Welcome back to another blog post. It has been a few weeks since the last post, so let’s get caught up. We don’t have any newly completed features to show. However, we do have some points to consider when creating a balance between functionality and ease of use in TFM’s user interface.
More features aren’t always better.
For the past few weeks, we have been working on the SimBrief flight plan features. Several areas of the flight plan have lists of things like airports, aircraft settings, waypoints, etc. One could say that it is better to build a nice looking user interface which has all of the bells and whistles. On the other hand, a balance between user interface and ease of use is in order. Creating a highly complex user interface to allow column reordering, hiding and showing different columns, and allowing these settings to persist across restarts is good to have. It means the user can customize as much of the user interface as they wish. However, we don’t want to create busy work for the user, forcing them to lose the whole point of TFM or the SimBrief flight plan features. So, what does this mean for TFM? Read below.
The SimBrief window
The SimBrief window is split into different sections. The window mirrors most other TFM windows with the tree view on the left and the content on the right 2/3rds of the screen. Our focus today is the SimBrief navlog.
The navlog window
The navlog window has a list view that displays the waypoints in the flight plan. The most commonly used columns are present. They are ident, type, name, distance, and altitude. There are around 40 other columns that aren’t included in the list of waypoints. To access them, bring up the context menu for the navlog list, then click on more details… A new window will open. The remaining information will appear in the text field in the more details window. To close the more details window, press ALT+F4. You will also have the ability to hide and show columns that are included in the navlog list. To show or hide them, bring up the navlog’s context menu, navigate to show/hide columns. Open this menu to see the columns and their current state. Click on a column name to show or hide it in the list. The other sections of the SimBrief window will have similar features to help customize the user interface.
The next preview build
The next preview build will come when the SimBrief window is mostly finished. We hope to have it done and released as a preview before Flightsim Expo in June.