Surf Forecast

UX/UI Design, UX Research, Product Design

The client's app is one of the most powerful surf forecasting tools but they didn't want to stop there. The goal was to find new ways to please customers and increase engagement.

Challenge:

Discover gaps between the existing product and user needs. Re-design and/or add features so that app better addresses user needs.

Solution:

Create a feature that alerts the user when surf conditions at certain locations meet their unique criteria.

Research

An interview and brief survey related to habits, pain points and preferences helped to shed light on user behaviors.

User Interview Takeaways:

1. Surfing is territorial. Users are unlikely to make public reports.
2. Users rely on reports to determine conditions before they go.
3. Conditions & reports change quickly requiring users to check app frequently.
4. Surf cameras are helpful to users but are not available in many locations.
5. Surf reports are complex. A simple star rating system isn't sufficient for accurate predictions.

Competitive Analysis:

Many competing apps try to incorporate a social component such as users generated reports however, this solution proved to be unreliable and untimely. Research showed surfers are unlikely to report good conditions publicly not to mention updates cannot happen when surfers are still in the water, the most likely scenario when conditions are good.

One of the most helpful features of a competing app was local forecasts by local experts, however, this feature would be difficult to scale and was not available in many locations.

Understanding the User

Personas and journey maps helped to further understand the user.

Analysis & Ideation

The app was a proven tool for checking surf but it didn't allow users to be notified when the surf changed or when conditions became ideal in their area. Using the knowledge gained from research, I came up with a few features that would add value for users.

Ideation:

1. Send notifications in advance of user defined conditions. 
2. Send notifications in advance or historical conditions, previously saved by the user. 
3. Update user on changes in conditions at times they’ve defined to go surfing.
4. Allow users to talk and post photos in public chat about conditions at surf spot. 

Solution

The chosen solution was an alert feature that notifies users when surf conditions are predicted to meet their unique criteria. Wireframes and a protoype for usability testing that I created for this feature are shown below.

Being able to set surf alerts gives an added layer of value to the user. They no longer have to constantly check the app and dig through variables to determine if it's worth going to the beach.