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UX CASE STUDY:WEATHER NOTIFICATIONS & ALARMS APPLICATION

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A UX case study: Weather notifications & alarms application design

Notifies users of weather events they requested for proper planning.

I was trying to make a basic UI Design for a Weather app like everybody I saw on Dribbble and Behance before I decided to write a UX case Study and design a Weather application from the scratch rather than redesigning like i started out to do. You might wonder why because there are already a ton of Weather applications available on playstores; anyway, find out here.

OBJECTIVE

To practice the design thinking approach by designing a mobile app for weather data in Figma.

EMPATHIZE & DEFINE

By writing this case study, I tried to solve a major problem I have with the typical weather app, which I noticed when I was trying to just redesign a weather app and I saw that most times, the available Weather applications does nott have some key features which I believe are very important in meeting user’s needs for downloading a Weather app and giving them the best experience.

Start Off

Problems

As stated above, I was doing a UI design for a weather app when I noticed a problem that a lot of users might have using the normal available weather apps. There are a lot of weather apps on mobile playstores but they are usually the same thing with the same features and I wanted to solidify my thought on them not being enough, as to satisfying users’ needs, so I made a research using the Google Forms after carrying out a little survey.

My research was based on countries around the world as I found out that a lot of people in the country where I am from {Nigeria} do not use the Weather app as much as some other countries, because we have relatively predictable weather here most times. However some people in other countries experience extreme weather conditions that can change/disrupt whatever plans they might have for the day. The outcome of the research showed that:

1. Sometimes, users forget to check the weather forecast for the day, while assuming the weather would just remain the same through the day. For example a user wakes up in the morning and sees the sun is out early, and just assumes it will be sunny all day.

2. Even though some people check the weather forecast in the morning before starting out their day, they easily forget how the weather for the day might look like after checking.

3. Some users are usually lazy and forgetful and wished they could get the daily weather forecast without having to open their weather apps every time.

4. Some weather apps do not allow users to plan “their day well because they show that “There will be a Thunderstorm” but some users are like “okay sure, at what time so that they can go on their date or go to the market before the exact time the thunderstorm starts.

When i asked 20 young Nigerians if they have the Weather app, this was the response

When i asked the 75% who said they have the Weather app on their phone how often they used the app, this was their response.

PERSONAS

I started a research by interviewing people from different countries with different weather around the world and I wanted to see how well and often people use the Weather applications in different parts of the world. I also wanted to learn how easy it is using these applications and if the users were satisfied with what they use, if they wanted more, any issues they might be facing and see how i can make them have a better experience as users. I created a google form and then shared it out to people across locations to fill it out and I picked a few of the most interesting and helpful ones for my User Persona.

Sade (not real name), Canada:

One of the people I interviewed for the purpose of this case study, said she religiously uses the app and there have been times when the predictions were incorrect and most importantly there have been a time where she checked the weather app in the morning and saw that there will be rain but she forgot the time and by the time she went to pick her son from school, they were both drenched in the rain before she got home and wished there was a reminder/alarm sent to her from the application stating that there would soon be rain as she has had many experiences similar to this that messed up her day..

Folake, Nigeria:

Folake is a chef based in Lagos, Nigeria and she said that whenever she has big events and she has to do outdoor cooking, sometimes the weather stops or slows them down and said it would be nice if she could get real time update on weather and a 3 days ahead display so she and her team can prepare adequately and settle for alternatives and methods that best fit the weather condition

Some of the responses i got when i asked users their issues with the current Weather applications they use and suggestions on new updates they will like to see

IDEATE AND PROTOTYPE

Goal

To develop an app that is easy to use, plays its purpose and helps people to plan their day well with available weather data. Planning like what to wear, whether to carry an umbrella, or other personal stuff to pick up for the day to be easier.

I used some of the general principles from the Android Weather App, along with my own ideas to come up with the following design criteria.

  • Prominently display the current weather
  • Help the users get real time weather information
  • Get notifications ahead of a change/shift in average weather
  • Suggest what to wear or pack for the day
  • Show the weather throughout the day in one hour increments.

Ideas for Additional Features:

  • Notifications of the day’s weather set to show up prior to getting dressed in the morning, at a time that they have set so they can adequately pack for the day.
  • I wanted users not to have to launch the app everyday, but on the first time on launching the app, they are mandated to allow the app to have access to their notifications and locations. They can then go ahead to the Menu to set the time for daily weather notifications (or turn it off), set weather events they want to get notified about, and when they want the notifications sent

JOB STORIES

Additionally, I wrote some Jobs to be done lists to design a very user friendly product that makes users have great experience

1. When I open the application, I do not want to have to read through all of the weather element parameters to know how the weather for the day will be like and if/when there will be a major shift in the average weather conditions. I want to be able to deduce the time when these major weather events will take place and what event it is (whether high temperature or cloudiness) by just taking a look at it.

A simple easily readable chart that highlights the

2. I want to get notifications every morning when I am still dressing up for work so I can know whether to pick up my fur coat, or to wear a light dress or to pick an umbrella without forgetting and save myself some stress during the day.

3. I want to be able to get information about #2 above even when it isn’t the time I set for notifications yet. For example, if I get up earlier because I am having a meeting before the start of work, I want to be able to just click on my app and still get the information/data above.

4. Also, I want to get reminders, for when I forget that there will be a particular weather event at a particular time. For example, when I check in the morning, and the weather app tells me there might be rain at 1:00 pm, I might have forgotten during the course of the day that there will be rain at that time and schedule a lunch date at that time. To prevent this I want to get notifications/alarms 30 minutes before weather events like rain.

5. I want to be able to change the weather elements I want to get notified about. For example when we are no longer in the rainy season, I do not want to get annoying notifications/ alarms about what the weather will look like on days when there wouldn’t be any rain.

IDEATION

Main purpose

Weather’s main purpose is to notify users about the weather information about ONLY the weather events they WANT to get notified on the time and days they selected. This app will also allow users to get reminders moments before major weather events take place.

This will help users plan their time well, as we all agree that time is money. Also helps them plan their day properly, set activities to the appropriate and most suitable time for these activities. E.g. planning beach parties on sunny days and snowballing on snowy days. The app also helps with suggestions on clothing for users to wear, activities to engage in and other things that suit the weather of the day. This helps users get their day planned well even if they forget to open their weather app and also makes it less hectic, interpreting the weather parameters.

“People ignore design that ignores people.”

— Frank Chimero,UX Designer

Brainstorming

Here is a simple user flow about this application:

For instance, if the user logs in to Weather, allows the application acess to Location and Notifications, then goes ahead to set a 20 minutes reminder before weather events like thunderstorms, they will get something like this:

PROTOTYPING

Lo/fi prototypes

With the above ideas and insights, i came up with this low fidelity protoyype to further aid easy implementation of my ideas before moving on to make high fidelity prototypes.

Usability Testing.

After designing frames and interfaces, I decided to show it to some of my friends, some who were designers while some weren’t. I got from the testing that I needed to make the frames less colourful and more easily navigable and i fixed that to get what i have as my current final design.

OUTPUT

After some usability tests, I came up with a final design and paid more attention to the feedback and complaints from the tests, after which i fixed the pain points and came up with this final high fidelity prototype

In this example, the user sets time for daily reminders to get daily reminders on weekdays, between Monday through Friday, for Cloudy and Snow/Rainy Weather events. The output of this selection wil look like this:

After the user gets the notifucation showing a brief description of what the day’s weather will look like, they can tap on the screen to get full detaills of what the day’s weather will look like. There is also a short graph at the lower part of the screen, which highlights the time when there will be major shifts in the weather condition and what it might look like.

Flow Map

PROTOTYPE MOCKUP

Quick mockup that shows how navigation is done.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT

When designing User Interfaces, it is very important to apply empathy and put myself in the user’s position, and then think of all the best possible ways to get the best results while putting the users at ease.

The usability of a product is just as important as the visual design.

Also, the Visual design doesn’t necessarily has to be dull, because i am trying not to distract the user. I made this mistake at first before I had to change the entire Interface design, to make it aeshetically pleasing and yet usable.


UX CASE STUDY:WEATHER NOTIFICATIONS & ALARMS APPLICATION was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.