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App screens — Before

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App screens — After

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App click through

App click through

AccuWeather

2019

Huge — Product Design

Overview

AccuWeather serves 1.5 billion people weather forecasts through many mediums – native app, websites, weather channels, and more – with its superior accuracy. As competition within the forecasting space intensified with modern UI and UX offering within mobile apps, it was time for AccuWeather to get a facelift that further solidifies its position within the industry and have an app that reflects its value.

Our high level problem statement is, how do we redefine how users accurately tap into the forecast?

Role

  • Conducted user research, testing, and analysis with internal UXR team that identified user behavior, feature needs, and app baseline expectations that drove user expectation alignment conversations
  • Collaborated with clients through co-leading workshop and discovery sessions that aligned direction, goals, and intentions
  • Designed key experiences, information architecture, and UI within the native app that defined the overall experience and interaction
  • Ensured brand consistency and product quality that achieves high standards for usability and accessibility
  • Pushed advertising spots throughout the application that allows for monetization without disrupting the user’s experience

Focus Areas

Navigation

Information architecture and user flows

Near Future Look Ahead

Patented MinuteCast experience

All Look Ahead

Hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly forecast

Weather Watch

Radars and alerts

Conditional Backgrounds

Designing experience to work across all weather backgrounds

Devices

Build for iOS and Android mobile and tablet devices

Research Insights

We learned a few things through moderated user interviews that gave insights that validated user need

1. Speed and ease of reading are important

Users are constantly looking to make quick decisions about their day, like what to wear and when to leave from work.

How were learnings applied? We redesigned the home screen with intentional hierarchy and information to clearly display current temperature and a look ahead to plan their next few hours

2. We all look for the same weather information

Users primarily look for weather forecast and temperature data in their typical day-to-day, regardless of what climate they live in. At this time, location doesn’t appear to have a significant effect on how users interact with a given weather app.

How were learnings applied? We minimized the real estate needed to display user or weather location by putting it along top navigation where page titles appear

3. Range of data informs initial perceptions

While they don’t actively seek out tangential weather information, like sunrise, moonset, dew point, etc., users prefer to have access to these data and perceive the app as more accurate upon first interaction.

How were learnings applied? While forecast perception is dependent on accuracy, access to information that may confirm this perception is important but secondary to information intake. We created clear hierarchy in formation display to deprioritize secondary information while making it accessible.

4. Lasting evaluations occur retrospectively

In the end, users evaluate an app’s accuracy based on how closely the prediction reflected their real experience of the weather after it happens. There may be creative opportunity for transparency and expectation management to increase user and customer loyalty.

How were learnings applied? We passed the learnings to AccuWeather internal teams to prioritize improving weather accuracy. Through the app, we added local weather channel weather reports that leverage AccuWeather to drive credibility.

User Testing Takeaways

We learned a few things through user testing variations of features and experiences

1. Current AccuWeather users strongly prefer the top navigation

Users that are used to a pattern does not see or feel the need to disrupt the experience they already know.

How were learnings applied? While a majority of users preferred top navigation, it was a conscious decision to move ahead with a bottom navigation with the hypothesis that:

  • Current users preferred top navigation because they are used to it by repeated usage
  • A bottom navigation will allow ease of access to other critical weather forecasting information that users care about
  • A bottom navigation would encourage discovery within the app, which results in higher returned usage, brand recognition, and credibility

2. Existing and new users alike love the MinuteCast

Both existing and prospective users, recalled MinuteCast (a dial that shows rain and snow intensity within the hour) as their favorite feature. In particular, they enjoyed how they could “instantly” read the temperature and the colorful visuals for precipitation

How were learnings applied? Instead of spending time and energy ideating on how to redesign the MinuteCast, we focused on:

  • Better labeling on the dial experience for faster understanding and read for users. Overall through testing, users took a few minutes to understand what the dial looks to convey
  • Adding a linear display of the weather forecast that visualized the intensity of rain and snow within the next 2 hours

Awards

2020 World Meteorological Organization International Weather App Awards

Best Design and Presentation of Information — Private Sector

Best User Interface and Data Representation — Innovation

Best Weather Warnings — Private Section

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