top of page

VELA

Mobile-first application

Overview

Vela is a mobile-first weather application meant for water sports aficionados - sailors, surfers, divers etc., who quickly need to check weather reports which are beautifully displayed and easy to understand.

 

The application displays complex weather data in an easy-to-comprehend manner. With included community and safety features it fulfills all the sport enthusiasts' main requirements for a fun and safe day out on the waters.

My role

UX Research

UI Elements

Brand Design

My Tasks

Market Research

User Interviews

Card Sorting & Sitemaps

User Flows & Journeys 

Affinity maps

Usability Testing

A/B Testing

Visual Identity

Tools

Figma

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Photoshop

Lyssna

Optimal Sort

Paper & Pencil

Frame 21.png

Process

Inspiration

Understand

Observe

01 - Defining a problem

02 - Market research &                  competitive analysis 

Conceptualization

POV

Ideate

03 - Defining users needs          and problems

04 - Building the IA (user

        flows & journeys,

        card sorting)

Iteration

Exposition

Prototype

Test

04 - Building the IA (Wireframes &

        Prototypes)

05 - Usability Testing

Story 

Telling

Present

06 - Designing a visual                    identity and the UI

07 - Final Design

Month 1

Month 2-4

Month 4-7

Month 7-8

01

Defining a Problem

Problem Statement

Water sports enthusiasts need a way to see the real-time weather data on the water and to do it in the safest possible way, because delayed or incomplete information about the weather conditions or overestimating one’s skills, might lead to poor or even dangerous experiences on the water.

 

We will know this to be true when users start to use community and safety features on an app to find a surfing buddy or contact sea rescue before their trip. 

Possible solution

A weather app synced with real-time weather data which offers the possibility for users to connect with fellow water sports aficionados. An app also provides security with alerts when the weather changes and a possibility to mark their surfing location when going in the waters alone. Because of the community page water sports enthusiasts have also the possibility to find each other and to go to water together, which is especially helpful when one of the users is a traveller and new to certain locations. 

02

Market Research & Competitive Analysis

Overview of the analysis

I started by analysing 3 competitive companies which were chosen by the various qualities and features they offer to their clients. During the analysis, I defined competitors overall strategy, market advantage, key objectives, greatest assets, marketing profile and SWOT. For the most downloaded app through Google Play and the greatest competitor in the market - Windy, I also conducted a thorough UX Analysis. 

Windy's background

OVERALL STRATEGY

Windy alnalyses and processes weather data from dozens of weather models, to provide accurate weather data with detailed information about different water and weather conditions. 

01
MARKET ADVANTAGE
Established user base among individuals and companies. 
02
KEY OBJECTIVES

A professional weather app for wind and water sports enthusiasts but also for businesses to access the archives of weather data and to get current weather data in various formats and with variety of parameters. 

03
GREATEST ASSET
A big geographical coverage with in-depth and excessive information about different weather conditions like wind, air and water temperature, clouds, precipitation, atmospheric pressure, water swells, tides and speed and light parameters. Being the market leader in providing weather data as a service. 
04

Windy's marketing profile

Affirms its position in the market by claiming on its home page to be the best outdoor app for sports and outdoors by the World Meteorological Organization. 

Next to a web app and a blog Windy uses various social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where they regularly post updates about the various webinars, tips and tricks for users, app updates, windy community etc. So, each account serves a different purpose according to its means of communication. 

Windy offers service through their web app, Android and IOs and their main target audience varies from amateurs to professional sportsmen and businesses. 

Windy web application full page screen capture.

Windy's SWOT analysis

  • Wide geographical coverage in 243 countries. 

  • Can sort weather data according to an individual’s interest in sports. 

  • The main features are free to use. Longe weather predictions and history are accessible with a premium account. 

  • Wide user and fan base - has created a separate platform for users to connect through stories, texts and images. 

  • To a feature for users about safety in the waters. To add a possibility to mark their location when going on the water and let friends or family know about their position. 

  • To add an alert feature when weather conditions change drastically and it is not safe to be on the water. 

S

O

W

T

  • With a lot of possibilities, a user has to go through a thorough introduction of the pages and iconography to fully understand what are the possibilities provided by the Windy app. 
  • Has a lot of community pages available but it is difficult to maintain all the features in a cohesive manner. Community feature has a lot of subpages which sometimes repeat themselves or haven't reached to their maximum potential. 
  • Smaller companies with a personal approach where auser feels they are part of the community instead of a big generic business. 

Windy UX Analysis

Click on the image to see a full analysis.

03

Defining users' needs and problems

User Interviews

To understand users' needs, goals and motivations, I conducted user interviews with potential users. All interviewees were related to various water sports on different skill levels - from beginner to expert. Because of their diverse demographics, I was able to identify several features they are missing in their experience right now.

Affinity Maps

After transcribing and analysing the interviews I was able to identify the keynotes on 3 different topics (weather, safety & and community) as the base for the affinity map. 

User Insights

Users usually don't check the weather data over 2 days as it is unreliable, and can not be changed. The biggest emphasis must be put on a 2-day forecast - to get this as accurate as possible. This data should be free, otherwise, there is no advantage over the competitors. 

01

Users use various pages to get information about the weather, their sports and to connect with fellow sportsmen. Therefore, novice sportsmen's enthusiasm might decline because of the time they need to put in to find relevant pages with correct weather information. For experts, it is a huge inconvenience to sync all their data between devices and pages. By the end of the research 3 key features - weather, safety and community, were identified, which users needed to have a positive experience on the waters. All of which are equally important to keep a users engaged and to have a advantage among the competitors.

02

Users need and seek a connection with other sportsmen through social media and local clubs. They want to hear other people's experiences around different obstacles and also to offer their knowledge based on their experience. Therefore they need a well-thought-through platform to connect, motivate and share information. This should involve the competitions, shared images, routes, gear and tips - as these are the most in-demand information when analysing user interviews.

03

When creating Free and PRO (paid) accounts there is no reason to make a user's PRO accounts reliable on the longer forecasts but to put the priority on the community page. With PRO accounts users can offer paid services, for example being guides and organizing tours and participating in these tours by paying for this service through an app. Due to safety reasons both of these accounts need to be verified, have a rating system by other users and be connected with a credit card or with a third application. 

04

User Personas

User interviews gave great insight and a base to create profiles of three main personas of an app.

 

Firstly an avid professional paddler, Mateo, participates in competitions and events and organizes paddling courses for children.  Then Ebba, who is a beginner surfer, and loves to seek out new opportunities, but lacks confidence and knowledge on how to do it safely. And finally, Matthijas, a professionally trained sailor, who has an educational background in the marine industry and knows exactly what kind of information he is looking for.

 

All of these personas' needs, goals and wants are based on real-life interviews with people with diverse demographical backgrounds.

Click on the image to see the full persona profile.