One of our core values at The Rhizome Collaborative is, “Be Curious-When we are curious, we break conventions and use design and technology to find disruptive innovation in our solutions.”

In April, we gave a data research presentation via Zoom in an entirely new format. We tossed out PowerPoint and Google Slides to try Airtable’s new “Interfaces.” Since this was experimental, we let the clients know at the outset we were trying something new. With our fingers crossed, we began the presentation and dove into the data.

Interfaces allowed us to work on our presentation ahead of time and eliminated the need for frantic last minute changes as we received straggler survey responses. Since Interfaces pulls its data directly from the Airtable base of responses, it automatically updated any specific elements of our presentation beautifully. This allowed us to include data that was submitted right up until the day before our presentation, with no rework to slides needed, saving both time and stress.

At a client’s request, were were also able to change stack-ranked charts on the fly, which made the presentation feel more engaging. With the help of our great storyteller Ozzie Baron, we were able to facilitate a good discussion of the findings. We thought the long-scrolling presentation would be a detriment, but we set it up so the viewer on Zoom would only see one section at time to minimize the noise of potentially messy screens. Immediately following the presentation, we sent out one link to the data presentation, and all the raw data. Boom. Done.

Was the client happy with the way we did it? We heard a resounding “yes” from the attendees. Is it a perfect system? Heck no. The initial setup took hours because we had never used it before and we were finding our way around. In addition, items I would have loved to clone had to be created from scratch. To be fair, since Interfaces is currently in Beta, it’s still in its infancy, but it did allow me to share feedback with Airtable as I went. I’m sure this was not quite the intent Airtable had in mind, when they developed this, but that’s what I like about using this tool. We’re always asking ourselves, how else can we use this?

Update (5/16/22): It seems Airtable does listen to its users. Duplicating elements is now available along with a few more bells and whistles.