The SwellMap Surf App and SwellMap Boat App are based on MetOcean Solution’s popular website SwellMap.co.nz providing the latest marine weather forecasts for surfing and boating.
The SwellMap Apps are available on the App Store and the Google Play Store.
The goal was to provide SwellMap users with an optimised mobile experience without sacrificing the features of the SwellMap website that are both familiar to the user and effective in presenting forecast information.
After implementing an initial prototype of the main forecasting view, it suddenly became clear that this was actually quite a challenging task. We somehow had to compress a 7 day visualisation of many weather variables into a mobile view and also make it look good.
7 (days) x 4 (6 hourly) x 12 (variables) = 336 weather factors
A second prototype presented the 7 day forecast as a series of sub-views which allowed the user to swipe through the views. The advantage of this approach was that each view appeared less cluttered and provided the information at a higher resolution. However, we were then limiting an important user feature. The 7 day visualisation on the website provides a complex data set that can be easily interpreted at a glance. For example, a user might be planning a surf trip on the weekend when the view on entering is Mon/Tue/Wed. So the user would need to make two swipes. And would also need to remember details if comparing to a previous day.
After accepting that this solution did not satisfy the requirements we returned to the drawing board. Iterating through a number of wire-frame sketches and obtaining feedback from designers, developers and users we finally developed a solution we were happy with.
I primarily achieved this by preserving dominant information in the 7 day visualisation and removing anything that was not critical for the user in making judgement about the forecast. However, the user can then opt for a more detailed view by selecting a link or using the swipe gesture. The level of information displayed on both the visualisations and tables seemed to fit appropriately.