NASA iGCAS Interface

With acquired usability testing results, our team improved the audio and visual design to assess the overall consistency and accessibility of the iGCAS as a warning system for general aviation pilots.
Frequence Logo
Lead UX designer responsible for research, conceptualization, design, and delivery of key modules and feature improvements.
Mark Skoog: NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center contact
Joe Bautista: ARCS Co-Investigator
Kayla Mesina: ARCS Fellow
Ashley Santiago: ARCS Fellow
September 2019 - January 2020
Figma, Adobe XD, Miro
Three phones blurred in the background of the ARCS, Armstrong flight research center, and NASA logos

Project Overview

Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) is a leading cause of fatalities in aviation. The Improved Ground Collision Avoidance System (iGCAS) was created as an Android solution warning app to help reduce CFIT for general aviation aircraft. During my fellowship with ARCS x NASA, we designed an experience that could help prevent CFIT through UI and audio improvements of the iGCAS’s warning and terrain awareness systems.


The NASA iGCAS team conducted an onsite usability study with 24 general aviation pilots in July 2015. Some of the pilots that tested the simulated experience had a slow reaction time when reaching terrain due to feeling overwhelmed by the app’s visuals and sounds. Our Fellowship team acquired those usability results and was given the opportunity to improve the system’s experience further. How might we improve the warning system experience of the iGCAS for general aviators so that their interactions are consistent and accessible to prevent CFIT?


After months of researching and designing, our team pitched the next iteration of the iGCAS. By tweaking color contrasts to be WCAG compliant, creating visual hierarchy, and remodeling sounds and haptics to alerts, our aviation pilots will have an easier experience being alerted through the system. The next steps in this process would be to translate the updated UI designs and interactions into code and perform the next round of usability test simulations with general aviation pilots.