Crowdsourcing UI Solutions for an Intuitive FAA App
Federal Aviation Association (FAA)
FAA Air Traffic Manager (ATM) UI Design Enhancements
The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) required an enhanced LAANC interface to improve the usability and functionality of a tool used by Air Traffic Managers across the country. LAANC stands for the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, a collaboration between FAA and Industry.
It directly supports UAS integration into the airspace. Ensemble, in partnership with Topcoder, delivered a series of design and build prize challenges, resulting in the development of an enhanced, intuitive LAANC prototype interface, incorporating all defined functional, interactive, and interface requirements.
The project leveraged Topcoder’s +1.5MM community of software and design talent to crowdsource an enhanced interface and functional prototype designed for air traffic managers responsible for implementing authorization processes specific to small unmanned aircraft systems seeking flight near select airports.
The FAA ATM UI Enhancements Project was divided up into three major phases; a design phase followed by a build phase, and a quality assurance / testing phase. The project strategy involved deconstructing all product requirements into discrete functional tasks or features. These discrete design and development tasks shaped a total of 10 prize challenge competitions. In the design phase, the Topcoder community developed UI design concepts and documentation for the UI enhancements. The build phase focused on software engineering efforts to develop the enhanced screens into a functional prototype leveraging technologies such as: AngularJS, TypeScript, Google Maps API, TailWind CSS, and Prettier, an opinionated code formatter. After the functional prototype was developed, Ensemble implemented User Acceptance Tests (UAT) and Performance Tests capturing metrics such as page load time, time to task completion, and task completion success rates.
By implementing a multi-challenge design, development, testing approach, Ensemble ensured that the FAA received a solution that:
● Delivers the integrated UAS operations with appropriate performance standards and access requirements
● Provides equitable access to airspace and reduces barriers to access
● Ensures compliance with critical ATC technical and safety requirements
● Fosters a competitive environment for UAS Service Suppliers
● Delivers UI enhancements such as:
The page load and refresh time is reduced
Improved user experience for the LAANC ATM UI through preset views, ability to resize windows, color customization etc.
Incorporation of additional base map layers such as satellite maps.
In total, the program implemented 10 Prize Challenges including:
(1) UX/UI Redesign Challenge
(2) UI Angular Prototyping Challenges
(3) UI Angular – Data Integration Challenges
(4) Final Fix Challenges.
Key Features deployed included:
Refined Approval, Denial, and Rescind Flows
Authorization Request Smart Filtering and Sorting
Map and Control Panel User Preference Customizations
Grid Tile-level ‘Zoom to’ functionality
Enhanced Print Views
The crowdsourcing project drove participation from UX/UI and Software Development talent across the world, including India, Indonesia, China, USA, and Thailand. Across all challenges, 258 members registered, 41 final submissions were received, and $16,400 in cash prizes were awarded to 8 unique Challenge Winners.
Project Deliverables included:
Five UI Mock-Up PDFs (artifacts of UI Redesign Challenge)
Angular JS LAANC Prototype Codebase
Interactive Prototype: https://faa-laanc.web.app/home
Technology Stack Documentation
Installation / Transition-In Guidance Document
NASA NOIS2 IDIQ Task Order Contract Reporting