Playing with cute animations to check the weather
For iPhone owners with a taste for meteorology, the App Store offers a variety of apps not seen anywhere else. Along with the more cryptic data driven ones, there are others simplified to the minimum to cater for every user. And let's not forget, we are talking about a phone that already comes with a weather app.
Haze by Robocat and Taptanium is a collaborative effort to strip the clutter from the stereotypical weather app while keeping it useful, convenient and informative. And with the credentials of the developers behind apps like Televised, you know this is also going to be visually striking.
Focusing on three main areas allows the team to concentrate all the attention in one single point: the centre of the screen. So when you launch the app before leaving home, you just need to see the circle with a number in the middle of the display. I need a scarf but I don't need to take the umbrella with me. That's all you need to know.
Going for this level of simplicity isn't an easy trick to pull off. Haze prefers to hide all the extras at launch, allowing you to discover them using gestures. Tap on the central circle displaying he temperature to release smaller bubbles with important nuggets of information; highest and lowest temperature, feels like, wind speed and direction.
Move to the two other sections by tapping on the small icons at the bottom or simply by swiping left and right. The left pane gets you the sunshine hours with sunrise and sunset times, UV and cloud forecast for the day. The right screen is for precipitations. Here you get the rain prediction in a percentage, mbar and ml as well as the humidity. The cute umbrella icon defies the logic telling me that it's not going to rain tonight. Right. No rain in Britain.
While all this gives the current prediction, pulling a little bit from top to bottom reveals the forecast for the next five days. There's no forecast per hour, radars or anything more advanced like that. If this is something you really need, I wouldn't discard Haze immediately; remember we all keep a couple of different apps for the sake of comparing the information they provide from different sources anyway.
Subtle gorgeous animations
If the app isn't going to be a powerhouse of isobar maps, charts and tables, where's the catch? Haze capitalises on simplicity and beauty. The presentation is outstanding, raising the already high standards the developer had accustomed us to. Using none of the traditional iOS navigation elements, the app feels incredibly fluid and dynamic. The background, for example, has a barely perceptible upwards or downwards motion. This is used to indicate wether the next day will be hotter or colder. The textures that are criticised so much these days are forgotten in favour for a flat clean interface with gradients. The font used is, of course, a very flattering one for numbers because the app is all about giving you some numbers.
There's also a playful element that makes the app more fun. The circles extend themselves until they burst into smaller circles, something like the refresh animation on the native Mail app. The same effect is used for swapping between sections and accessing the settings. The combination of animations and sound effects elevates the app to this odd place where you tap and move things compulsively just to see things happen. For me this is a sign of an app that you'll end up using every day.
If you're not fond of the default colour combinations, there are unlockable themes for you to try — some just by following the tutorial steps. The themes all follow the same principle of using a gradient with three base colours, keeping the sunshine pane with yellow accents and rains with blues.
What Haze misses in features, it makes up for presentation and style. It's clear the developer decided to implement the most used feature set, such as using your location only, and forget about the rest. I appreciate the vision because Haze wouldn't work with more information chucked at it. Most times you will only want to check the the forecast quickly. You can also spare some seconds to explore all the hidden information. Even if you decide to check a more in-depth app afterwards, Haze is a great starting point because it's easy to understand and fun.
Other weather apps I've talked about: