Change in the Weather
Executive Product Manager
Michael Burnett is the executive product manager for BBC Weather’s highly popular mobile app and website. In this blog, he explains exciting changes under way as BBC Weather moves to a new weather services supplier, MeteoGroup. MeteoGroup is a global weather company with headquarters in the UK, that combines accurate science with advanced technology and local expertise with global reach.
Over the next few weeks, exciting new updates will be coming to the BBC’s weather service. Millions of users of the BBC Weather website and applications on iOS, Android and Kindle will start to see a number of improvements. For some users of our website, that starts today.
We are able to bring you these as the BBC begins a partnership with our new weather service provider, MeteoGroup. Together we can offer more forecast data, overhaul the technical architecture behind the online services and improve the way our services look across all platforms. This is just the beginning. There will be more improvements over the next few months and new features which aim to enhance your user experience.
Like most new digital products these days, we will be phasing the roll-out of the enhanced services to make sure they keep running to the highest standard. Over the next couple of weeks more and more of our audience will be taken to our new site and be given the option to update their BBC Weather app. The improved functions users will benefit from include:
- New 14-day forecast: Our new site and apps will now have access to more data than ever before which means we can show you up to 14 days of hourly forecast data for UK locations and major international cities
- New forecast features: In addition to new moving graphics, we know audiences want more information to plan their days and so we’ve added new data fields like ‘chance of rain’ and ‘feels like’ temperature
- More locations: We’ve also added thousands of new locations, including many international, to our database to make sure you can find the weather for where you are and wherever you want to go
- New interactive map: On the website you will see a new weather map for all forecast locations, helping to show the bigger picture of weather ahead in your area. Clicking on it, will take you to a full interactive map experience, allowing you to scroll and zoom around your local area, region, country and even the globe
- More to come: This launch is just the start and more improvements are on the way, but you’ll start to see visual differences as we refresh the site and apps, and offer a much more consistent and unified look & feel across TV and digital platforms
What made all this possible are the real advances in app and digital technology that we’ve utilised by redesigning our digital architecture. For the aficionados out there, cloud technologies have changed how the BBC develops and deploys software.
Video will be back on the site as soon as we’ve moved fully across to our new Weather partner
We’ve used our cloud services platform provider and the BBC’s own deployment system Cosmos, along with the CloudFormation infrastructure management tool, to rebuild our new services on Weather. This means we can now iterate and scale in a fast and efficient way.
People sometimes say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” so I want to emphasise this is not change for change’s sake. We carried out extensive user testing and prototyping to find out what worked and what didn’t so we could pinpoint improvements in design and user experience.
One thing that will be noticeable to everyone is a much more consistent look across all platforms. Graphics you will see on TV in a few weeks' time will also be instantly recognisable on the app and website as well as symbols and animations. As we start to roll out personalisation, these user experience enhancements will become even more apparent.
Go to full-screen version of map for an overview of the weather, toggle forecast and observation data layers, including pressure and radar
You can read more here about the BBC’s plans to make its products and services more personalised and relevant to our audiences. BBC Weather is no exception – we have big plans to make sure our users get a more personal experience when they signed-in, where they can sync their locations and get personalised notifications for the weather where they are.
We hope you’ll love the new and improved BBC Weather service just as much as we do. We always listen to our audiences and take your feedback on board so let us know what you think.
We’ve put together some answers to commonly asked questions about the new site, such as where ‘favourites’ and video have gone, as well as how to get to pressure maps. And, if you need more information about using ‘My locations’, check out our explainer.