Interface Designer: Simplify collaboration with the record review layout

You already know Interface Designer gives teams the freedom to fully customize the perfect workflow (and if you don’t, that’s okay! Check out our guide to designing interfaces). 

But before you connect a table or drop in elements, you have to choose a layout. Cross-functional team members, rejoice—there’s a layout that’s perfect for collaboration.

The record review layout lets users view and sort through multiple records with ease, making it optimal for those who need to triage customer feedback, approve assets for campaigns, or prioritize resources for key initiatives. With this interface in your team’s workflow, teammates don’t have to sort through all the information in a base to get to the data they need—they can update, edit, and comment directly on records that pertain to them within the interface.

Below we’ll walk you through utilizing the record review layout for content approvals, so stakeholders have a place to make the swiftest of comments and sign-offs. 

Let’s do this.


Getting started in your base

In this guide, we’ll build a content approval workflow—but these steps will work for any approval or triage workflow. To start, you need a base that contains all of your relevant information. Since we’re working on asset approvals, we’ll need the assets to be approved, as well as the collaborators who need to approve them.

As a reminder, all interfaces are built on top of an existing base. Think of an interface as a clean, actionable representation of the information within your base.

Create an interface & select the record review layout

If this is your first interface, you’ll need to give your collection of interfaces a title and description. This is what your collaborators will see when they visit the interface home screen. We’ll name the group of interfaces, “Marketing Ops”. You can choose a color and logo, too. Then, select record review as your layout. 

As opposed to the record summary layout, which gives more of an overview for a few records, record review allows team members to parse through numerous records and take specific actions on each one. This is ideal for content approvals where stakeholders need to go through their list and make suggestions.

⚡ Pro tip

Remember, you’re not limited to just one interface! You can create multiple interfaces, all of which will live on top of the same base. For example, you might want one separate interface for approving visual assets, and another for approving written content.

Select your table

You have a layout! Now, your layout needs information to show off. Select the table that holds all the content and other assets you need feedback or approval on, and add filters and sorting to highlight the most relevant information. Sorts and filters function in the same way as views in a base—they allow you to control how you want information to be displayed.

Use filtering to highlight key information

For this workflow, let’s add the following filters:

  • Current User: If you need approvals from specific stakeholders, we recommend adding user filters. When you apply user filters, each viewer will only see the assets assigned to them—say goodbye to extra time spent creating entire interfaces for each collaborator. To do this, you first need a collaborator field in your base with the assigned stakeholder listed as the person to approve the asset. Then you can apply the filter and select the collaborator field from your base and filter on "current user." This limits the records to only those they're listed as an approver on.

Needs approval: When it comes to approvals, you want to only see content that hasn’t been approved yet in your interface. If you have an “approved?” checkbox field in your base, you can filter for only records that haven’t been checked to show the assets that need approval.

Make sure you add in filtering that displays only the relevant information to your collaborators. After creating your interface, you’ll have the option to add interactive filters to let your team highlight specific information. Give your interface a name and description, for example we will name our interface “Content approvals” and give it the description “Content awaiting stakeholder approval”.

Add elements

Now that you’ve selected which records need review, add in elements so that your team has the information they need to take action.

You can choose any element you’d like, but we recommend selecting the ones that are critical to your workflow—in this example, we’ll select the elements that will support our content approval workflow, including:

  • The specific content that needs approval

  • Name of the content

  • Related campaign information

Move the elements around so they display in a way that makes sense for your team; you can also make the element bigger or smaller by hovering your mouse over the edge of the element.

Make elements editable for collaborators

Since your interface is designed for content approvals, you should include interactive elements that allow individuals to directly approve the asset.

You can do this by making an element editable, as opposed to view-only. If you have a checkbox field, for example, making it editable would allow stakeholders to check the box and mark the asset as “approved.”

Create space for comments

Assets aren’t always ready for approval—sometimes they need to go through revisions before they’re good to go. In these cases, it’s helpful to have a space in an interface for stakeholders to add comments and feedback. You can do this if you have an attachment field in your base.

With attachments, there are two ways to add comments to an interface. The first is by adding a comment element to your interface—adding comments here will add them to the overall asset.

The second way to add comments is by commenting directly on the attachment itself. By clicking the image in an interface, your team can add feedback to specific places on the image, making their notes clear and actionable. 

By letting stakeholders make comments in an interface, you can streamline the approval process and collect the feedback you need.

Use text elements & dividers to create CTAs

Communication is key, which is why we recommend employing text elements in your interface for much-needed context and action items.

Drag-and-drop text elements for headers and descriptions before elements, and add them at the end for calls to action (CTAs) so stakeholders are clear on how to proceed. Consider adding a line of text to encourage stakeholders to add comments directly onto the image. 

Everything in your interface is drag-and-drop, so don’t be afraid to rearrange elements to your liking!

⚡ Pro tip

Have a lot of working elements in your interface? Organize everything into sections with dividers. For example, if you have three action items for your team, add dividers to form three distinct sections.

Preview, publish, and share

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.

Mission accomplished. 🥳  You officially have an interface that stakeholders can use to make speedy approvals or comments on content—or any desired asset, really.

About the author

Katja Nelsonis a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Airtable who leads our Customer Education Programs

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