Review: WTHR, a dazzling weather app built on Dieter Rams’ 10 principles of design

By , Jun 26, 2012

Sick and tired of glorified weather apps that overload you with a bunch of stats or distract with broadcast-quality animations costing hundreds of megabytes of storage space, developer David Elgena set out to create the simplest weather app you could think of. With one twist…

It needed to be created with Dieter Rams’ 10 principles of design in mind.

The end product of his imagination is WTHR, quite possibly the most beautiful weather app you’ve ever laid your eyes on.

Raise hands who wants to decipher atmospheric pressure readings and read airline pilot-grade radar maps that weather anchors have trouble comprehending?

None?

Okay, and who’s up for something like this?


Weather apps don’t get any simpler and cleaner than this. The bottom switch flips between Fahrenheit and Celsisu and the round button refreshes weather data. Click to enlarge.

The instant I saw screenshots, I was sold on WTHR. I fell instantly in love and yes, it was an impulse purchase, but I doubt I’ll ever feel a buyer’s remorse.

There are only two buttons to worry about.

The first, found at the bottom, lets you pick between your Fahrenheit and Celsius readings.

The other refreshes weather data, during which the bottom seven-day forecast goes gray, with a subtle spinning wheel animation taking place.

That’s all there is to it.


Subtle and pleasing spinning dial animation during the refresh.

There are no settings to fumble through: the app automatically retrieves your geographical location via a global geolocation Weather API, pulls up-to-date data, crunches numbers and lays out your weather forecast in a way that doesn’t require any effort to grasp mentally whatsoever.

Heck, even children could use this app to tell the weather.

As you can imagine, checking your weather is no longer a rocket science and now requires only a brief glance at the handy weather icons (courtesy of Adam Whitcroft) that dial into view to depict your current atmospheric conditions.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run WTHR since buying it earlier this morning just to marvel at its Zen-like simplicity and appreciate the magnificent user interface oozing with calm.

I couldn’t be happier with this app design-wise: it perfectly compliments the elegant exterior of my white iPhone 4S. The blurb says WTHR is a weather utility app that will “compliment your life, not complicate it” and I couldn’t agree more – that’s what all weather apps should be.

Elgena told Chris Herbert of MacStories that future updates will bring a little more features, multiple locations and a dark mode. He also shared thoughts on his design process:

My intentions with WTHR was really to create something as beautiful as the device that hosts them… and I do believe that even UI designers and app developers could gain inspiration from Dieter Ram’s product designs.

Too often we load digital products with features and hidden or hard to use interfaces because we are suddenly given this almost infinitely layered product, the real discipline is control. There is no difference from when Dieter Rams was designing his first clock face…to an app on the iPhone.

To tell you the truth, I’m tingling with anticipation to see how Elgena adapts the program to the new iPad’s beautiful Retina display.

WTHR is a 99-cent download for the iPhone and iPod touch and I highly recommend it.

What’s your favorite weather app?

DISCLAIMER: yes, I’m a sucker for weather apps. I think I may have bought at least two dozen different weather programs for my iOS devices. Please, don’t tell anyone…

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • jose castro

    i like the scheme. but i think its to bright, and they should add some color. but other then that sweeeeeet

  • http://www.andrewcassone.tk/ NY Andrew

    I’ll stick with the stock weather app built in to the Notification Center.. Not gonna lie though that is very appealing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/masonicninja Michael Scott Allen

    Purchased. Because of this article. It’s beautiful, and frankly, exactly what I want for about 80% of my weather checks. I don’t always want maps and forecasts. This fits that bill perfectly. Thanks for the info!

  • Aric Bolf

    This app doesn’t give me the information i need.

    My favorite app is Weather Bug. The best part of Weather Bug is that the information is updated more often than the stock app and the weather channel app, which is very important living in tornado alley.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=564026879 Timothy Williamson

    Looks really nice, but the Notification Center Weather widget just makes it so effortless to check the weather.

    Also, reading the App Store reviews, it sounds like there may be an issue with WTHR not releasing GPS or location services after closing and even killing the app. Not sure if it’s a “real” issue though since some apps keep location services active, but are simply looking for significant location changes (not using GPS).

  • rosssimpson

    the only problem with this app is that when I close it, it goes back to Fahrenheit after I have changed it to Celsius, Fahrenheit is no good as I live in the UK, it’s a great UI though!

  • Appletiser

    if you like this you might want to head over to the App Store and search for the Minu Timer, it’s based on the same Dieter Rams principles – and it’s free! :)

  • http://twitter.com/cerielverschoor Ceriel Verschoor

    This has nothing to do with the 10 principles of design by Dieter Rams.

    Why have a quick switch for celsius and fahrenheit? That’s something you choose once depending on what you use. No need for a switch. So the switch is a useless gimmick and therefore does not follow the Dieter principles of design.
    Same for the roulette view of weathertypes. You’d expect you can rotate it yourself. But there’s no need for that either.

    It’s a hipster weather app, nothing to do with Dieter Rams principles of design.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cameron-Dasso/100000177342086 Cameron Dasso

    I bought this but in this case less is too little. Could use just a bit more detail if you tap a day you get wind speed and humidity. Also don’t understand the giant button for Celsius. Waste of space. The only way to kill gps after using this app is to turn off location services. Pretty but useless.

  • IndiePhoenix

    My favourite weather app is WeatherPro. I don’t think there is an app that could beat that one in terms of the wealth of information that it offers. You get the pressure, the dew point, sunrise, sunset, UV index, wind speed and lots of cool graphs. Really, really cool! :D

  • http://twitter.com/decaffe Caf Caf

    The GPS is constantly running in the background, even if you clear the app from multi-tasking. Turn off location services for the app, and the arrow goes away in the status bar. And if you do that, no weather.

  • http://tabapple.com/ Solomon Watts

    It doesn’t do anything for me! It sits there, not showing any weather data, yet the switch & refresh button buttons are still interactive