Empowering decisions through data and push notifications
We also sought to find new and creative ways to capitalise on its mountain of data (of which just 1% was used). It had a lot of inaccessible weather information and wanted to explore who it would be most helpful for, and the format would make it more understandable and meaningful to users. Our research uncovered a range of user wins, like the development of the aforementioned global weather data map tool, and an improved and personalised push notification strategy.
However, the most interesting development in our push notification strategy was our health-specific messaging. We found that people whose health was affected by the weather – for example, by changes in UV ratings, pollen count or pollution ratings – were surprisingly passive about it. So, we centralised vulnerable users and promoted information that empowered them to self-diagnose and take control of their allergies. When it’s live, this will include nuances within contextual information – for example, by breaking pollen into its three types, grass, weed and tree.
Our push notifications intended to change this passive attitude by providing personalised, relevant updates to users that would help them make better informed decisions. We did this by combing a strong API blueprinting to its database with a bespoke algorithm that translated weather icons and accompanied visuals with a short, snappy line of content. We applied the same principles to our approach for severe weather warnings, and are currently developing rich notifications that contain extra information, a map and images.
Embedding accessibility and championing inclusivity
As with all our projects, accessibility was considered throughout. We embedded accessibility consultants into our sprint teams for both the app and website builds. We also conducted manual testing to improve user experiences across its responsive web, apps, connected TV and multimodal experiences.
When we embarked on our app redesign for the Met Office, WCAG had not yet released guidelines specifically for apps. So, our Director of Accessibility Alastair Campbell, a chair of WCAG and a key writer of digital inclusivity best practice, crafted bespoke guidance for native IOS and android apps. This guide is still used by the Met Office team today. We are currently exploring how voice and search can factor into our app and website interfaces, and we will continue to examine how we can better deliver relevant updates and national weather warnings to users.
Creating a digital design language
Finally, we also found there was a clear need for the creation of a digital design language that could be rolled out across the Met Office’s Consumer Digital portfolio. This evidence-driven design language used a component-based approach to ensure a consistent approach across its channels. It is tailored to each platform’s specific human interface guidelines, and is guided by usability best practice, interaction patterns and UX guidelines.
Additionally, we have developed principles, living frameworks and a validated set of components in pattern libraries. By combining our development partner’s expertise in data with Nomensa’s proven ability to humanise technology, we have delivered a plethora of innovative digital solutions for their website and app based on validated user needs.
The power of an experience design system is in its scalability. By creating this design language for the Met Office, we were able to free up their team to focus their energies on innovations and exciting new functions. It provided a solid framework to operate from, rather than needing to start from scratch every time a new form needed to be created or button to be added.