Lido eRouteManual 4.3 Design Overview
The 4.3 release of Lido eRouteManual brings many changes to the visual look and feel and basic workflow of the application. This blog post will give you inside information on the design considerations of the release.
The primary goal of Lido eRouteManual 4.3 was to deliver a more modern application without adding additional functionality and maintaining backward compatibility with legacy input methods. Preparation for the design concept included usability testing with our customers, review of design proposals from Microsoft usability experts, and customer feedback. Mockups were then created and refined with the development team.
The overall goal of delivering a modern application was broken down to the following subgoals:
- Simplification of the user interface
- Organization of functions into categories
- Removal of excessive buttons
- Focus on the content
- Application of the Lido Navigation UI Guidelines colors, fonts, and icons
- Introduce a non-linear workflow
- Shift towards modern tablets as the target platform
- Maintain keyboard only navigation
The following improvements contribute to the overall simplification of the application without removing functionality.
Organization of functions into categories
Search features and layer features are now grouped into categories, placed in a consistent location for terminal charts, enroute map, airport moving map, and documents.
Removal of excessive buttons
The default launch screen of Lido eRouteManual before version 4.3 contained 64 buttons, causing visual and cognitive overload. Version 4.3 presents the pilot with the enroute map world overview and all of the functionality from the previous application in the navigation bar. The permanently visible data status indicator allows the pilot to confirm that they have up-to-date information without having to interpret dates manually. By tapping/clicking on the data status indicator the pilot can get the full data status indication.
Focus on the content
By removing the setup screen the pilot is able to focus on the primary use case of the application, viewing charts and maps.
Application of the Lido Navigation UI Guidelines colors, fonts, and icons
The Lido Navigation UI color scheme provides a flat user interface, replacing the skeuomorphic gradients used in the previous application's buttons and menus.
Removing the box around buttons, while keeping the same touch target size, provides a clean and light feel.
Arial was replaced with Roboto, Google's open source font optimized for high resolution displays and general readability. Consistent font sizes, weights, and opacity are used for headings, body text, primary information and secondary information.
The Material Design icon set was applied throughout the application giving users a sense of familiarity. The top toolbar now contains only icon buttons, while the navigation bar contains icons supplemented with text, replacing the mixture of the previous application.
Using Roboto, Material Design icons, and the corporate color scheme across the product line improves consistency and brand recognition.
Pilots can now freely navigate between modules even if they are deep within another task. The navigation bar is always in view, regardless of what is shown on screen. If a pilot is selecting charts for one airport they can immediately switch to the enroute map, or the terminal charts of another airport.
All airports for a flight are available from the navigation bar at any point in time. Adding a new alternate is as simple as tapping the ALTN button. The pilot is in full control without having to spend time backing out of one screen to drill down into another.
User guide button
According to EASA recommendations the user guide has to be easily accessible from anywhere in the application. The user guide button now stays in the same location in the UI throughout the application.
Airport color coding
Airport color coding introduced in Lido mPilot has been brought over to Lido eRouteManual. SID green, STAR orange, and AFC magenta are now used in the enroute map and navigation bar to indicate departure, destination, and alternates respectively.
Usability testing revealed that pilots generally select between 7 and 10 charts per airport, even at the largest airports with many terminal charts. Based on this each airport has only one clipboard containing all chart types opposed to the 5 clipboards per airport of the previous application.
Chart color coding
Our chart color codes have been brought over to the electric world, making it easier for pilots to recognize the chart they are looking for in the clipboard. The visual style is the same as the header used in the top toolbar, and in the All Chart selection window filters.
Unified chart selection
Charts are now selected from a single user interface list. Through usability testing and customer feedback it was discovered that users wanted to be able to select charts from the full list for an airport. This functionality was actually available in previous releases, but it was the last option in the UI and pilots simply didn't find it. The "All Charts" list has become the one and only method for chart selection, now with additional features.
Previously missing was the runway filter in this view, which has been added to the top of the filter list. Pilots no longer have to select the departure runway multiple times for the same airport during chart selection. The number of clicks/taps required to select the charts for a departure airport was reduced from approximately 22 to 15.
Optional removal of legacy keyboard focus
Since the application is now being optimized for touch interfaces focus borders are now a configurable option. By default the focus border is disabled, providing the user with a faster/lighter feel of the application.
Removal of the enlarged view
The enlarged view has been removed from the application for simplification. Since modern tablets are the target platform there is no need for additional screen real estate on high resolution, high aspect ratio displays.
All sharing features are now grouped into a single menu using standard terminology.
Many features have been renamed to more accurately describe their function.
- SIG → PLOT POLYGON
- Plan Mode and North Up → Target icon
- Sync mode → MIRROR
- Alter. Proj. → Globe icon
- Labeled departure, destination, and alternate airports.
- Simplification of some popup messages
- GEN RM → General Part
- High → HIGH ENROUTE
- Low → LOW ENROUTE
- Enroute IOI → CHART NOTAM
- Route → EDIT ROUTE
- FIND → SEARCH
Day / night mode
The day and night modes are now easily accessible from the top toolbar, as opposed to being buried in the clipboard.
Lido eRouteManual 4.3 has undergone extensive usability test review with airline pilots. Based on pilot feedback we are already designing improvements for the next release. Stay tuned to this blog for future updates.