The Death of Design

I’m certain I’ll get called on the carpet for this but here it goes anyway.

This is a television weather app. The thing that pushed me over the edge to write about it is because two days after this redesign was released I was accosted by an agitated viewer. She hates it. Sadly I agree.

Starting from the top (keeping in mind this is viewed on a phone. The logo…can’t read it. Messy. I’ve seen larger versions and the background picture is an angry shelf cloud rolling over a wheat field. When you invite someone to your home do you open the door and growl at them? Make them feel threatened and uncomfortable? Guessing not.

Moving down. There is literally no usable information on this screen. None.

The Interactive Radar is a static image, that is not current. Yes, radar is important. Does it lead the weather story every day? No.

Current Con… Again static shot, does not change. Not representative of the actual current con… as it was clear at the time of the frame grab.

Live Stream. Only during newscasts. I’d really just like to know the temperature at 10:04 AM. Does this mean I need to wait until the noon news?

Wait, there is the temperature at the bottom…well, half of it. It is covered by the ad for…what is that ad for?

Jakob Nielsen is one of the top usability researchers in the country. He tells us that the ads out there now are actually designed with a signal for us to not pay attention. How do you fix that? There is a little trick. Make the ad look like it belongs in the app. Not flashing pink which actually tells the user it is an ad.

There is a trend here. I’ve done a tiny bit of research on the companies responsible for this that caused a viewer to come after me. The goal of any company is to make money and you do that by playing to the client that is going to pay you. We’re in a little different arena. The B2B companies are marketing to the television stations not the end user. Their pitch focuses on the needs of the television station and not the person waking up and checking their phone first thing, or standing in line wondering how hot it is, or wondering if that approaching dark cloud is really growling at them like the logo.

Go read this book. It promotes a culture. One that is focused on the end user, not the middleman.

We also need a shift from the traditional television consulting model. I’ve yet to find one operational television meteorologist in a consulting roll. The traditional firms have not been in our foxhole. Another example of looking (or not looking) to the needs of the end user.

Go search WeatherBrains for episodes with Laura Myers, Kim Klockow and Gina Eosco. These social scientists are embedding themselves in the culture of weather…not television.

We’ve discussed the Yahoo weather app before. After their redesign a few years ago they saw a 150% increase in traffic in six months.

I’m off to work. Sure hope none of the viewers I will see on the way have updated the app yet.

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About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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One Response to The Death of Design

  1. Pingback: WeatherBrains 600: Hiding Behind a Hoodie : The Alabama Weather Blog

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