Forecast

Capture.JPG

FORECAST.IO

I am not a weather fanatic,* like some people. Having established that, I also have to plan around the weather for work projects, so whatever I can anticipate, I can alleviate. 

Enter Forecast by Darksky. First, it is a universal app for iOS and Android, for both phones and tablets. It is easily installed by pointing your mobile browser here, then *installing* the app (for free) by adding a link to your device's homescreen. If you're not familiar with "web apps" then you can read a bit more about how if built right, they compete with any native app. 

Once you've got Forecast installed on your homescreen you'll find that it launches quickly to an overview of information: current temperature, icon showing the current weather overview, a sentence painting the next hour and 24 hours, and a 24–hour scrollable precipitation ticker. Though that sounds dense, the design is clean with plenty of whitespace and many tappable items that reveal more detailed information. 

Most of the time a quick glance at the main page's ticker is enough to prepare me for the day to come. If I want more information I can click on the Map button in the upper right and open a gorgeous precipitation map with a Local, Regional, and Global breakdown. The timeline can scroll several hours to the past, and an hour into the future.

Forecast's features are constructed extremely well and are easy to navigate. A real strength of the app is in the iconography, temperature range bubbles, and precipitation map (ie, radar). One can quickly glance at these and absorb the information easily, from the overview to the granular minute-by-minute ticker. I am reminded of a former professor who instructed us to *show* our readers the story rather than *tell* them. Forecast very much *shows* you the weather as if you were standing outside in it.

All design and usability aside, the question of reliability must enter any serious user's mind. Especially if you're basing a scheduling decision on the reliability of data presented. Forecast is backed by Dark Sky's rigorous data set. The "hyperlocal precipitation forecasting system" is unique among their offerings and worth the installation just to experience once. Forecast goes toe to toe with any other app for its easy access, user experience, and comprehensive data. 

Follow the links to install it on your device for free, and take it for a test drive. The day it saves you from getting caught in one of these spring downpours, you'll be glad you did. 

*My non-fanatic status has changed quite a bit since installing Forecast and reading about the rigor with which Dark Sky has built their services. 

Photo credit Vince Alongi