Airtable : Changer la façon dont nous structurons l'information

Iconic Products Episode 007

As we become more and more reliant on different software and tools to get work done, it’s easy to end up letting the software control and change exactly how you work or organize things.

That’s why apps like Airtable are aiming to change that.

Airtable, up next in our Iconic Product series, is a tool that allows people to collaborate and work in a space that is fully customizable — working for the user, rather than against them. 💪

Il organise vos données en différentes vues, ce qui facilite la gestion des produits et des projets.

So, what makes this product so iconic? And what made it worth its recent $52 million funding round? 🤑

Let’s jump right in!


Wait…what is Airtable?

In a nutshell, Airtable is a spreadsheet-database hybrid, meaning it has the features of a database but they’re applied to a spreadsheet.

calculating math in head

Airtable’s mission statement explains that it was “founded on the belief that software shouldn’t dictate how you work — you should dictate how it works. Our mission is to democratize software creation by enabling anyone to build the tools that meet their needs.”

Airtable se compose de six éléments de base :

  1. Bases: Toutes les informations nĂ©cessaires Ă  la crĂ©ation d'un projet sont contenues dans une base. Les bases peuvent ĂȘtre construites Ă  partir de modĂšles existants fournis par Airtable. En outre, elles peuvent Ă©galement ĂȘtre construites Ă  partir de zĂ©ro, d'une feuille de calcul ou d'une base existante.
  2. Tableaux: Un tableau est similaire Ă  une feuille de calcul. Une base est un ensemble de tableaux.
  3. Points de vue: Les vues affichent les rĂ©sultats des requĂȘtes de donnĂ©es et peuvent ĂȘtre sauvegardĂ©es Ă  des fins ultĂ©rieures.
  4. Domaines: Chaque entrée d'une table est un champ. Ils ne sont pas limités à contenir du texte. Airtable offre actuellement 16 types de champs de base. Ceux-ci sont : textes d'une seule ligne, articles de texte long, piÚces jointes, cases à cocher, sélection unique à partir d'une liste déroulante, sélections multiples à partir de listes déroulantes, date et heure, numéros de téléphone, ID de courriel, URL, nombres, monnaie, pourcentage, numérotation automatique, formules et codes-barres.
  5. Dossiers: Chaque ligne d'un tableau est un enregistrement.
  6. L'Ă©quipe : Team est une collection de bases dans Airtable.

The fields in an Airtable “base” are very similar to cells in a spreadsheet, except that you can then include different types of cells, such as checkboxes and drop-down lists. 🤟

Vous pouvez mĂȘme inclure des liens ou des tĂ©lĂ©chargements de fichiers directement.

zooming in on the map

De plus, vous pouvez relier différents tableaux entre eux, inviter vos collÚgues à collaborer sur des tableaux et publier des vues sur des sites web externes.

Basically, this tool allows you to organize just about any type of data in your company (or personal life). You can create wikis, project timelines and just about anything else you can think of. 🤔

À ce jour, Airtable compte plus de 30 000 entreprises utilisant son produit, avec plus de 3 millions de bases de donnĂ©es.

That’s a lot of information. 🤯


Organiser tout et n'importe quoi

Oui, vraiment tout et n'importe quoi.

Airtable has so many features and ways of looking at data — while the default Airtable view looks like an overly color-coded spreadsheet table, there is a lot going on “under the hood,” so to speak.

You can view a table as a calendar, a gallery of large cards or even as a kanban board. 🗓

À partir de lĂ , vous pouvez trier et filtrer vos donnĂ©es comme bon vous semble.

It’s like Excel, Trello and Asana all in one.

But what’s the big deal, right? 🤷‍

Well, Airtable functions as a database builder for non-programmers. Meaning those who don’t know how to code can even create their own databases, mockups and demos without needing to build the entire app first.

girl smiling and looking to the right

And that’s just one example. There’s an entire world out there — well, universe, but more on that in a minute — for people who want to create things and organize their data, but aren’t programmers.

What makes it so iconic is the fact that everyone — from programmers to designers to project managers — can benefit from using it.

It’s universal. It’s easy to use. It’s powerful and seamless.

Definitely not words you would have used to describe a spreadsheet back in the day. 🙊


More use cases than you know what to do with

Remember a second ago when I mentioned there’s an entire universe out there when it comes to Airtable?

Well, I meant it literally…sort of. 😉

L'univers de la table d'aération est un espace créé par Airtable afin de partager des cas d'utilisation réels d'utilisateurs réels du produit.

When it comes to #inspo, Airtable has just about every other product beat. 👊

There are use cases in virtually any category imaginable — from government to fashion to publishing.

guy saying bam

En outre, il ne se limite pas Ă  des exemples sectoriels. Il existe mĂȘme des listes et des guides pratiques auxquels les gens peuvent se rĂ©fĂ©rer, comme cette Monster List of UX Books.

Not only can users explore the different bases, but you can even copy the bases directly and use them on your own account. 😲

For example: let’s say you’re trying to set up a complex editorial calendar. Well, visit the Airtable Universe and you’ll find real-life structures that you can then easily copy and use yourself, such as this one.

If you’re a master of Airtable and think you have great examples of use cases, you can submit them to Airtable directly — which is not only contributing to the greater community, but is also a great piece of content marketing for your company. 😏

Airtable has developed a space that proves to people that their product is truly universal and that anyone — anyone — can find a use for it.

Ils gÚrent également un blog Medium actif qui décrit certains de leurs cas d'utilisation de maniÚre plus détaillée.

And that, my friends, is how you create value for customers — through your customers. 💛


Complexe sans ĂȘtre compliquĂ©

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the possibilities of a new tool — especially if it’s one for organizing data and, well, organizing data isn’t your thing. 🤓

Thankfully, Airtable recognizes that their tool is complex, but they offer plenty of content around various concepts that you might come across, such as this beginner’s guide to “many-to-many” relationships.

bill nye the science guy saying, 'we can do this people!'

Et la meilleure partie de tout cela est le fait qu'ils intégrent directement leurs bases d'exemples dans leurs articles de blog. Vous pouvez ainsi interagir avec les données et voir directement comment elles fonctionnent.

But this didn’t all happen by accident.

As evident by their aforementioned mission statement, creating an accessible tool was important to the co-founders from the beginning. ✌

As the chief product officer and one of the co-founders at Airtable, Andrew Ofstad explained in an interview with Intercom, “My friend Howie and I had always talked about doing a startup together, and I had always been interested in creative tools that let normal people do things that previously only experts or programmers could do.”

To put it simply, Airtable aims to try to recreate the immediacy of products like spreadsheets or online maps, where you can manipulate the data directly, but within something that has more structure like a database. 🙏


Integrations are a breeze

L'un des aspects les plus puissants d'Airtable est son API.

De plus, Airtable s'intÚgre directement à Zapier, apportant aux utilisateurs des possibilités infinies en termes d'automatisation et d'organisation.

Just a handful of examples can be found here. 👏

As they describe their API, “After you’ve created and configured the schema of an Airtable base from the graphical interface, your Airtable base will provide its own API to create, read, update, and destroy records.”

This means that you can use web technology to create complex apps with it. 📱

Ou mĂȘme l'intĂ©grer directement dans votre site web.

Vous pouvez également faire en sorte que les données soient automatiquement synchronisées avec une feuille.

There really isn’t a shortage of things you can do with this powerful product.


Il sera intéressant de voir Airtable continuer à se développer et à changer la façon dont nous pensons et interagissons avec les données.

Keep crushing it, Airtable! 🙌


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Ali Colwell