Reinvented Weather Station: Usability Testing & Product Design

Nowadays, you can easily access weather information on your smartphone. This raises the question whether it is still useful to design a weather station for private households in order to address new target groups. Presentation of the concept & product design of an innovative weather station.

1. Task

Reinvention of a weather station for private households.

2. Concept

Analysis of target groups to find out where there is still potential for weather stations

3. Solution

Development of a weather station for children aged three years and older.

Excerpts from the development process of a new weather station for private households

The presented content has been shortened.

RESEARCH

herkömmliche wetterstationen im elektrohandel

Marktet Analysis

When looking at weather stations in the market these days, you will quickly notice that most models look rather old-fashioned and that they are overloaded with information. Weather data can also be displayed quickly and easily on your smartphone. Currently, there are about 60 million smartphone users in Germany.

 

For 95 percent of the population betweenthe ages of 14 and 49, a smartphone is indispensable. Since these convenient devices replace many others and present information in a clear and concise way, a newly developed weather station must offer a highly added value for the buyer.

Online Shops & App Store

There is hardly a selection of weather stations with new useful functions. Various weather apps, on the other hand, provide interesting and useful additional information such as pollen concentration, which is an added value – especially for allergy sufferers.

If you take a look at other application groups of weather stations, you will see that they are also used in agriculture to support optimal irrigation.

It would be quite possible to transfer this application case to the private household in order to create meaningful application possibilities for a newly developed weather station.

wetterstationen in online shops und wetter apps
usability tests von wetterstationen und wie diese konstruiert sind

Usability tests with weather stations and similar products

In order to identify the advantages and disadvantages of weather stations, several devices were tested within a period of time in everyday life.

Devices and apps that fit the context were also examined (e.g. light alarm clock / pollen count apps).

Afterwards, all pro and contra points were collected and improvement potentials were noted.

 

Most important derived potentials based on the usability tests:

1.     1. The product should be operated with a rechargeable battery instead of a power cable.

2.     2. The connection between the external measuring station and the base unit at home shall be automatic and the status shall be clearly visible.

3.     3. The operation could also be done via a smartphone to save rarely used buttons.

zerlegung einer wetterstation für testzwecke
zerlegung von wetterstationen für usability testzwecke

Technical analysis & weather station design

The devices from the usability test were analyzed according to their technical components. This allowed me to compare which ones were technically better solved and could therefore be transferred to the final product idea.

IDEATION

A possible new target group for weather stations would be children aged three years and older with an interest in garden plants.

The idea is to use the weather data from a weather station in such a way that it enables optimal watering of garden plants. This way, children can grow different plants themselves and develop their own sense of responsibility. A playful method for children to water their own plants in the garden using technological means would thus be a concrete application of such a weather station.

kinder bewässern pflanzen im garten als anwendungsfall der neuen innovativen wetterstation

The Produkt-Set

skizze basis station, pflanzensensor und app der wetterstation

1. Base station

The base station is located in the children’s room next to the bed. It receives weather data by radio and evaluates them in either rainy or dry days. This way, optimal watering of the plants can be planned in advance. The station also serves as a night light and light alarm clock for a natural wake-up process.

2. External plant sensors

The sensors control the moisture level in the soil. The data is sent to the base station by radio every minute to support the watering schedule.

3. Smartphone app for parents

The app serves as a plant database and new plants can be assigned to the sensors at any time. In addition, the app can be used to set a light alarm clock for the child to promote a natural process of waking up. Additionally, there is a function to set up children’s songs for waking up.

DESIGN

farbe und formgebung der neuen wetterstation weiße front mit smiley und türkiser hintergrund

Color & Design

The shape of the innovative weather station for children consists of soft edges and can be easily grabbed from the side. The front shell is semi-transparent white. The back can vary in color for boys and girls. The base station is placed on a charging cradle. The face on the front of the weather station symbolizes the condition of the plant in the garden, depending on the water requirements. It can look both happy and sad to appeal to the child emotionally.

pflanzensensor rotes oberteil und unten schwarz

Plant sensors

The shape of the plant sensors is the same as the base station’s. The sensor runs on a battery and regularly sends its status to the weather station. The case color can be selected according to your wishes.
A bed is controlled with such a plant sensor.

Industriedesigner gesucht

The App

The app's user interface graphically picks up the color of the base station and can be adjusted. In addition, the cut-out of the "ears" are used for navigation. In addition to the plant database, the app contains care instructions and shows parents whether their child always waters the plants and explains the implemented "score for care awareness". Parents are also regularly provided with tips to teach children more responsibility.

lichtwecker funktion der wetterstation

Light alarm clock in the morning

The time is displayed in large letters to help the children get used to numbers. In the morning, the alarm clock lights up with a smile, greets the child and plays his or her favorite songs to make the wake-up process as pleasant as possible.

trauriger smiley an der front der wetterstation

If the plants need water...

...the housing’s inner LED lights glow blue and the station looks sad to reach the child on an emotional level. As soon as the plants are watered, the station looks happy again.

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