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> AirPlans menu system is standard Windows (File Edit View Tools etc.)
I didnt say specifically that the MENU system was non-standard (after
investigation I discovered it is non-standard), I said that the USER
INTERFACE as a WHOLE was neither standard NOR and improvement
(implement for task specific roles). The Menu System has design faults
even though that was NOT the FOCUS of my comment
Expecting MENU structure to equate with "Good UI design" would be extremely
naive of your programmers and designers.
Right clicking the map briefly HIDES the map (flashes the screen) and text
"updating the map" appears then the map center JUMPS to some (arbitrary)
Any specifics that I give you will seem like "picking" but the truth is that
EVERYWHERE I investigated it was merely a matter of trying ALMOST
anything to find something that did not work correctly, helpfully, or as
would be expected by either a beginner or a sophisticated user.
The following issues were just the first twenty minutes or so.
When an experience Windows User and Designer -- I identified myself
as such when writing to you -- describes your user interface as confusing
and non-standard, you might consider figuring out "what is wrong with it"
rather than trying to make it a "user responsibility": Read the manual.
Poor UI design is NOT overcome even by the BEST documentation.
Many times EXCELLENT UI design overcomes the need for MUCH of
As to the Manual or Help SPECIFICALLY:
After Install of the Demo the HELP file (PDF, not integrated Win32 or .CHM
help) URL PATH (local file) is INCORRECT, there is an Extraneous character
in the URL so it fails to bring up help.
Help "Get Help by Email" brings up an INVALID web page BEFORE bringing
up the EMAIL window. There is NO REASON to bring up a Web Page AT
ALL (I just checked my machine with a correctly coded URL -- the one your
dialog CLAIMS to be using) -- just bring up the mail with the MAILTO: URL
Examples of obvious errors in the UI design:
Initial SPLASH screen is SYSTEM MODAL so that NO OTHER program
can be used until the (sometimes lengthy) startup of FlightPlan completes.
(Bad cooperation with multi-tasking.)
Edit boxes that do NOT edit (right side lat/lon, flight plan Tail number)
Combo edit boxes that edit to INVALID arguements (should be drop
downs with no edit.)
After starting a Plan, coordinates (those edits than cannot be edited)
do NOT correspond to the MAP CENTER. Clicking on the map, brings
up a (non-standard, unmovable, non-dockable) dialog box that covers
the useful information on the left when it could easily use the UNUSED
space below that information.
Round trips plan CANNOT be created (at least initially) -- error message
is obtuse, but basically means you cannot plan GTU-GTU or initially
add the STOPS along the legs through the DIALOG.
Mislabled buttons -- "Continue" instead of "Ok" when the dialog is NOT
a wizard or instead of "Finish" when it is.
General failure to set "default" button behavior -- enter should USUALLY
mena "Ok", "Finish",ect...
In the "About" Dialog pressing enter, EDITS your warning and copyright
notice rather than selecting "Ok" -- the EDITS remain when the window
is re-opened so your MESSAGE is now incorrect and perhaps has no
Menu system issues:
View items are really WINDOW items (not options to the view)
"Edit"s disabled: Tail numbers, Airports, Performance profiles (if this is
a DEMO issue it should be MADE CLEAR -- otherwise we must assume
it is non-functional in the full version.)
Log MENU entry, does NOT display a menu but brings up a DIALOG without
warning or request by the user. (Definitely non-standard)
"Show\Charts\Sectionals" does NOT, even though the menu CHANGES to
indicated it did/is showing the sectional chart.
Functions available through the "Toolbar" are NOT available through
the menu system. Presumable not through the KEYBOARD either
Logbook-- no method (button) for saving changes...closing the dialog (except
for the [x] in the window which should typically LOSE or DISCARD changes.
No add for a pilot name even though it allows editing the pilot NAME.
Hitting Totals, brings up some (very non-standard) substitue for a "Tabbed
dialog" box....no way to REMOVE of HIDE that box.
Tapping on the MAIN window, dismissed, re-painted several times, and
seems to have disposed of all my work on the LOG and on the UNDERLYING
plan -- it definitely repositioned the SCREEN.
Selecting the "Measuring tool", one would expect a "left click drag" to
measure between points -- it doesnt, but now RIGHT CLICK does the
flashing screen bit instead of the "airport information" it previously
It is NOW displaying "distance" from somewhere (unknown) to somewhere
(I presume). Now the "Left Click" HAS started working (with no other
Once the "Home Airport" is entered a NEW UNRELATED feature appears
on the left -- this should be a VIEW option or a TOOLS "Options" or
The above behavior violates the MOST IMPORTANT GUI design rule
pair: HIGH PREDICTABILITY with "LOW SURPRISE" -- the user
should feel FREE to try things and explore the program with little or no
fear that work or data will be lost or destroyed while DISCOVERING
how the program works -- context sensitive help can go along way to
aiding this but is NOT required if the UI is CONSISTENT and RELIABLE.
Give me a break, I could just keep typing like this (for hours probably)....
The above was in a PURE STREAM of typing without need to pause or
"look for" problems. EVERYTHING I tried was repleat with confusing
dialogs or UI elements.
Ok, there is a $500 worth of FREE CONSULTING...should you choose
to USE it instead of arguing with the results.
> AirPlans menu system is standard Windows (File Edit View Tools etc.)
> I dont know what aspects of the user interface you consider to be
> non-standard, but I dont think you took enough time to learn the
> program. The map is the key to AirPlan, and simply clicking on the
> Map Hint button will tell you how to use the shortcut functions.
> As for explaining what is disabled, maybe I could provide a bit more
> information. The other option is that you could simply ASK if you
> have a question about a specific feature or want to know what is
> disabled in the demo...
> The demo lets you do everything but edit airplane data and the
> databases or save flight plans to file. It is use-limited and expires
> after 5 uses.
> Destination Direct and AirPlan are the only planners that let you try
> a demo at all!
> My customers find AirPlan to be very easy to use and intuitive, but
> there is a learning curve associated with every software package. I
> designed AirPlan to be quick and easy to use, but you need to learn a
> little bit about it before you can put it to use. It really isnt
> that hard if you try.
> I recently bought RMSs Flitsoft personal edition to see what it was
> like, and I have to say it wasnt very easy to learn. Harder than
> AirPlan in my opinion.
> When you say you mentioned that the user interface was difficult, that
> is only a half-truth. Your email to me essentially lambasted me and
> my product right from the get-go without any hint of civility. You
> didnt even bother to ask any questions or for advice on how to go
> about using it.
> So, if you want to slam my product, fine! Go buy Flitestar from
> Jeppesen at their exhorbitant prices!
> Dean Wilkinson
> Razors Edge Software
> "Herb Martin"
> > I will have to take a look.
> > I wasnt impressed with the PC version of AirPlan -- the demo
> > had NO EXPLANATION of which features were disabled and
> > the user interface was so non-standard that it was difficult to
> > figure out how to do much of anything.
> > Of couse, THIS is pretty much standard for aviation software.
> > Havent seen ANYTHING from Jeppensen or ASA, or anyone
> > else that was well designed and well written, so cheap is good.
> > When I mentioned the difficult user interface, the response was
> > "have you read the manual." A manual might be required to get
> > the FULL BENEFIT from a complex program but even some of
> > the most powerful tools around (Photoshop, Excel, Word, AutoCad)
> > let you do THE BASICS with just the standard interface and maybe
> > hitting help a few times.
> > This is THE POINT of "Windows" software; an EXPERIENCED user
> > should be able to "pick it up and go" for the majority of the BASIC
> > features.
> > Herb Martin
> > (student pilot)
> > "Dean Wilkinson"
> > news:email@example.com...
> > > AirPlanCE 1.0 is now available. AirPlanCE is a companion application
> > > for
> > > the AirPlan flight planning product offered by Razors Edge Software.
> > > AirPlan
> > > is the only PC based flight planning product that has a Windows CE
> > > companion
> > > application available for it. Jeppesens Flitestar, RMSs Flitesoft,
> > > and Destination Direct do not offer Windows CE applications. AirPlan
> > > is also the lowest cost product on the market for its level of
> > > performance, and is 1/2 to 1/6th the price of the other big three
> > > flight planners. The personal version of Flitesoft sells for $125.00
> > > and does not include high or low altitude airways, but AirPlan has
> > > worldwide high and low altitude airways at only $69.00. AirPlan is
> > > also the only planner with built-in moving map support for popular GPS
> > > units and for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
> > >
> > > Visit http://www.razorsedgesoft.com/airplan.htm for more information
> > > on this very capable and very affordable product.
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