WRITTEN BY ON December 5, 2019.
And here’s what our COO/Co-founder Stefan Oberender has to say about it…
– in technology, this is truer than in any other domain. New tools and technologies are being created so quickly that sometimes it is hard to keep up.
If you do, you get rewarded by maintaining your speed at an incredibly high level. Your products must remain future-proof and adaptable. Not least you are surrounded by happy engineers in the office, as working on cutting edge tech is always more exciting than dusting off the old stuff.
If you don’t – you drown. The older you allow your programming language, frameworks, libraries, methods, design, etc. to get, the more difficult and unlikely it is that you will ever update any of them. In software, that’s called legacy, and if you work in aviation, you’re for sure no stranger to legacy.
At FL3XX we are very good at swimming. Michael Phelps kind of good! Not only are we adding new features every week, but we also have a keen eye on improving and renewing all the great stuff we’ve already built over the years and the technologies we use. Instead of waiting for the inevitable onset of aging and wrinkles forming, we invest a lot in being proactive about it.
With our latest update, this investment comes in a very visible facelift of our web application. Our frontend wizards have been working hard to make your lives even more comfortable! They’ve come up with a beautifully clean and consistent new User Interface across the entire app.
And with beautiful we don’t talk aesthetics – tastes differ. For us, “beautiful” means to provide you with the best User Experience (UX) possible to guide you visually through the app. To highlight essential and urgent pieces of information, while keeping less relevant items in less prominent places – available when you need them.
And to make sure you get your work done quickly by putting elements where you expect them.
Of course, it can’t hurt to have a design that is as visually pleasing as well.
Without a doubt, FL3XX is the aviation software with the least amount of user-training needed. And we are very proud of it. A big part of that is rooted in the intuitive User Interface (UI) that does a great job in explaining the context to the user.
It is a delicate balance – and the key challenge in building any software – to get the information density in a User Interface right. Too little, and you end up with a generic design with white-space in abundance, clicking through lists and panels to get to the information you need. A lousy design might even look clean and polished – but that’s not what you want in a professional tool where every click counts if it is repeated 1000s of times every day. It’s simply a waste of precious time.
Too much density, on the other hand, and you overload the user.
If you get it right, the user will have this great sense of being in charge at all times. Like the cockpit instruments of your pilots where every pixel, every shade of color has a meaning and increases the situational awareness of the pilot – consciously or subconsciously. That’s what we aim for in FL3XX.
Our primary focus is always simplicity. When building new features (our favorite pastime at FL3XX), sometimes, consistency has to take a back seat, and the UI gets unnecessarily complicated.
This is one aspect of the facelift fixes. We are simplifying pages to the absolute minimum. You will notice that in the details like the lightweight input fields, that make it easier to read the content of the page.
Increasing the consistency throughout all the modules also allows your brain to move much faster across the pages. Going one step further, we’re improving the feedback to the user for actions like saving or uploading files.
Another upgrade is the new navigation bar that we added to Persons, Accounts, Aircraft, …. As these pages have grown over the years, we want to give you a faster way to navigate them. With a concurrent update to the latest version of the tech we use, we also bumped up the software speed a notch.
And because we are geeks – and we love Apple’s dark mode – we threw in the mix our own FL3XX Dark Mode. It will definitely come in handy when you’re the last one sitting in a dark office at night, churning out quotes, or following flights. Your eyes will be very thankful for not having to stare at a glaringly bright screen.
While the redesign part is pretty much done, we will keep on doubling down on the User Experience (UX). The new design is an excellent starting point to lift the UX across the entire application to the next level over the upcoming weeks. We are keeping what works while eliminating some rough edges.
So in the best FL3XX manner, we are looking forward to your feedback! What do you like about the new design? What can we still improve? Where did we miss the mark – where did we overshoot? Remember: building a tool like FL3XX is always work in progress. While we strive for 100%, we are mere mortals relying on any support we can get!
What do you think is the next step in FL3XX software development? I would love to hear from you, so we can continue to build the best aviation management software possible!
Stefan Oberender is an entrepreneur, pilot, and co-founder of FL3XX; Aviation Management Software. Since launching in 2010, he has been building a comprehensive suite of aviation management functionality that equips the small to mega-size enterprise with everything needed to build effective and efficient operations.
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