Optimize the user experience using the new desktop design (Preview)

To access your app using a desktop browser, you have the option of using the new or legacy desktop design. The new desktop design, currently in Preview, is optimized for desktop browsers. The legacy desktop design, currently enabled by default, provides an interface similar to a mobile or tablet device.

Optimize the user experience using the new desktop design, as described in the following sections:

Compare the new and legacy desktop designs

Compare the features and layout of the new and legacy desktop designs.

New desktop design (Preview)

Note: The new desktop design is in Preview. It is not recommended for use in production apps.

The new desktop design is optimized for desktop browsers, presenting a more complete view of information with a consistent organization and structure. The new desktop design lets users navigate their apps more easily and access information in context, and provides an efficient way to edit existing records without losing context.

The following provides an example of the new desktop design:

New desktop showing left navigation bar with primary views on top and menu views below, the area where you can filter by grouped items, the collection and detail views in separate panels on the same page, and the actions buttons that appear at the top of each panel


As highlighted in the previous figure, using the new desktop design:

  • The left navigation bar contains links to both primary and menu views. Users can expand or collapse the navigation bar. When collapsed (as shown), icons and tooltips enable users to easily identify the views.
  • The collection (card, deck, gallery, or table) and detail views display in separate panels on the same page. To adjust focus, users can expand to a tabbed view or resize the view panels.
  • Users can filter a collection view by its grouped items (configured using the Group by setting).
  • Overlay actions for a view appear in the top navigation bar in the panel, with primary and secondary actions. The first overlay action is the primary action button and the next three overlay actions are secondary action buttons. Other overlay actions appear in the overflow menu.
  • Users can view detailed information as card blocks within a detailed view (configured using Show type columns in a table).

Legacy desktop design

Note: The legacy desktop design is enabled by default. 
The legacy desktop design provides an experience similar to the mobile and tablet device.  The following provides an example of the legacy desktop design for a detail view:

Detail view in a legacy desktop displays in its own separate page, overlay actions appear as floating buttons, and primary view navigation appears along the bottom of the page (similar to mobile)

As highlighted in the previous figure:

  • Detail views display on a page separate from the collection view. Users need to navigate back to see the collection view.
  • The navigation bar for primary views appears at the bottom of the screen. Navigation for menu views appears in a drop-down (accessible only from the collection view). 
  • Overlay actions appear as floating icons. 

Enable the new desktop design

Note: Use of the new desktop design is not recommended in production.

You are required to opt-in to use the new desktop design. You can toggle between the new and legacy desktop modes, as desired. 

To enable the new desk mode for your app, when configuring general settings for views, enable the Desktop mode (Preview) setting in the General section.

On the UX Options pane, the Desktop mode (Preview) toggle is highlighted

Best practices for configuring your app

When using the new desktop design, consider the following best practices when configuring your app:

  • Reconsider your use of dashboard views in the new desktop design
    For example, you may have used the dashboard view to present more information on a single page. With the new desktop design, this level of information is provided by default, without the use of a dashboard view.
  • Revisit design elements implemented to improve the desktop experience
    You may have configured design elements to improve the layout in the legacy desktop. These elements may no longer be needed.
  • Test the app interactions thoroughly
    You may discover areas in the app where you want to make minor changes.

Configure card blocks in detail views

 Configure card blocks in a detail view to improve the display of information, as shown below.

Detail view showing card blocks

To configure card blocks in detail views, add one or more Show type columns set as the Page_Header category to the associated table. Each Page_Header column creates a new card block that includes all columns below it until the next Page_Header column.

You can configure card blocks in two ways, using virtual columns or adding empty columns to your spreadsheet, as described in Customize detail and form views using Show types.

  • Card blocks display only if there is sufficient width available on the page. You may need to resize the panel to view the content as card blocks.
  • By default, Show type columns are only permitted in form views. To include Show type columns in detail views, when configuring settings for detail views enable Include Show columns in detail views in the Detail view section.

Limitations and known issues

The following features are not currently supported in the new desktop design:

The following lists the known issues:

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