Transforming Web-based software to a modern interface


Enflight was a heavily used but aging preflight online application for pilots. They needed a mobile version, so a friend brought me in to help with the UI/UX. My work in video game design was applied to this project which is exactly what it needs. In addition, my background as a pilot came in handy during the overall design and in-air testing.

The main screen is the aviation map using FAA provided data and updated via frequent downloads. A heads-up display at the top indicated GPS signal, altitude, airspeed, heading, course, destination, estimated time en route and speed. Touching the screen created a “rubber band” route to your location using landmarks, radio beacons, etc. Tapping on any segment allowed for detours and easy changes.
Enflight Mobile was gesture based. Swiping down brought weather maps to full screen, side-to-side swiping brought up high altitude navigation maps, and swiping up from the bottom gave access to a slew of information such as Terminal Maps for destination and so on.
A long hold with your finger anywhere on the map brings up the rosette wheel giving quick functionality to whatever the pilot wants. Each “petal” was customizable. I also came up with the concept of the accelerometer in the phone or tablet detecting turbulence thresholds in the cockpit and based on that the size of the icons could increase 2x-3x to make them easier to hit. I also used a larger invisible “touch area” surrounding the icons for better success.
The TAF spiral was an innovative approach to displaying weather en route over 24 hours. We could display them over one or more airfields in real time.

The sidebar ribbon on the right could be hidden from view when the user desired a full screen map. The ribbon contained guides to every airport, flight logs, servicing logs, flight plan info, additional charts, weather data and whatever documents the user wants to add. I rendered the icons in a 3D style. I choose a “sky blue” palette for many of the backgrounds in the app.

Overlaying real time weather was an option with a weather data radio in the cockpit.

A look at the early icons when I was testing various color themes and backgrounds.
Our wishlist of functions and features. Dream big and see what works.