Haze Review: Beautiful Weather App Places Form Over Function
|Release Date:||February 15, 2013|
Last week, it seemed like all the tech website “in the know” were raving about Haze, the new minimalist iPhone app that beautifully displays current and trending weather conditions. So, of course, I had to check it out for myself. What I found was, indeed, a beautiful app, albeit one that prefers to emphasize form even at the sacrifice of function.
First impressions are always important, and Haze gives a heck of a first impression. After a brief navigational tutorial, you are confronted with the initial information screen in the app: a single data point — temperature — in a white circle, imposed on an animated background of moving color. Wow! A single tap spawns more, smaller bubbles, offering you information like the day’s high temperature and the wind speed. It’s simple and colorful and likable.
Want more information? Swiping left (or tilting, if you enable it) brings you to a screen that tells you about the Sun conditions of the day — How many hours of sun will there be? When does it rise and set? — in the same bubble-on-color format. Swiping right from the temperature brings you to precipitation and humidity — How likely is it to rain? Should I bring an umbrella? — also in the bubble format. Swiping down reveals a five-day forecast, also in the minimalist, color-context format.
It’s pretty, for sure. Once you get used to the way Haze offers data, the app becomes imminently glanceable. Note the number and the color and the animation, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what today is like, not to mention how tomorrow might be different.
But having used Haze for a week now, I’ve found the app’s weakness: functionality. If you want a quick glance report concerning roughly how warm, sunny, and wet it is outside, Haze is the app for you. If you’re at all interested in the finer details of the forecast, or in any real details about the future forecast, you’re going to find Haze far less useful.
For example, during my first week with Haze, there was a weather advisory in my area — snow was coming, roads would be treacherous, allow extra time for travel. I only knew there was a weather advisory, though, because I have been comparing Haze all week to the Weather Channel app, which has been my go-to weather app for a few years now. Had I been relying solely on Haze, I would have gotten a colorful reminder that weather was coming in (dark colors in the sun screen, falling colors in the temperature screen, rising color in the precipitation screen) but no indication that it was going to be severe enough for concern, no indication that there was an actual, official *advisory* out there.
I also question how good the data is. Haze gets their data from Weather360. I’m not familiar enough with the service to say how trustworthy they are, but I will say that their forecasts and the forecasts from my Weather Channel app didn’t always agree. It might have only been a difference of a few degrees of high temperature or chance of rain, but it seemed consistent. Time will have to tell here.
Haze strikes me as an app that offers glanceable information that you can put away fast. But without some way to break past the minimalism to the information behind the colors, it’s an app that’s limited in functionality. It’s artistic expression that uses weather as its seed, and that’s cool; but I think it needs to do more before it becomes a fully functional weather app.
Our Score: 4 out of 5.
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