Paper is a great source of inspiration

Imagine that you are designing a hiring app. Your users have loads of applicants to review. They want to distill a few potential candidates.

A typical user interface that does this, is probably based on a table. As developers, we are often tempted to build tables. They mimic our thinking while storing data in a database.

Example of a table with applicants

Example based on TailwindUI.

Whenever I catch myself recreating a database inside a UI, I try to image how the data would have been managed half a decade ago. When paper was still the way to organize information.

In this case, someone would probably have had a big pile of resumes on their desk and gone through them one by one. The resumes of people they found interesting would go to one side of the table. While the uninteresting resumes would go to the other side.

This thought experiment probably inspired swiping on Tinder. And might inspire your next design as well.

Instead of creating a table to solve the resumé problem, I would probably create a page in which people can scroll trough all resumés and set interesting applicants aside. A wireframe of this concept could look like this:

Example wireframe

Almost every interface I enjoy using, was made by a designer who thought outside the database. Using paper products as a source of inspiration is a great way to do this.

Thanks for reading! Have any questions, feedback, or ideas to share? Feel free to send me an email at vic@vic-luijkx.nl 🙂.