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The interface of weather

von Stefan Rössler am 6. Mai 2014

Everything in this world is an interface.

Interface is something that is by definition in between. An operating system is the interface between the hardware and software. This website is the interface between the text and the reader. Language is also an interface, it is between us and we use it to interact. A cup, a cigarette, a phone, a pen, a condom, a tree are all interfaces – they connect something to something else. From Cognitive Interfaces to Transcendental Protocols by Nodus Labs

Weather can have an important impact on our lives. That’s why I’m checking it from time to time. What I see are shiny yellow suns, tiny little raindrops, some fluffy clouds and one or another lightningbolt. So why is this important?

It’s important because it’s the perfect inspiration for every interface designer on this planet.

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Think about it for a second, aren’t all the icons and temperatures in weather forecasts just another interface? An interface for someone to interact, with otherwise inaccessible data that’s gathered by weather stations all around the world and interpreted by complex computer systems (at least that’s how I guess it works :).

All of this data doesn’t mean a thing to me. It doesn’t speak to me. I have no idea what happens if the air pressure rises. I’m only an average user trying to get properly dressed to take a walk outside. And the interface of weather makes just that possible.

I only have to understand (or learn) that an icon showing a yellow sun means the sun is shining. That’s not too hard to guess and a very close representation of my own mental model. And that’s why the interface of weather does such an amazing job. It makes it possible, that a shockingly uneducated guy like me, can suddenly forecast the weather!

Of course I’m sometimes wrong with my prognosis, but not because of the interface. It’s simply because we are not too great at predicting the weather yet. The interface is not to blame. It elegantly solves a problem that’s not only extremely relevant to many people but also highly complex. At least way more complex than most of the things I usually work on.

Next time we get stuck in our design work, we can just pause for a minute and look at the weather. The interface of weather or even better, the real weather outside the office. Both are so inspirational, we’ll soon be motivated again to do great things.

Remote Usability Tests - einfach gemacht.
Vorheriger Artikel: Designing is editing
Nächster Artikel: Why we build Userbrain

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