Airtable in Mobee Dick. Collecting, organizing and communicating data.

28 January 2020

Patrycja Rudnicka

Research Expert

Jadwiga Kijak

Senior Researcher
Patrycja Rudnicka Jadwiga Kijak
Airtable in Mobee Dick. Collecting, organizing and communicating data.

The Airtable in Mobee Dick helped shorten the time dedicated to analyzing data. What other benefits for a design team has “Excel on steroids”, as some would call that too?

We know what a surplus of information means. In our work, we often use qualitative methods which require conducting a dozen or even several dozens of interviews, frequently accompanied by additional research methods (usability tests, netnography, experience sampling, surveys). As a result, work on each project is striving with an abundance of different data (texts, recordings, notes and other audio and visuals).

Issues related to processing raw observation into a data, looking for insights and patterns, fishing for quotes and a need to share knowledge with a team became an inspiration to search a tool which would serve all our research needs.

In the ocean of data, the most important is the truth about the users, what they think and feel. In searching for that helps us Airtable.

Airtable in an everyday agency work

Seemingly, Airtable is just a spreadsheet with a database functionalities available in the cloud. In reality is an incredibly flexible tool, which:

  • allows to easily manage a big collection of diverse data,
  • helps with processing and concluding,
  • supports in team communication.

The Airtable occur to be an ideal tool to implement two of our research philosophies in Mobee Dick:

  • no waste research, meaning collecting only essential data and using all of them for design and strategic purposes,
  • date-informed design, meaning basing a design process of data and insights from research.

The most important advantages of Airtable are:

  • accepting data in any format (text, image, URL, recording),
  • capacity to look at all data collected in the project at once, which allows to quickly draw insights based on data from various sources,
  • liberty in defining a range of accesses to the base (co-creation, edition, commenting and view) for a selected people,
  • a capability to efficiently configure various views of data for selected recipients, including designers and clients,
  • Airtable integration with a continually growing amount of applications, like Slack, Asana or Google tools, which significantly improves the flow of work in a complicated ecosystem of digital tools which agencies and corporations use.

Thanks to Airtable, we can give selected people access to the whole database, or only a designated part (view, spreadsheet). This helps clients we work with, receive a personalised for them views including, for example, key insights and recommendations.

We use Airtable – among others – to shorten the time we need to analyze data. A friendly and intuitive interface is easy to learn regardless of your experience and specialized knowledge about the database you have.

Base functionalities and blocks allow to easily visualized relations between data and efficiently observe the patterns.

The tool allows for an initial categorization of any content using a single or multiple selection fields, adding formulas, or linking different data across the table.

Airtable base prepared for the needs of recruiting users for research.

Team cooperation became more pleasant, because of significant improvements in the ease of following both processes of teammates work, and results such as identifying insights or evaluation of an emotional charge in respondents answers.

In a field of research, we use Airtable to manage data from interviews, netnography, service safari or UX audits, which expedites and simplify work in each project. We use it also to create a content (UX writing), strategy or candidates recruitment.

Value for client

Properly configured base in Airtable can be not only a tool but a product, a deliverable. In contrast to the static presentations, e.g., with audit results, it's a much more interactive and valuable product of research.

The flexibility of Airtable allows creating views, which are easy to understand and can show various relations, as a one between insight from research and project KPI. Another example is easy to understand and interactive representation of a selected aspect from the research conducted for the project, which enables to understand the source of design decisions.
The configured base is shared with a client’s design team at the beginning of a project when we are still to fill it with the first data. When the result of long-term research is a short presentation or even an executive summary, the real value of research, which proves its price and time, is not always visible. Airtable allows having control over the research because it shows in real-time how the number of collected and analysed information grows. It helps us to show the significance of certain research steps and explain their influence on design decisions.

After ending the collaboration, our client’s design team can use the well-configured Airtable delivered by us to build their processes to manage data in the company.

We learn about the benefits of using Airtable by working with several companies, e.g., mBank, STS, PLL LOT, Leroy Merlin, or Volkswagen Group.

This base is an adaptation of copy docs – UX writing practice described by Andrea Drugay from Dropbox. Thanks to Airtable, copy docs became more functional, clear, and easier to manage. We create this kind of adaptations for the needs of our clients. The example data, used in the base for presentation, are from demo.pekao24.pl.

Value for a design team

In large projects, the biggest challenge is making decisions based on all available data. The knowledge and materials delivered by the clients’ design teams and research findings, analytics, audits and tests, are collected in one place. It helps it not to get lost and forgotten because to access data on a specific topic like, e.g., navigation, all you need to do is to filter the base. As a result, you get all information from audits, tests, and analytics related to the topic. Moreover, we can continue to filter the base and see the data, which is related to the specific product, e.g., iOS app.

Another asset of an Airtable is the visibility of various aspect of a project. The well-prepared database will not only show us research results, designers recommendations and analytic data but also help to mark a business value for specific areas of a digital project. This will help to configure it with your business goals, which makes Airtable applicable to the entire project team.

Airtable allows to connect and combine various information, to become part of business intelligence.

While working on the complex projects and services, the good organization of data in the project, which aims to discover and create innovation, is invaluable. Airtable helps us make the right decisions, achieve our business goals, and communicate with the team.

If you want to learn more about the way you can use Airtable in the project, contact us.

 

The content of the included tables is fictional. The UX writing data is based on the publicly available online banking demo: demo.pekao24.pl.