Dashboards are a lifesaver when it comes to viewing essential info in one fell swoop, and Interface Designer’s dashboard layout is perfect when you want to aggregate information, highlight trends, or visualize distribution in charts and graphs.
Dashboards are ideal for showing executive teams detailed information on what’s going on at the company so they can make informed decisions. Maybe you need a sales dashboard highlighting accounts in each stage with revenue projections, or a topline goals dashboard that shows progress across company-wide initiatives. Whatever the need, if the data is in your base, you can build an impressive custom dashboard in minutes.
In this guide, we’ll be harnessing the dashboard layout to create a roadmap so our product team can track their quarterly goals—and the rest of the org can stay up-to-date on the development and launch schedule.
Ready to save your team some time and headaches?
Creating an interface starts with choosing a base, and knowing the problem you’re trying to solve. Try asking yourself who your audience is and what information they need to view.
We want to build a dashboard to highlight major feature launches for our executive team in this guide, but keep in mind that the following steps can be applied to any dashboard use case.
Go ahead and click the “interface” button on the top left of your base to start building.
Don’t skip over the name! Taking the time to give your group of interfaces a name and description helps your collaborators understand how they should engage with it.
In this example, we’ll assign the main title “Product Roadmap” and describe it as “Source of truth for upcoming launches and A/B tests.”
Every time you create an interface, you’ll be asked to select a layout. Select the dashboard layout, then select the table holding the information you want to display. We’re going to connect our dashboard layout to our “features” table, as it has most of the information we need to report on the status and timing of upcoming feature development.
Choosing the dashboard layout lets you jumpstart your interface with a simple toggle to add or remove summaries, charts, and graphs. If you see elements from your table that you don’t need, you can simply toggle them off. And if you change your mind? Don’t worry—you can add these back in once you dive into editing.
⚡ Pro tip
With the dashboard layout, you can pull information from other tables in editing mode. For instance, if you’d like to have a number element display a metric from outside of the “features” table we’ve chosen.
The dashboard layout is meant to highlight key information, so definitely utilize Interface Designer’s most visual elements. Before going into editing mode, you can toggle a few elements that have been automatically connected to your table.
For our product roadmap, we’re going to use the number element to keep the highest level metrics—the numbers the org cares most about—front and center.
When you select the number element, filter the release date field to “after yesterday,” meaning any day in the future, and select the summary type “earliest date.” When you add a date to be summarized in a number element, you’re given options for how you want to represent the data. You can summarize by the earliest or latest date, or by the number of months or days.
Let’s add two more number elements: one for the number of large features we’ve shipped this quarter, and another for any features at risk for our next release. You can add additional numbers depending on what’s present in your base, or you can remove some if three is too many.
Next, we’ll add a chart to highlight NPS scores over time to understand the relationship between feature launches and customer satisfaction. To set up a chart, you can add any necessary filterings, then select your X and Y-axis. Since we want to show our NPS score over time as it relates to the roadmap, the X-axis will be our dates and the Y-axis will be the average NPS score. We’ll name it “NPS Score over time” and keep the auto-generated labels for the X & Y axes.
You’re not limited to the elements that have been pre-selected for you, so feel free to add and remove them as you see fit after you’ve given your interface a name and description. The following are some elements you can add once you enter editing mode.
Let’s add the Timeline view element—this is a roadmap, after all!
Timeline view will show all of the features that are launching on a neat timeline, making it easier for cross-functional teams to know what’s shipping when.
⚡ Pro tip
Have a lot of info to display on the timeline? Consider giving your collaborators the ability to filter the information themselves. This option is available on all data-rich elements, from timelines to grids and charts. Choose the field that is most helpful to filter by—we’ll filter by the product area so the cross-functional teams can more easily find the dates they’re looking for.
Grid view elements are ideal for scenarios where you want to display specific information from a table in your base. We’re going to add a grid view of prioritized customer feedback to further enrich the product roadmap and provide context on our priorities.
Have you selected all the elements and fields you want to display in your interface? Great! Now, it’s time to add some design so your team can easily navigate the dashboard you’ve built.
We have a few design recommendations you can take or leave, like:
Add text elements to create headers (this can give your information context)
Keep your numbers together
Incorporate color to help break out information—we’ll add some color behind the customer feedback section
No matter which layout you’ve chosen, don’t add so many elements that your interface turns into one endless scroll of information. Feel free to move blocks around to cut down on all that space, too. You can always create multiple dashboards for different roadmaps if your single dashboard is getting too long.
Once you’ve added elements and arranged everything to your liking, use the “view as” toggle to see how everything will look to a designated collaborator. You can also click the preview toggle to see how the interface will look once published. When you’re happy with the final results, click publish. Congrats—you’ve just designed an interface!
Sharing is caring, and we’ve made it easy to bring in your collaborators. Click the share button in the top-right corner of your interface to invite others via email or by creating a link. You have the granular flexibility to not only decide what level of permission your collaborators should have, but also whether they should also be allowed access to the underlying base.
What’s more, you can even create personalized experiences for collaborators coming to your interface with user-filters at both the page and element level.
⚡ Pro tip: Enterprise user management
If you’re on Airtable’s Enterprise plan, you can customize your interfaces to be even more dynamic and secure by using the user groups feature. Whether you are looking to efficiently manage user access or to personalize exactly what information is shown to individuals based on their team or role, user groups and interfaces together let you create that ideal and secure experience for all the collaborators in your company.
Once you’ve shared your interface with your collaborators, it appears in their Airtable home screen, as well as becomes discoverable within the base using the “Interfaces” button. If your collaborator already has access to the base, you can also send them a direct link to the interface itself. For a deeper dive into sharing your interfaces with collaborators, be sure to check out our detailed help center article.
Cue the confetti. 🎊 Your organization now has a fleshed-out product roadmap they can quickly consult for goal and shipping updates.