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Re: New to Airtable - best way to conceptualize solutions

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HOA_manager
4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I know about the various training resources for Airtable. I am wondering what more advanced users may suggest as far as approaching how to apply the tool to particular problems. We are an HOA management group and are moving away from Town Square in order to build our own internal workflow system. Member data, project submissions, complaints, gate access requests, etc. How does one ‘visualize’ a scenario in which AirTable can address these disparate parts to our system? 

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Sherman
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Really have to play with it to see all the different uses and figure out your own best uses.

I have thought about making an Airtable for my own HOA though. My design would include:

  1. Having addresses as a table.
    1. Create views to include quick references that you need, including general areas, places that contact elements you care about like certain common areas, units that have current requests/complaints that need attention, etc.
    2. Create a "public" view that you will use in forms. This will allow others to select an address with no additional details.
    3. Include common areas in this table as well.
    4. You could easily add photos of every unit and common area.
  2. Having owners/tenants as a table. Using a reference field to connect them to their associated address(es).
  3. Using forms to administer the system. 
    1. You can create public forms usable by the public to notify you of problems with common areas or addresses.
    2. You can use internal forms for those who you don't want to mess with the base but who can provide simple feedback.
      1. Gardening companies could have a unique form for instance. Just select the common area, snap a couple photos to add, and give you an idea what the problem or accomplishment is.
      2. Filling out a form even for someone who uses the base is often easier. It can automatically add times and fill into the proper area of your base with a form. Adding pulldown options like "code violation" or "resident contact" can help make sure elements are not missed in the moment. A form link on your phone is fast to access too.
  4. Look into adding SMS and email messaging into your workflow. You can easily contact everyone, individuals, people along a certain greenbelt, etc to inform them of upcoming work, meetings, fun gatherings, etc. 

Does that help?

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3 Replies 3
Sherman
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Really have to play with it to see all the different uses and figure out your own best uses.

I have thought about making an Airtable for my own HOA though. My design would include:

  1. Having addresses as a table.
    1. Create views to include quick references that you need, including general areas, places that contact elements you care about like certain common areas, units that have current requests/complaints that need attention, etc.
    2. Create a "public" view that you will use in forms. This will allow others to select an address with no additional details.
    3. Include common areas in this table as well.
    4. You could easily add photos of every unit and common area.
  2. Having owners/tenants as a table. Using a reference field to connect them to their associated address(es).
  3. Using forms to administer the system. 
    1. You can create public forms usable by the public to notify you of problems with common areas or addresses.
    2. You can use internal forms for those who you don't want to mess with the base but who can provide simple feedback.
      1. Gardening companies could have a unique form for instance. Just select the common area, snap a couple photos to add, and give you an idea what the problem or accomplishment is.
      2. Filling out a form even for someone who uses the base is often easier. It can automatically add times and fill into the proper area of your base with a form. Adding pulldown options like "code violation" or "resident contact" can help make sure elements are not missed in the moment. A form link on your phone is fast to access too.
  4. Look into adding SMS and email messaging into your workflow. You can easily contact everyone, individuals, people along a certain greenbelt, etc to inform them of upcoming work, meetings, fun gatherings, etc. 

Does that help?

HOA_manager
4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Fantastic input, thanks Sherman. 

How would you handle project tracking? We have ongoing construction, upgrades, repair, etc. that we'd like to have oversight of. Would you use a table with calendar view, and simply update the record as project(s) progress?

What about adding a map extension? Looking into that so we have a visual map with owner info, status, etc. not to mention a way to communicate with vendors about owner locations.

Yup, that stuff is easy to integrate. Calendars and Google Maps integration isn't hard, and I think you got the right idea. I honestly have no worked with calendars at all, only project management on vague timelines. When you're talking about scheduling people to come out and work though, I think the Calendar integration makes a lot of sense.

When you're talking about that stuff though, having a shared view that you can make public for your HOA members would be cool. If you have a Calendar showing where things are happening on a map would be a really neat addition for the HOA.

Heh, thinking about this stuff is helping galvanize my resolve to join my HOA board and make it better. The possibilities for communication are so grand, and currently our manager can't even be bothered to show up and open the public restrooms when we had a "Food Truck Day" a week ago.