Clime provides hikers with a source for weather in their current location as they trek the length of the Pacific Crest Trail. Additionally, the app supports hikers with alerts, user-generated weather reports, and the ability to contact resupply locations on the trail. Clime is designed to be the ultimate companion for Pacific Crest Trail adventurers.
Real-time, geographically situated weather data specifically designed for hikers of the Pacific Crest Trail
Intuitive map-based interface unifies location and weather data
User-generated weather reports empower hikers to share relevant information
Custom trip profile logs multiple excursions
High-contrast visual design ensures ease of use in a wide range of environments
2018 saw 7,313 total back country hiking permits issued and just under 1,200 complete treks of the entire Pacific Crest Trail. Long-distance hikers and horseback riders came from all 50 states. Young, caucasian men under the age of the 30 are the most common demographic.
Weather reporting and forecasting is of unique interest to hikers of this trail for a couple of reasons. First, the length of the average trek (7–10 days) makes weather a greater concern than for a shorter journey. Second, the lack of weather reporting stations along the length of the trail often means weather data is not specific to the hiker’s actual location, but for some distant location. The app must address these issues to be relevant and of value to hikers.
Our design team looked at a dozen weather apps to assess the competitive landscape and gain an understanding of what works in terms of features, user flows, and user interfaces. Here are three competing apps that significantly influenced our design of Clime.
BRELLA—Matt Barker and Austin Astorga
Focused more on providing forecasts exuding personality than offering a litany of features, Brella feels appropriate for mobile with simple screen layouts, colorful visuals, and cheerful copy. Upon launching the app, you're prompted to set temperature preferences that determine what the app recommends you wear based on the weather of the moment. Notifications can be delivered to you at anytime of the day that report the forecast in a fun way. Minimal functionality and untimely push notifications limit its appeal.
What Dark Sky lacks in visual aesthetics, it more than makes up in functionality. This fully featured weather apps provides extensive forecasts with graphic visualization, satellite maps with precipitation and temperature overlays, historical data going back decades, and a user reporting system. Also of note are options supporting light and dark visual modes, as well as alternate units of measurement. User reporting could benefit from more functionality, while a stronger visual identity would improve the user experience.
Full-screen photographs provide attractive backgrounds to detailed weather reports in Yahoo's well-designed app. While the app doesn't provide the ability to send in user reports, you can share forecasts with other people and send feedback directly to the development team from within the app. A strong location search engine makes it easy to tap in a zip code or place name, prompting contextualized options to pop up. Satellite maps detail precipitation on a time index. A well-rounded weather app with few social features.
User flows, wireframes, and paper prototypes
Analog user flows and wireframes are essential to my interactive design process. It not only forces simplification and consideration of elements before noting them on paper, but it encourages thinking about digital interactions from a human perspective before designing screens.
Once analog user flow and wireframes begin taking shape, a clickable prototype can be built with Invision. While very rough, this first prototype provides useful feedback in terms of adjustments that need to be made to the user flow, missing elements, unexplained features, and what works.
More than just aesthetics, the visual design of Clime is functional and purposeful. The use of a high-contrast black and yellow color palette ensures screens can be read in bright sunlit meadows as easily as in a shady grove.
On-boarding introducing users to the various features of Clime not only reinforces the circular visual motif by spotlighting important elements, but provides useful guidance on how to get the most from the app.