The weather in the United Kingdom sucks. The designers at Nation know this and accept it like any other denizens of the British Isles, but they recognized that sometimes people just aren’t in the mood to face facts. What if there were a weather app for your phone that would tell you accurate information about today’s forecast, but “predict” that tomorrow was always going to be a perfect sunny day? On a lark, they went ahead and made one themselves called “Optimistic Weather.” Think of it like that classic Little Orphan Annie song “Tomorrow,” but in app form.
The current conditions are told with some dry British wit.
“The idea for the app came out of a conversation we were having in the studio about how wrong some online weather services appeared to be, and that it would be interesting if there was a service that lied to you when the weather was going to be rubbish,” designer Tom Hartshorn tells Co.Design. So they created a cast of adorable cartoon characters to represent cloudy, rainy, snowing, windy, and sunny days. When you open up the app, it tells you the truth about the current conditions with some dry British wit — a screen for thunderstorms notes that “It’s all fun and games until golfers start dying” — but invites you with a big friendly button to see what tomorrow holds. Tap it, and the dreary details of today spin away like a child’s pinwheel, revealing — what do you know? — a delightful clear sunny day to come! Now that’s what I call a good user experience.
Here’s the most surprising thing about “Optimistic Weather”: it’s a delightfully designed Android app. Yes, you read that right. Bet you didn’t think such a thing existed — neither did I. “We’ve built several native apps for iPhone but felt it was time to try our hand at an Android app and we thought this idea would be the perfect opportunity,” says Hartshorn. They built the app in Flash, so it requires installing Adobe Air on your phone in order to work. But that means that, unlike an iPhone app, they can port it to any other platform “without having to rebuild it from scratch,” Hartshorn explains. The app itself is a charmer, but the mere fact that Nation pulled it off on a platform infamous for dogshit design entitles them to some sort of medal for valor.