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Mobile App Design Drifter Aircraft Pilot Logbook and Preflight Check

Post Course continuation

15/11/2019 - Having completed a mockup of what I want to develop, I exported my artboards for iOS and then for Design... For the actual development of the app I might be able to place them, however the navigation bar and footer bar will be made up of components rather than a single image with hotspots.

My first step is to take the first couple of art boards and import them into livecode.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - this is my dotted line... further reflections will continue here down to the next callout... stay tuned...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -This is the end... Because I have reverse ordered my reflections with the latest sections at the top, I need to place a boundary so readers know where the "fresh" stuff will be..

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Reflection Two

This is the link to my XD Stack... my mobile prototype...There are two buttons below, the top one is "version 2" and one below it was where I got to after week one...BTW there is a very snappy little video at the end of this part two reflection...

Real Flying and Reference Content Links

For reference, here are the original POH (Pilot Operating Handbooks) for the XP wire-braced drifter and the Strut Braced Drifter which is what I have and what is featured in the mobile app. Every pilot should carry the POH in their aircraft and of course be intimately familiar with the contents. The checks are contained within those those two PDFs and the app is intended to overcome the habit of never reading the friendly manual....

Technical Stuff to do with app prototyping

So much to write...draggable scroll items I didn't do well in my first prototype and are addressed in the second prototype where the images relating to the specific check area of the aeroplane appear.

Creating scrollable artboards and my own little challenge when dealing with a fixed footer...

My design change is that you can scroll up a check related picture and if you tap on the picture, it will read you the check point/s relevant to that photo...

What I have not worked out yet is that if I mistakenly set the size of a placeholder to be too small, create the repeating grid, I end up in all sorts of problems trying to make the graphic and its container scale up or down so that all repeated objects in the repeating grid also scale up or down.

Toggle Buttons and component states...

One other item which was challenging before the latest release of XD was creating toggle options which are now incorporated into component states. This is elegantly explained in the video below.

My idea was to include items like checkboxes and toggle switches in case a compliance sign off was required... ie if you had to "tick the box" that you had completed a fuel drain. Too many check boxes will not work (folks won't check/tick them) But a summary check box for each area of the aircraft - cockpit, wings etc isn't too onerous. I hid that beneath the scrolling images so it only comes into view after the last item is scrolled up.

So what I did was download the tractiv kit as per the demo above and created a multiple state toggle which if toggled on stated that the preflight was complete. Typically we would have some flags on the various pages with the parts of the plane so that when each part of the plane was checked, the flag would be raised and if all flags were raised then the check was complete...

Voice activation

So with multiple triggers attachable to any single item, I was able to add both the tap and voice command to icons which kept things neater. A surprise bonus for the speech activation when you tapped on a photograph in one of the sections to inspect is that if you tapped on the next picture, the audio stops for the one that was playing and starts playing the new one (not forcing you to listen to the entire speech bit attached to a picture.

I haven't listened to all text to speech items yet as there are more than thirty and about 15 voice triggers which also respond to tap.

Project Conclusion

I had a fairly specific goal which was self set and not part of a work or study requirement from another location so I was able to set the scope of my work. The fact that the prototyping was very useful and will genuinely input into my LiveCode development means that the tool itself is fast, useful and fun to use. The course duration and challenge was just right because I have seen from others have done, they have contextualised the project to their own direction and passion.

Some finishing randomness...

In preparing some unrelated training material for website development, I came across this good blog post on UX which offers a free email course at the end.

The Design Sprint is a five-day process for solving problems and testing new ideas... It seems to go hand in glove with using XD to prototype... The following image is from their process model. I see XD being integral to steps 2-5.

credit - The Sprint Book

Just in case you needed incentive as to why a preflight inspection of an aircraft is important... take a look at where I fly...

Reflection One

What's this got to do with Mobile App Design? A lot... Recreational Aircraft like the one I fly still need to maintain log books of hours flown by the pilot and the engine and airframe hours for maintenance purposes. We all carry our phones with us, but not necessarily our logbooks. It makes sense to have a simple app which will capture the basic flight information requirements for a recreational aircraft (called microlights and ultralights in some countries).

We do need to conduct a preflight check of our aircraft every day we fly it and we also need to record our flight hours. For the purpose of voice commands I thought it more useful to create a tool which assists in the conduct of a preflight inspection rather than recording flight hours and engine time.

We don't need the amount of information professional log book apps have which could record the details for a Boeing 747... So my challenge is...

To design a user interface for a voice driven pre-flight inspection of a Drifter aircraft app using XD with the intention of taking that prototype and coding it into a real iOS app using a language called LiveCode. I really want to use XD for prototyping and sharing prototypes - because it is easier to do so in a geographically distributed environment.

I also thought that in order to make this more real, I would engage with our FaceBook group and some members of our Top End Flying Club in the Northern Territory Australia to get their input on the design process. Although I don't think folks attending this course will join the "Drifter Appreciation Society" FaceBook page - (these aircraft are called Drifters) - I will share back any feedback.

So that's part of the back story... covering the what, why, when, how and who... now for the "do"

Day 1 - 29 October 2019 - Journal Established and XD prototype started.

This video covers the preflight inspection of a drifter and I will be adapting this work to a voice driven app (although a simpler version to start with.)

For assignment one I have added voice to the preflight section and voice explanations of the nose section of the aircraft.

Robin asked about the two white circles... on the home screen - thanks for that... They are place holders for a touch version of the app. I am still torn as to whether I go with a more traditional icon based footer or use more screen real estate...

Created By
Mark Christie
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