BBC Weather's Coast & Sea section has a range of problematic areas which do not allow users to easily extract the information they need. How might we improve the Coast & Sea section provided on BBC Weather so that it caters for specific user needs and expectations?
Understanding the Problem
In order to get to grips with the problem areas around the Coast & Sea section of the site, I'd carried out four different exercises to collect as much information as possible around the challenge. These were:
• A note taking overview of the existing problems grouped by information, aesthetics and functionality
• A dive into the analytics of the existing Coast & Sea section
• An analysis of a semi-flexible questionnaire with 16 participants who have coast and sea interests and use the current site
• Competitor analysis of websites which users had mentioned in the questionnaire
Multiple users mentioned they would like the ability to search for a location straight away rather than trawl through a long list of places.
The data shown on the current website is not specific or accurate enough, e.g. weather warnings need to differentiate between a strong wind and a gale.
Break It Down
The tidal data is not portrayed in a digestible, easy to understand manner. Not everybody using this is a weather specialist.
"You'll always be able to trust another surfer" – social confirmation is important when seeking out information.
After gleaning valuable insights from the 'understand' phase, I'd formed three personas – heavily influenced from the flexible questionnaire analysis. These were created in order to help craft a better experience later down the line when ideating.
After looking at data, analysing user needs and creating personas to match these insights, I moved on to ideating. This was done in three parts:
• A sketching session using a technique called Crazy Eights (getting lots of ideas down in a short time frame)
• A deeper analysis of two ideas I thought had longevity from the sketching session
• Scoring the two ideas I liked against the list of user needs to see which one to take forward into further exploration
Developing the 'Search & Social' Idea
After tallying up two strong ideas against user needs, the 'search & social' concept came out the winner (just!). I then began developing this idea with low & high fidelity wireframes for both desktop and mobile.
Below shows prototypes for both desktop and mobile of the proposed idea for the new Coast & Sea section of BBC Weather. This has met the brief by:
• Becoming fully responsive
• Having a stronger presence in the main BBC Weather navigation for accessibility
• Gives the user the ability to quickly and easily search for a direct location
• 'Glanceable' information which is more visually engaging and digestible
• Warnings are clear and accurate
• One level navigation with the most relevant tab (tides) open on landing
• Social validation needs are addressed through 'live cam' feature
• Information tool tips explain definitions to those who aren't weather specialists
Next Steps & Involvement
Next steps: Test the prototype with the users who partook in the flexible questionnaire and iterate on the design based on user feedback before taking into development.
Involvement: As this was an interview task, this piece was conducted directly by myself, with the help of Edwina Nolan to source existing data and questionnaire results around the Coast & Sea section.