The weather channel
Engaged by The Weather Channel (TWC) team in 2013, I embarked on a journey as a contract UI lead & Art Director - overseeing the innovative overhaul of their flagship weather app. My team and I ventured into seven months of UX and UI exploration to create an app built on in-depth understanding of a vast user base of needs and preferences. The new app was to be a timeline-based interface enriched with location-specific imagery and a cutting-edge user experience. This would be a dramatic upgrade, breaking away from TWC's antiquated previous experience.
This was the challenge: Redefine an app deeply entrenched in antiquated design principles, while catering to a vast user base with diverse expectations, and marry all of this with the requirements of internal stakeholders. The primary challenge was to intuitively integrate TWC's signature color and styles without marring content visibility, along with deciding the sequence of content modules and seamlessly including in-line advertisements (without them looking crammed in and non-contextual). Simultaneously, we aimed to construct a timeline-based UI that matched user preferences discovered through our preliminary research. A traditional approach wouldn't suffice; we needed a strategy that would interweave a user-centric ethos with TWC's brand identity, ultimately creating an experience that not only informed but also engaged its audience.
Our solution emerged from an iterative design process, informed by continuous user feedback and validated assumptions. We leveraged high-contrast iconography against TWC's dark blue background, ensuring optimal visibility while addressing accessibility concerns. Content sequence was determined through a blend of user feedback and established weather app patterns, allowing us to arrange modules in a way that was informed by users. Advertising was another puzzle we creatively solved by integrating sponsor imagery into the timeline UI, making it feel less intrusive and more organic. The timeline feed being the cornerstone in our redesign, ultimately contributed to the dramatic upgrade of the experience.
In addition to standard competitive analysis and web-based customer surveys, I worked with colleagues in leading 1:1, face-to-face interviews. The goal in these sessions was twofold: Understanding general user behaviors in weather apps, as well as identifying their pain points - with the hope of translating those findings into goals for a new and improved app.
Research findings were eye-opening and challenged our assumptions in some ways while confirming them in other ways. We extrapolated some valuable insights, namely: Users wanted a scrolling vertical timeline.
The Weather Channel tended to lean toward a conservative, utilitarian design approach. I brought along a vision to push beyond these boundaries, but with a clear mandate – any innovation had to be rooted in what our users wanted.
As we dared to venture outside our comfort zone, the reward came in 2014 with the launch of a revamped, cutting-edge app. The feedback was resoundingly positive, delighting both dedicated weather app enthusiasts and the broader user base who loved the fresh, new feel.
Knowing that countless people rely on the product of our work for their daily weather forecasts is a heartening testament to the power of user-focused design. It's a great reminder of the kind of impact we can make when we truly listen to our users..
Launched → 1 Completely redesigned native app and deployed it to the App Store
• Best App of the Year by Appy Awards (2014)
• Editors' Choice by Apple (2014)
• 10 Best Apps of the Year by PCMag (2014)
• Top 10 Apps of the Year by Wired (2014)
jack in the box