Wherever you go in the world, there is one hugely variable constant – the weather. Given the significant impact that it can have on our daily lives, it is hardly surprising that most of us like to keep abreast of the latest forecast.
We are app connoisseurs here at AppStorm, though, so any old weather app simply won’t do. Our kind demands both forecasting accuracy and design aesthetics of the highest standard. With this in mind, I’ve put together this roundup of beautiful weather apps – so even if the weather is miserable, you’ll have something nice to look at…
Climatip is about as minimal as a weather app can get. Temperature is indicated by a colour-coding system — blue cold through to red hot — and overhead conditions are displayed by one of Climatip’s minimal, “flat” weather icons. Climatip also offers textual advice – sensible dress, precautions, warnings, etc. – but this never amounts to more than two lines, which is in keeping with the stripped-back feel.
Some folks will find Climatip a little too minimalist, but it works nicely as a visually pleasing glance-able forecast.
In the UK, at least, the BBC has long been considered as the most trustworthy source of weather-related information, in part due to the corporation’s direct link with the UK Met Office, so it is little wonder that they now have their own recently released weather app.
In front of pleasant weather-related backgrounds, which hint at the current weather in your location, BBC Weather packs in plenty of icon-based information, from pollen count to UV index, as well as wind direction and speed, temperature, and sunrise and sunset times. Swipe sideways, and you reveal detailed hour-by-hour predictions, or you can take a longer view with a full five-day forecast. BBC Weather definitely deserves praise for the stylish way in which it displays copious climatic information.
It might not have been the first weather app to go down the design path of highly visual forecasts, but swackett has certainly turned heads on iOS, with its focus on quirky, human-relatable weather advice, in preference to churning out numbers.
By default, the current outside climate is illustrated by the dress sense of a number of on-screen avatars, although basic temperature and weather info is also displayed in a more traditional way. More impressive, however, are the in-depth features of Swackett.
Forecasts are available in both hour-by-hour and five-day editions, and whilst swackett’s visual summary is simplistic, a lot of information can be accessed by tapping on an hour or a day. swackett also provides satellite imagery (something the BBC’s app does not), and best of all, you can tell swackett what you would like to be regarded as cold, cool, warm, etc.
Arcus Weather’s style is simple, sleek and monochromatic. Temperature and rain are the main areas of focus in Arcus Weather, and the combination of simple icons and clear, text-based information makes for both a highly practical, and visually appealing design.
Arcus Weather breaks the forecast into current conditions, the next hour, the next 48 hours, and the next week. Other notable features include temperature graphs, and handy weather notifications, which seem to be an improvement over Google Now’s cards.
Sometimes, I have to admit, the forecast for the UK Weather makes for depressing reading. It is for these very moments that Optimistic Weather was designed. This app provides a summary of today’s conditions, followed by an ambitious forecast for tomorrow’s weather. For example – while every other weather forecast was telling me to expect cloud and a top temperature of 18ºC (64ºF) the following day, Optimistic Weather predicted 38ºC (100ºF), with the summary: “Dang! It’s going to be like the Gobi Desert.”
The playful nature of this app is further increased by the charming, on-screen animated characters, such as a cloud with an expression of displeasure (usually the current conditions) or a happy sun, which always represents tomorrow’s forecast. Sure, this app isn’t a serious way of getting in-depth weather info, but it displays current conditions accurately, provides a mood lift, and does both using wonderful graphics.
WeatherBug has been around for some time, and remains a firm favourite among those wanting mobile weather updates. The app has similar dynamic backgrounds to those found in BBC Weather, and it displays a similarly large volume of data. WeatherBug’s design is a little less refined, though, and I also found it to suffer slowdown at times.
Where WeatherBug really excels is with its radar options, which range from worldwide cloud and storm satellite imagery, to rain and snow radar.
Despite the somewhat downmarket name, EZ Weather is actually an app of high quality. It displays weather data with a light-on-dark colour scheme, which makes for glorious clarity. Current conditions take up the majority of the screen, and extra info can be toggled with one tap.
EZ Weather provides hour-by-hour and seven-day forecasts, which can be accessed via the side-scrolling slider at the bottom of the screen, and you can jump between each time range of forecast with another toggle switch.
AccuWeather, the Android representation of this forecasting giant, is very much the best option for a weather geek.
During testing, it took an age, and several attempts, to get AccuWeather to recognize my location, but once I got this tedium out of the way, the rich vault of up-to-the-minute weather knowledge in this app was impressive to behold. On offer are hour-by-hour predictions, daily forecasts up to two weeks in advance, rain radar, video forecasts, and news articles on notable weather events.
Of all the apps in this roundup, AccuWeather is, perhaps, the least pretty. Although that’s not to say it is ugly; the rainfall graphs are eye-catching, and the information offered by the app is served up clearly and concisely.
In recent times, many weather apps have chosen to illustrate current conditions with generic, weather-related backgrounds. Whilst Weatherwise uses backgrounds in this way, the dynamic images it employes can not be described as generic. The default background, for instance, is a manga-style tree, situated either in front of a blue sky or in the rain, depending on the forecast. The whole scene also responds to the tilting of the phone, with the foreground foliage moving to create a parallax effect – overall, it’s a nice experience.
Weatherwise is also pretty accomplished when it comes to forecast data. 24-hour and 5-day forecasts are available, with a few basic forms of data, such as humidity and wind speed, included.
Yes, “Weather” really was the most imaginative name that the developer, MacroPinch, could think of. I’m glad, however, that they put most of their creative efforts into the app.
Though simplistic, Weather’s design uses a pleasant enough faux wood background behind clear climatic information, and simple, but effective, weather icons. It is a shame, given the otherwise elegant design of Weather, that there is no way of getting rid of the ads, not even via a paid upgrade. The 24-hour and 5-day forecasts are also limited in terms of detail – only the outlook, chance of rain and temperature are on offer – but as a quick, decent-looking way of previewing upcoming conditions, Weather performs solidly.
Choice of Weather
As you can see from this list, there are plenty of weather apps of a high aesthetic standard in the Play Store. Some of these offerings, such as Climatip and swackett are not exactly full-bodied weather apps, but for those who only want an at-a-glance summary of exterior conditions, they provide a stylish on-screen environment. On the other hand, apps like BBC Weather and Arcus Weather illustrate that meteorological depth need not come at the expense of beauty.
Do you have a favourite weather app which exhibits both style and substance? Share it in the comments below.