Below is all the research that went into the creation of the new National Weather Service mobile application. The app went through many variations and tests before getting to the solution on the project page. This included extensive audits, user experience maps, wireframes, user testing, prototyping, and much more. If you have any questions about my process please don't hesitate to contact me.
National Weather Service Mobile App - Research
The Current Situation
Below are a few images of the current mobile set-up over at weather.gov:
Currently there are hundreds of weather applications out there flooding the market. The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, AccuWeather, Weather Bug — just to name a few. However none of these applications offer the same services as the National Weather Service does. This is what would set them apart in the market.
NWS - National Weather Service
TWC - The Weather Channel
WU - Weather Underground
ACCU - AccuWeather
However, when it comes to the aesthetics and user ability/functionality the National Weather Service finishes dead last. Making all of the above features practically useless.
Create a new mobile application which brings all the great features of their website to the mobile platform. In doing so, create an application which is cohesive, easy to use, and for everyone. Once this application meets that criteria it will have no problem reaching the masses and becoming the number one weather application out there. This is important not just from a business perspective but at a life-saving one.
To do this we have to first understand the users that would be using this application. Since we want this to be an app for bother the weather-nerds and your everyday Joe we have to see how they will use the application and look at how they use current applications that are already offered to them.
Creating for the User
The second step of the solution is creating for the user. Now that we know how different types of people will use the application we can create an application which meets those needs.
This was done through a preliminary wireframing and user test to see what was and wasn't working before starting the actual design process.
After going through a few different wireframes, paper mockups, and layouts I finally sketched an application out which deemed itself to be the most successful among users. This one had the quickest user interaction rate and proved to be the one people were most comfortable using.