Words like "elegant" and "sophisticated" probably don't come to mind when you think of Yahoo's goofy purple logo, but the company's newly released weather app is not only innovative, it's visually stunning, too.
How innovative can a weather app really be? Does it tell you how the temperature will impact your emotional state? Can it play a funny song—Rihanna's "Umbrella," maybe, or Elton John's "Candle in the Wind"—to indicate the day's forecast?
Happily, the answer is no. The triumph of the Yahoo weather app is its lack of bells and whistles. The interface displays the current temperature with a pretty picture of your location experiencing the current weather conditions. Opening the app for the first time, I was greeted with a sun-drenched shot of the New York City skyline with the current temperature (a merciful 66 degrees) in white type at the lower left corner.
New York weather has been capricious this spring, so I wanted to make a strategic layering plan that would take me into the evening. Scrolling from the main screen I found a tidy infographic offering a more detailed forecast (humidity, visibility, and "feels like" stats) along with hourly and weekly forecasts. The further you scroll, the more detail you get: precipitation predictions, wind and pressure information, and sunrise/sunset times.
More often than not, I found myself idly clicking into the main screen to see if there was a new snippet of color-saturated photography to ogle. There usually was, although some images were recycled over the course of a sunny weekend. A peek at other cities—accessible by clicking the discrete "plus" button in the upper right corner—like Shanghai, Tokyo, and Barcelona revealed more of the app's range: a cloudy shot of Lima, Peru, or drizzly skies in Stockholm. The photography alone makes the app a must-have for globetrotters seeking inspiration.
Pros: Simple design, crystal-clear infographics and minimal user input make the app a pleasure to use. I appreciated that there was no setup required (and no, you don't need to be a Yahoo user to download it). The photography, though lovely, comes second to the streamlined interface, which makes it a real knockout.
Cons: It was disappointing to find recycled photography in the span of a single weekend, particularly when the app claims to source most of its images from Flickr (which surely has plenty to choose from). If you live outside a major metropolitan area, expect limited (if any) site-specific snaps. I test drove it with a day trip to Beacon, New York, and often clicked into the app to find a boring blue sky with a lens flare.
Platforms: iOS 5 and Android
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