Monthly Archives: February 2009

Why the new bbc weather site sucks

I know people are all about numbered lists with bite sized information chunks now, but I don’t seem to be able to order my thoughts enough to do it, but here is a quick summary:

Whereas previously the weather was viewable the instant you got to the page, you now have to search and then scroll down on a laptop or smaller screen to be able to see what the weather predictions are.

Ok, now why :

1. Over complicated with less crucial information and more useless information. Also, the layout just sucks. What were they thinking!

I don’t want to have to scan the page to work out what I’m trying to do, and the fact that they’ve had to put instructions right in the front goes to show exactly how bad the design is. Good design, the kind you would expect from a corp like the BBC guides you with visual cues rather than with a list of points on how to use the site. I don’t care that they’ve got a ‘don’t show me this again’ tickbox – this isn’t the kind of site you go to to interact with, this is the kind of site you go to to find out whether you need a bloody umbrella today. This is the kind of website I check on friends computers before going out, that I check on peoples phones or at an internet cafe or on wifi or whatever, I don’t want to be prompted each time.

I don’t care about forecast maps and videos or related links but they seem to be taking up an awful lot of page space. I care about the five day forecast (which is now a four day forecast) and the 24 hour forecast (which is also just four icons). Was the issue that it wasn’t very accurate or something? It was too difficult to try and predict something in that much detail? Can’t be because they have the maps showing forecast times in a much more fine-grained slider.

Why is the ‘recently viewed’ thing hidden so far down?

Why are the weather icons on the 4 day forecast and the 24 hour forecast highlighted every other time in pink? It suggests that there’s something significant about those days, why didn’t they just use a plain divider if they wanted extra visual separation?

Why is the navigation on the left hand side when it means it sacrifices so much more page space? I really liked the system they had before, they could have just expanded that by adding extra tabs for the forecast maps (which i guess are pretty useful) and whatever all the rest of the junk on the page is that’s cluttering it up and making it look so verbose.

Why haven’t they given more prominence to the search box? If they’re making people search for the weather now instead of just displaying it like they used to they might as well at least make it easy to spot and use, like google did or any other site where the first thing you do when you get to the page is to search. Admittedly the convenience of having London’s weather on the main page might only apply to people who live in London, leaving the others had to search for it anyway, but it makes sense to have the capital city the default thing to show, rather than sweet fa).

It’s perfectly possible to have a site with loads of cool useful techy content and make it easy to use and visually clear. Why haven’t they done it, why!?

2. Sucky icon design
The other icons might have been a tad ugly, but there was no mistaking at a glance that they meant cloudy or rainy or whatever. For me and for a lot of others this site is not about visual aesthetics but about utilitarianism.

Anyway in conclusion I’m really annoyed about the whole thing and I don’t understand why most people seem to like it. If you’ve found my ranty post with it’s poorly set out points and you disagree, please get in touch and let me know why I’m wrong.