The word database is kinda of loaded, but really it's just making a model that can help you organize your way of doing things or remembering way more connected things than you normally could. Before Airtable, building a database yourself without being technical was a road to tears.
With Airtable; people have organized film shoots, tracked cattle, built businesses, and done just about everything where you needed to do some intense collaboration.
Part of the beauty of Airtable is that it's as simple to use as a spreadsheet, something millions of people already know.
However Airtable goes much further than that by allowing that information create relationships with each other and take on many different visual forms.
As Airtable grew in use cases and complexity the importance of it's design language to establish principles and make clearer distinctions grew as well.
It should go without saying that behaviors should be grouped accordingly and consistently. The trick it seems is staying consistent as one offs are added. In looking at one of the most important behaviors in Airtable; building and working with tables, it was important for me to keep the ordinal spaces largely focused on one clear behavior.
Also visually content and features have been distinguished to help the content such as rows and cards take front and center, while creating a deferred blueprint-esque language for everything else that make affect that content.
As important as the core behavior, is the atomic units that a person works with. Because each row can morph in many ways, it was worthwhile to work on a more considered and systematic way to how atomic units feel and operate.
We can then take some of the language of the design system and see if it can be modified and moved further out of the core behavior.
Even though the majority of the usage of Airtable is on the desktop and through the web-browser, one of the first things I considered in establishing the design language was how it would feel and work on a mobile device.
One of the new projects I worked on at Airtable was Publish, which was a tool to bring narrative context to the structured information of an Airtable.
Although it seemed like a unorthodox marriage at first, there was a real power that was revealed by being able to present structured information in a way that was measured and provided more context, and vice versa providing structured evidence to narratives you were trying to form.
Airtable puts the power of a database in your hands, which means you choose what it is, how it works, how it's presented, and also how you build it with other people.
Here you can see someone stepping through the form, being aware of how many questions there are, and only seeing what you need to focus on.
Airtable is an incredible tool that has empowered millions to take the power of computing into their own hands. I'm very proud of the work the Airtable team is doing and hope to help in their continued success.