The main idea behind this personal project was to design an iOS Weather app that integrates social sharing and a high level of personalization. However somewhere during the design phase, we all welcomed iOS 7 which ultimately had me restart the project all over again. Nevertheless I enjoyed every bit of it. I specifically chose a weather app since it gave me an opportunity to play around and experiment with combinations of a limited data set.
For this project I read several blog post detailing all the major overhauls iOS 7. Apart from that I also looked into the developer guide released by Apple for iOS 7. I used a bunch of techniques like Content audits Competitor analysisHeuristics Analysis Mental models Workflow diagrams The content audits along with competitor and heuristic analysis allowed me to understand what current weather apps offered, what are their shortcomings and where there is scope of improvement.
My major findings were: The abundance of highly detailed data that users found irrelevant. Lack of personalization at any level. Redundant and unbalanced data that increased scrolling and paging. Lack of visual presentation for quick reading and understanding.
The first step involved grouping data that held more relevance together. For example current temperature along with the min-max temperature. Similarly the current time of the day and sun’s position with sunrise and sunset time. The next step involved removing data that was too complicated or unnecessary for the user. For example, in the 12-hour forecast the apps generally display the temperature for the next 12 hours regardless of whether there is any change or no. Hence at times users are left scrolling down several hours with no change in temperature. I focused on removing the redundant data like this and displaying the temperature only at breakpoint i.e. only for the hours it changes. Thereby notifying users about the change in temperature for the next 12-hours.
As for the visual aspect I grouped data in various graphical elements rather than presenting them as simple text. For example the min-max temperature along with the average temperature within a circular ring. Also the change in background color of the app to suggest sunrise and sunset and color coordinated temperatures in the forecast sections. Apart from that also catchy little lines that described the weather add a touch of personalization.
Now coming to the main aspect of this app that sets it apart from the rest, the social interaction. The app offers a brief summary of the current weather that a user can directly post to his social network accounts. But what makes it even more personal and social is the fact that the app connects with your iPhone calendar and Facebook events to check for the venue and time of events and uses it to provide a weather report for that specific event! Now that’s weather personalization!