The idea

There are a lot of weather apps out there. Some are very strong in visuals, but are mostly eye-candy, and some are very strong in functionality but are a nightmare to use. We wanted to create an app that is both clean, looks great, and functions just as expected from a weather app.

First round : Wireframing

We started to mock up the design on paper. We knew that we wanted to highight the current conditons, and the weather for the next few days. After a few sketches we had the basic layout, so we could proceed with visualizing it in Photoshop.

The design process

We wanted the design to be both clean, and reflect the characteristics of both Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and the Windows Phone Metro design language. We experimented with several multiple layouts, until we found the one we all agreed with.

After the "clean" version we transformed the layout to contain same information, but in a much richer way.

We had a long debate on which colors to use and whether the app should have white or black background. Finally we decided to allow the user to select the main/and background color of the app.

The development - Android

After all the design work, we rolled up our sleeves, and got to work. We created the skeleton of the user interface, with no real data at this point. We started with identifying the parts which will be hardest to develop. We made some work on optimizing animations, and how to build the UI in order to support multiple resolutions. We wanted it to be as smooth as possible, so fine-tuning and optimizing took a lot of time. When we had what we wanted on the UI part, we started to fill it with real world data.

We optimized data caching, so the app would only use network connection when it is necessary. This way, we can save battery time, and minimize network traffic. When we were ready, we started doing a lot of testing. Android is all about different devices, screens and hardware. We tested on several devices, on every OS version from 2.2 up to 4.0. It actually even runs on the Kindle Fire quite nice!

No trade-off was acceptable. We are proud that WeatherFlow runs just as smooth on high-end ICS devices, as it runs on our beloved Froyo handsets. After all that, it's your turn to enjoy what we've made.

The development - Windows Phone

The Windows Phone development process was quite similar to Android - after creating & performance tuning the UI we added the server side functionality, and tested well before submitting it to the marketplace.

However, as all Windows Phones have a minimum cpu of 1Ghz, and a standard resolution of 800x480, this gave us more space to create some stunning effects on the UI. We designed & developed the main screen so that makes it possible to flip between the clear and rich skins, allowing users to easily take a peek on the beautiful imagery, and jump back right to the clear screen, where the weather forecast is easier to read.

Final touches & Logo design

On Windows Phone we introduced a double side Live Tile, which shows both the current conditions, how the weather today will be compared to yesterday, and whether it's a good idea to have and umbrella ready. We wanted to utilize this space well while providing information that's useful every day.




On Android we introduced a simple widget displaying today's weather conditions.




Regarding the logo we did multiple iterations. We wanted to keep it as simple as possible, while adding a "flow" element to it, making it recognizable. In the early versions we played with including the flip effect, but that didn't quite work on the screen on the phones - so instead we shifted to focusing on the dual design of the app.

Screenshots

Final thoughts

We hope that you will enjoy using Weather Flow, as much as we enjoyed developing it. We are constantly adding new features and updates, so if you have any ideas, feel free to tell us at weatherflow@teamdistinction.com

If you would like to write a review about Weather Flow, drop us a mail at weatherflow@teamdistinction.com and please specify which blog/site/paper are you from, and we will send you an .apk file that you can use for testing. On Windows Phone the trial is fully functional, and can be used for review purposes.

Wishing you the best of Weather! ;)