Sunshine

Hyper-local, crowd-sourced weather app.

The Task

Sunshine is a new breed of weather app delivering street-level reports tailored to users' comfort zones and daily travel patterns. The app's inventors created a complex prediction engine that pulls information from multiple sources for increased accuracy. Notch harnessed that power, transforming Sunshine into a straightforward, enjoyable and social tool that quickly becomes part of users' everyday routine. With both user interfacing and branding, we reflected Sunshine's technical superiority and its sociable personality, encouraging users to become part of Sunshine's community of on-the-ground weather reporters.

Our Approach

Sunshine provides more detail than the standard weather app, and more opportunity for interaction. We knew too much content would overwhelm a small screen, and too many choices would overwhelm users. The Notch team sought to convey complex information using clean, obvious visuals. At the same time, we opted for a warm aesthetic – welcoming, positive blues and friendly icons— that underlined Sunshine's personalized approach to the art of weather prediction. Finally, we added a game-like aspect to encourage users to enter on-the-go weather reports.

"Clever app turns everyone into a roving weather reporter." – Wired

The Challenge

Sunshine's engineers invented a weather app unlike any other in the marketplace. It's more accurate, pulling information not only from the usual government data, but also taking advantage of the iPhone's barometer and gathering user reports. It's more personal, tailoring predictions to comfort zones and regular hangouts. It's more social, encouraging users to join a community of traveling reporters.

The Notch team was tasked with creating wireframes and user interfaces for Sunshine's app and website, as well as branding. One of our biggest challenges was translating the app's complex capabilities into a user-friendly experience. Example: Sunshine's map, which occupies 70 percent of the main screen. How could we include all the necessary weather and location elements without overwhelming users? We decided to keep it simple.

Very simple. Sunshine's users want weather, not directions. They don't need highway numbers and county names. We did away with everything but basics such as "home" and "cloudy." We expressed these concepts using straightforward, fun icons in keeping with the app's genial aesthetic.

Our warm approach to design also visually strengthens the user's connection to Sunshine, complementing the app's convivial, personalized weather reports — Good morning, Sunshiner! — and strengthening the sense of community. This, in turn, encourages users to contribute regular weather reports and invite friends to do the same, thereby increasing the app's predictive powers.