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PROJECT OVERVIEW

 

Air Map

Project: Website Design Challenge
Client: AirMap
Role: UX/UI Designer
Team Member: Will Richter
Tools: Sketch, Invision, User Research, Heuristics, Affinity Mapping, Paper Prototypes, Usability Testing, Google Docs

AirMap is a software that provides everything you need to coordinate and scale drone operations in ever-changing airspace conditions. I was challenged to improve their “Airspace Creation” feature on their Airspace Authority Product.

 
 
 

Case Challenges

Case 1: An airspace authority (perhaps an air traffic controller) needs to schedule a temporary restriction because of a parade on April 1st, in the afternoon.

Case 2: An airspace authority is supporting the police during an emergency situation and needs to immediately create a restriction around a specific area until the police situation clears.

The Solution

Streamline the Airspace Creation feature with a focus on efficiency and communication. Create an intuitive and seamless experience aimed at securing airspaces in an expedient and professional manner.

 

RESEARCH

 

Interviews

Who better to interview for a drone airspace management application than an Air Traffic Controller turned drone pilot who worked in the field for over 30 years. My source Kevin Cimarusti was the person that gave control instructions to the Shuttle Endeavor when it landed at LAX. From Kevin I gathered important insights on the culture of the industry and what the wants and needs of an Air Traffic Controller and drone pilot are in order to design an application that works best for him.

 
 
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Our day to day was mostly boredom interspersed with moments of sheer panic.
— Kevin
We’re always looking for better ways to see stuff and hear stuff.
— Kevin
 
 
 

 

Heuristics

By doing a Heuristics evaluation I identified areas for improvement on the current Airspace Creation feature.

  • Unnecessary form functions

  • Low visibility navigation

  • Communication issues

 

Synthesis

 
 

Affinity Mapping

With the information gathered from my interview, I was able to categorize trends and identify Kevin’s wants and needs.

Wants and Needs

  • Better visibility

  • Good communication

  • Safety and efficiency

 
 
 

Feature Prioritization

With the data I collected, I created a chart measuring the importance of features to user vs. time to design. This helped me to narrow down the features to the Minimum Viable Product that would allow the case challenges to be completed.

With the MVP targeted, I now had the groundwork for building a testable prototype.

 

 IDEATION

Paper Prototype

With Kevins’s needs as a blueprint and insights gained from the heuristic research, I designed paper prototypes of the updated Airspace Creation function of Airmap.

 
 
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Testing

  • I conducted usability tests with multiple participants to validate the design updates and look for any additional pain points.

  • The prototype build had a more streamlined task flow removing redundant steps and adding a messaging function with aims to make communication more immediate.


 
 
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 Insights

  • The messaging function that I built was bulky limiting the visibility of the map.

  • I did not leave a way for users to save a draft of the airspace they were creating in case they wanted to finish it later.

Solutions

  • Make the messaging function and all other screen modules collapsible allowing users access to data functions but still emphasizing map visibility.

  • Add a save as draft button to the final step of the Airspace Creation feature.

With these solutions in mind, I was ready to design high fidelity prototypes.

 
 

 

PROTOTYPE 

 
 
 

High Fidelity

Welcome to the new Airspace Creation feature of your Airspace Authority product, updates include.

  • Collapsible modules for every function to increase visibility of the airspace.

  • Tabbed airspace and authorization management systems, giving the ability to easily manage airspaces and pending authorization requests.

  • Templated responses to pilots and admins entering and monitoring the airspace. Both with copy directing them to join the new direct messaging function on the site.

  • Pre-approved transponder (Squawk Codes) so that specialized aircraft (i.e. police drones) will have exclusive access to the airspace.

Metrics

During usability testing, one of the key metrics that showed improvement was a drastic reduction in time spent creating a new airspace.

 
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With the original Airspace Creation feature I was given, during usability testing it took one user over eight minutes to complete the first case challenge.

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With the redesign of the Airspace Creation feature it took the same user under two minutes to complete the same challenge.

 
 

Clickable Prototype

(Click here for a link to the interactive prototype)

 

Video Walkthrough

(click below to watch video)

 
 
 
 
 

Next Steps

 
  • During the scope of the project, access to information on drone transponder technology was limited. I would like to further explore this technology to see how I could best integrate this into the AirMap ecosystem.

  • Kevin said he could put me in touch with a source that negotiates access to LAX airspace with outside parties i.e. the movie industry. I would like to contact them for a user interview.

  • I would like to explore offering alternate routes for drone users who are being restricted from the entering the airspace.