A seamless way to view and share weather data
The Cloud Experience Lab’s goal is to stay on top of new technology trends and apply them in useful and unique ways. Our developers and designers have been experimenting with different ways to deliver cognitive data through a variety of platforms (i.e. Facebook Messenger, Google Allo, Slack Bot, and even plain text). With the release of iOS10, Apple opened up the iMessage platform allowing new and innovative information sharing patterns. To experiment on this new platform, The Cloud Experience Lab (XLAB) decided to partner with The Weather Channel (an IBM company) to bring weather to iMessage.
Weather has a big impact on what we do and how we feel. Through our design thinking exercises, we found several compelling use cases that incorporate weather into conversations, like planning trips and dealing with impending severe weather. People also enjoy adding emotions like sympathy or bragging to their interactions with their friends. Therefore our initial design concept is centered around “weather cards + emoji reactions.” Our goal is to make it easy for our personas (savvy business travelers and busy parents) to talk about the weather, no matter if it’s bright and sunny or if there is a hurricane swiftly approaching.
We don’t want to replace the main The Weather Channel app, but rather extend its functionality allowing seamless viewing and sharing of weather data and information within iMessage. We then drive users back to the full app to find out more detailed information, like the specific time a hurricane is hitting or specific wind directions.
We accomplished this challenge by designing a variety of weather cards that users can send. These cards allow users to share different views of weather data, arranged in easy to digest nuggets.
Five Day F
Map & Radar
Severe Weather Alert
The Weather Channel app was released world-wide so we localized it to support 36 languages by using Smartling to translate all the text strings. Our design and development team focused on the layout in great detail. We had to consider both the length of words and sentences in languages other than English and the spacing, left-to-right and right-to-left. For example, German can take up to 30% more spacing and Finnish can take up to 60% more spacing than English, while Hebrew and Arabic read right to left.
The Weather Extension has been an overwhelming success since day one of the release. We were featured on the App store as top 10 “iMessage Apps We Love”. Within just a week of the iOS10 launch, we have received hundreds of thousands of downloads from over 86 countries around the world. It was also recognized as one of the top apps to download by Wired, 9to5mac.com, and BRG.