Stephen Ellis is user experience and interface manager at flight operations software company Schedaero, where he leads a development team dedicated to making the system intuitive in every possible way
What sparked your interest in aviation?
I caught the travel bug early. My father was in the military, so we spent a lot of time traveling and living abroad. I've always loved the experience of going to the airport and the anticipation it builds around exploring new places. Aviation is a shortcut to discovering new countries, people and cultures – I find that an exciting space in which to work, and it means I get to engage with folks from all over the world.
What are the highlights?
The big highlights have been getting out to meet people using our software. The relationships you build working in this space are fantastic. People are excited about this industry, and we're excited to bring them a solution that makes their lives easier.
What is Schedaero?
It is a flight operations software solution that enables companies to quote and schedule trips, track maintenance on their aircraft, stay up to date on crew training, expensing, invoicing and more. Part of the Avinode group of digital charter market platforms, Schedaero is a flexible tool that makes managing day-to-day operations as seamless, efficient and enjoyable as possible, so charter companies can spend more time focused on their clients. It's the most scalable flight scheduling software on the market, making it ideal for larger Part 135 operators. In addition to Schedaero.com, we've developed several application programming interfaces so operators can get their data out of Schedaero to integrate with other systems – creating their own custom ecosystem.
How is this type of software evolving?
Like all software, changes happen every day. We're always trying to improve our system performance, so users spend less time waiting on page loads and more time solving the complex problems that arise around charter operations.
We're committed to ensuring our products remain intuitive to use, so customers can jump straight into making the most of every feature. This means reading up on the latest cloud storage technology, testing and updating our features, and researching new tools to make the process smarter. Plus, as we develop our use of artificial intelligence, we will be able to better foresee users' needs before they arise.
What are your responsibilities?
From our developer centre in Portland, Oregon, I oversee the usability of Schedaero, making sure it's easy to use and looks and feels right. In addition to helping shape Schedaero, I oversee the team of researchers and designers working on the digital charter market platform of our sister company, Avinode marketplace.
Across the Avinode group, our priority is engaging with our users and incorporating their feedback into our design and decision-making processes. A lot of my time is spent testing out early sketches or prototypes of features prior to development, in order to build the right solution for our users' needs.
What is your biggest challenge?
Time. There are so many amazing ideas we have kicking around the office, but it takes time to build and design them well. However, it means we get better, more stable solutions as a result, and can be more strategic about the features we develop.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The best part of my job is the team of people I get to work with and the excitement and innovation they bring to the product development process. It's a rare pleasure to work with people as engaged and invested as the Schedaero team. Additionally, our members are an amazing group of people. Aviation is such a close-knit community and it really is a joy to have such a connected and enthusiastic user base.
What do you enjoy the least?
Aviation is 24/7 and a truly global industry. Even within our company we have three different offices spanning a 9h time difference. Trying to stay in sync across that wide a span can be challenging at times. Although, getting a few trips to beautiful Sweden each year certainly helps to offset that!
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