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

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?


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…