Weather Pod for iPhone
Ah, software design. Why can't we get along? The line between beautiful simplicity and effective information is a tough line to walk. Weatherpod is one of a few apps that has taken its first shaky steps onto this balancing board. Ultimately, I can't say it is successful. It feels smooth and minimalistic but lacks the design to support that aesthetic and it delivers information effectively but not enough so to justify the shortcomings of the application feel. I don't want to write a condemnation before we've left the starting gate, I do think Weatherpod is a good example of potentially budding design work. But at the end of the day, I can't say it will be staying on my home screen.
Weatherpod uses live backgrounds to get general weather information at a glance. Detailed information can be accessed with gestures. Tapping the icon center screen brings up details for today's weather including wind speeds, temperatures, and humidity. Swiping right overlays a semitransparent window with astronomical data and historical temperature data while swiping left overlay a three day forecast.
The gestures and animations of Weatherpod actually feel quite smooth and accessible. I can easily access all the app has to offer with one thumb. But, sadly, the quality of the gesture controls are not matched by the visual design of the app. Despite being released on this generation of iOS devices, Weatherpod uses primarily non-retina assets. This is particularly painful to the eyes when it comes to the live backgrounds and home screen UI elements. Many UI assets feel poorly implemented on screen, perhaps fitting better in a Windows XP icon pack.
Despite the usability of the app it lacks a few features that would be expected of most weather apps. Limiting the forecast to 3 days had me resorting to pulling down the weather widget to check information on coming weekends. Chance of rain is only available for the current day and is arbitrarily hidden until prompted by an on screen button even though the app already has several gesture based ways to present that information to me.
I can honestly say I understand what Weatherpod was trying to accomplish. And, perhaps earlier in iOS's life cycle, it could have been really successful. But Weatherpod was late to the game and failed to bring some of what has come to be expected of weather apps. For a while, I stuck to using only the weather widget. Now, I use several. But it is only unique functionality and strong design of those apps that makes them worth opening and, sadly, Weatherpod can't be said to bring either.