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BOM delivers free app

In October last year the Bureau of Meteorology launched BOM, delivering a weather app directly from the source. What’s more, the app was developed using the DTA’s Digital Service Standard.

Salsa Digital 31 January 2017

Why another weather app?

In an insightful guest blog for the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), Jenny Hunter, Head of Digital, Bureau of Meteorology, discussed the fact that so many people asked the Bureau of Meteorology for a weather app, despite the many apps already in the market.

The Bureau’s user research set them on the path of a ‘simple’ app, identifying that most people wanted: “...the radar, the forecasts and the current temperatures. Information to answer questions such as ‘am I likely to get wet?’.”

The approach delivered, with 400,000 users downloading the app in the first month (a figure that exceeded the Bureau’s expectations).

The BOM app

The BOM weather app is a simple, user-friendly app that allows you to view weather conditions in your current location or multiple locations (which can be easily saved as favourites so you can switch between locations, fast). The main screen shows:

  • The current temperature

  • Today’s forecast (minimum and maximum temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity and forecast rain)

  • A six-day forecast

  • More detailed info on the weather condition for the next 24 hours, broken into three-hour blocks

  • The radar

An icon at the top right allows you to view a summary of warnings and the menu system provides access to your different locations, new locations, capital cities, FAQs, About, Privacy and Feedback.

The app is easy to use and provides a great ‘at a glance’ experience.

Using the Digital Service Standard

The BOM app was developed using the DTA’s Digital Service Standard (the app and the Standard were actually being developed at the same time). In her guest blog, Ms Hunter said the Standard provided many benefits, such as ensuring they had: a multidisciplinary team in place; well-developed KPIs; a deeper user discovery process; and were able to identify accessibility issues early on.

The app’s performance is also measured, as per Digital Service Standard 11: Measure performance. The Bureau’s goal is to receive user reviews of above four stars. Currently, the app is sitting on 4.2 in Google Play and a little under 4 in the Apple Store.

Salsa Digital’s take

The BOM app is a great example of a successful digital project. We love the fact that it was developed in conjunction with the Digital Service Standard — essential guidelines that ensure the best digital experience possible — and think it’s evident in the final product. And even though there are lots of weather apps out there, the BOM app transforms the way the Bureau interacts and communicates with Australian citizens, providing direct access for the first time. Yes, the app is ‘simple’ but it also delivers by providing the most important information in an easy-to-read format. And even better, it’s free and ad-free.

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