Simple interface should not mean lack of features, Solar Weather does effective UI right
I was reading an interview last week from a popular writing app author where they made the statement that a simple interface shouldn’t even be noticed. How their app does have clutter or extra things that makes a person think about using it. While I do use the writing software, on the iPhone and iPad, as well the Mac, it simple interface isn’t making it simple to use. The app just lacks many features a person needs beyond simple writing. It even requires a person remember the symbols used in Markdown language. The app doesn’t offer the equivalent of bullets and bold, instead you have to remember if your to type a character like a ‘+’ to get what you need. I use it because the interface is quick to get into, not because it does the job correctly. So, the software is quickly replaced with slightly, more robust competitive products when available.
The new weather app Solar: Weather struck me as a weather app that is easy to use, does what I need and wont be replaced with anything needing more taps.
Launching the app, you get a screen of information about your home city, local time, date, observation data, current temp and color backgrounds representing the weather and temperature. The color coding is important as it can be dark and gloomy outside yet the temperatures feels nice or even warm. It might just be me, but areas I have lived have very deceiving looks to what you see if you look out a window. The color coding tells you more information than simple numbers can.
Also more important to some areas than others is what will the weather be doing later today into tomorrow. Rather than presenting me with a list of numbers for the day, Solar: Weather shows the color information and temp number changing with time as I sweep my finger up the screen. Releasing my finger’s pressure returns me to the current time of day.
If I need a quick glance at the next couple days, I pull my finder down on the screen to review the high/lows information.
Since I travel and communicate with others in cities around the world, Solar: Weather does allow for more than one city to be viewed. A pinch on the screen shows the cities I have identified as needing the information about.
Much like the iPhone’s built in Weather app, swiping my finger side to side does cycle through the city weather information too. The colors, minimal numbers and simple swipe of my finger means that Solar: Weather has the information I need to know, what is going on outside and will be going on in the future, without extra taps. Simple interfaces that work and still offer a full feature set is the right way of doing a iPhone tool, don’t make me think and give me light info in order to brag about having an interface that isn’t noticed.