space - on top, but also in between fields. There should also be some more layout options, to show at least some fields, buttons or checkboxes side by side.
Even a doc maker/owner cannot unlock pages, so editing on the go is in many situations impossible. I can live with this, but an unlock button for authorized people would really add to the usability for mobile.
As far as I am concerned - this update should be rolled back, or made optional, or some fixes should be made in a hurry. Since we already use mobile daily, I am not sure what to do. My users have to have edit permission in order to use my docs properly, but they are not all equally IT minded. In particular the sharing part, the hiding pages part and the side bar vs tabs really worry me.
For the future: please allow us to participate in beta with selected docs, not an all or nothing deal. I would have tested and contributed before the release was made final. There are just too many risks using production docs for beta testing.
Of course, I still love Coda and I appreciate all the updates - but sorry, not this one.