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Reports: underperforming and paging is annoying

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Level 3
Hello, we have many reports in place that include more than 2000 results. First of all the performance in the NWE is very bad in comparison to loading times of the old system. Additionally I am still waiting for the day paging is made obsolete - as it has happened for Task lists on projects. I am sure that everyone of you first of all navigates to the bottom clicking on "Showing > All" Best, Stephan Stephan Siller elements.at New Media Solutions GmbH
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Level 10
to present the exact opposite view: 1) the performance in NWE is so bad I'd prefer to have a setting that brings up just a few rows to start with, since when I'm building out a report I'd prefer to wait the few seconds to have it load instead of a few minutes, between experiments. I'd love to have functionality similar to kayak.com where when you conduct a search it brings up a few results at a time while still running the search, and then tells you when it's done searching. 2) I hate the lazy loading functionality and I'll be pretty ticked off when I see it in reporting, to be honest. -skye

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Level 10
Interesting discussion....I'm somewhere in the middle of the first two viewpoints. I generally dislike having to use tabs to navigate through pages of results, and usually do what @Stephan Siller said, and go to the bottom and click 'show all' (or 2000). I don't find reports in NWE as being slower than Classic, however both are very slow when displaying 2000 records...especailly so if using groupings. I like the idea of having lazy load in reports, as long as the initial load is fairly quick and have a suitable replacement for ctrl-f so that you can jump through the results rather than filtering them by keyword. David Cornwell

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Level 5
Thanks for this discussion. We will be making an update to Report Details list in the next couple of weeks to be more similar to Task lists on projects. This will include the default of 2000 items displayed when the report is loaded. This same update will also be provided to many other lists throughout the new experience bringing them to similar capabilities as the task list. Once we make these updates, we would love to hear your feedback on performance and your experience with the updated Report Details list. The product team over this area is investigating improvements and may reach out to you for further research. Josh Boston Workfront

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Level 10
Hi @Josh Boston - so with the change to Report Details showing 2000 records by default in the next couple of weeks, does this meant that lazy load is being added? If it's not, then this could be extremely slow, as reports will often return more results than a regular task list. Will this be in NWE only? Regards, David David Cornwell

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Level 10
will this go to preview sandbox first? -skye

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Level 4
Hey, all, Thanks for the discussion on this topic. As Josh has stated above, we're planning to update the lists on Report Details tab with 19.4. We expect to have the change available in Preview within a week so you'll be able to check it out and let us know in case you notice any problems there. We've also implemented a new UI for the lists based on the feedback we've received. Actually the new look and feel is already available for Project and Task lists in Preview, so you can have a look and share your feedback with us. As for the pagination options and performance, the usage data shows that very often users manually select to view all from the pagination options. This means that they have to first load the report with 100 items, then change it to all, and wait till the full data is loaded. That's why we've made the decision to make All (or 2000) the default option. As we're going to load more data, the initial loading might take a bit longer, but the subsequent actions will be faster (for example collapsing/expanding groupings on large lists won't reload the list, as it currently does). We're definitely going to monitor the performance times and feedback from you, so once we enable the new lists for reports in Preview, I'll contact you for further feedback. Thanks! Lilit Lilit Mkrtchyan Workfront

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Level 10
Hi @Lilit Mkrtchyan - so if it loads 2000 lines by default with no lazy load, I am a bit concerned. It currently takes around 70 seconds to load a report showing the first 2000 records in Production using the New Experience (similar time for Classic). This is without even using Grouping, which slows it down further usually. I don't know if there's a better solution, but I'd think that lazy-load should be included if you're going to enable the first 2000 records by default. Otherwise, users will just perceive that the system is slow/frozen, whereas with the current solution, at least they know that they chose to switch to 2000 lines and will understand why it takes a while to load. If you're going to go ahead with this change as-is, then perhaps you can release it first in NWE in Production, so that you can get wider feedback from customers before changing it in Classic. It's not easy to do a realistic test in Preview, because the performance of the infrasturcture is a lot slower than Production, and users are not in there working for real. David Cornwell

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Level 10
I agree with David. I understand the overall speed gain concept. But that first look is very important. I'm concerned the slower initial load time just makes the product look bad and unreliable. I can foresee the bevy of complaints from my users about how slow WF is. We use WF mostly in IT right now. But our goal is to have WF spread to an Enterprise solution. Slowness (perceived or not) will not help sell that. And to any new user, their first impression will be, "this thing is slow." Makes it difficult to win hearts and minds. I know that example is just our company, but I think that translates to any potential new customer.

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Level 10
Further to @Vic Alejandro comment, I had an idea that could be a good compromise between old and new designs: How about if the report does a quick count before actually running? I know you can do this via the API, so I'm sure the system could do this too. It wouldn't add much time at all to the report running. If the count is less than (say) 500 rows, it will go ahead and load. If it is more than 500, it will load the column headers with a warning to users that says "This report contains a lot of data. Click OK to go ahead with loading the first 2000 rows, or choose a reduced number of rows to load, then click OK". Perhaps it could even be configurable by users as to how many rows will load by default without prompting. This way users can get a reasonable number of records by default, and then have a circuit-breaker to potentially avoid a long load. David Cornwell

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Level 3
Good to see that there are more people having concerns about the Reporting functionality. My point is, that in most of the reports I have groupings (up to 3) with column sums. If the report is not loaded completely it can happen that the sum in a grouping is not correct as not all tasks, hours or whatever are shown until I click on "showing all". I understand that a report with 2.000 results or more cannot be loaded as quickly as one with 100 lines. Hopefully the loading performance can be improved in general I would prefer having a CSS loader/spinner instead of having a few lines loaded (also takes time) only to find that I have to click again "Showing all" and waiting again. Stephan Siller elements.at New Media Solutions GmbH

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Level 10
What David suggested is close to what I want: the ability to pre-set a default number of rows for a report to display (right now there is only a default number of rows if a report is in a dashboard). This way I can set it to 15 rows when I am building a report, and increase it to more afterwards. To @Lilit Mkrtchyan 's original comment: I appreciate that Workfront is addressing the fact that users default to wanting all the rows. However, to me there are two pain points to address: the placement of the navigation control (bottom right hand corner, causing the most travel time), and the fact that you have to click anything at all. The fix Workfront provides addresses removing the mouseclick, but I really would have preferred if Workfront had addressed the placement of the navigation control because to me, it's the more universally painful item. -skye

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Level 4
Hi Lilit I'd like to provide some feedback on your point 'Actually the new look and feel is already available for Project and Task lists in Preview, so you can have a look and share your feedback with us.' We find the new look and feel of lists in preview quite disappointing. It now looks dated compared to production, and because there is text wrapping in the headers, the depth of each task line has increased significantly. This has resulted in the project timelines being really difficult to read at first glance, and you can't fit as much in one screen at a time. I know that our users are going to be extremely frustrated by this as they need to see as much information as possible on the screen at a time, without text wrapping and having to scroll across. I would be more than happy to pick this up on a call to show you an example, as we're really keen to get these issues resolved before it goes into the 19.4 release. Thanks Olivia Olivia Harrison Delivery Manager London

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Level 4
Hello, everyone, My apologies for delayed response, I was off for a while. Thanks for the interesting thoughts and suggestions. The change for displaying up to 2000 items by default is being done to make it easier for our users to see the full context of their data, especially as our usage info shows that selecting all is a very frequent action. If this proves to cause performance concerns, we can easily change the default pagination option to a smaller number. Currently I'm doing customer interviews to get feedback about the list changes within reports and the UI updates, so I'd be glad if you booked some time "https://calendly.com/lilitmkrtchyan/list-improvements" via this link to discuss the topic in more details. Thanks! Lilit Lilit Mkrtchyan Workfront

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Level 10
Hi @Lilit Mkrtchyan - none of the times cross over well for me, but I really hope that Workfront will consider making some logical functions to suit a range of users. I.e. Allow users to set a standard number of rows that they want to be loaded, rather than Workfront enforcing a standard across all users globally. Sure the majority might click to see all, but this might badly impact a subset of your customers. Why not let each set of users set their own preferred number of rows to load. The other suggestion which I really recommend Workfront take seriously is to put the list controls at the top left of the lists, rather than the bottom-right which can be difficult and time-consuming to get to. Thanks David Cornwell

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Level 4
Hey, David, Having a setting for pagination on reports is also an option that we're considering. As for the pagination location, I'll make sure to pass the feedback to our UX team for review. Thanks again! Lilit Lilit Mkrtchyan Workfront