Brief: In a small group, conceptualize, conduct research, and create a sitemap for a mobile app. Individually, design the app interface and visual system.
Solution: Design a weather app for children that provides daily forecast summaries, live updates, and scientific explanations of weather phenomena.
Please view the interactive prototype on your phone for the best experience!
Rain or Shine is a children's weather app intended to educate and engage kids 6+ in meteorological phenomena. For this project, I dove into user-interface design with a young audience in mind. It was important to me to maintain an emphasis on large UI elements (buttons, titles, sliders, etc.) for ease of use in an audience with low motor skills.
The educational elements of the app—the explanations, fun fact articles, and challenges—are graduated in complexity by age. Very young users would find age-appropriate explanations of, say, what precipitation means, while explanations for older kids would get progressively more complex.
The app also places heavy emphasis on emergency preparedness and awareness during severe weather. As a young kid growing up in coastal towns on the East Coast, hurricane season could be pretty scary for me. It was comforting to get explanations for what severe-weather events actually were, the kinds of conditions that created them, and what we could do to respond and stay safe. I wanted to include that aspect of education in this app for other kids who frequently experience severe weather.
Although the intended audience is children, I wanted the app to be attractive enough for even adults to want to engage. I implemented a playful, illustrative visual style for the user interface that features soft shapes, transparency, and simplicity. The display is intended to reflect current weather conditions, so sunny days will feature a bright sunny background, and gloomier days will feature clouds or rain.
I also incorporated daily challenges for real-world, tactile learning. Challenges relate to the user's recent weather conditions and involve some low-stakes experiment or craft that encourage kids to engage with their local environments; the example shown in the interactive app prototype is a wind-sock craft in which kids would experiment with wind-speed observation and measurement.
Like the educational elements of the app, the daily challenge is another progressive feature that I included—though specifically for user retention. Completed challenges count as progress toward specific weather-related badges that progress through five levels. Categories of challenges include sunny, windy, rainy, chilly, toasty, and more.