Just in time for the start of hurricane season, the new Weather.com has launched in beta. Available for viewing at preview.weather.com, the site sports a totally new look, with much less clutter than the current site.
Among the changes: a larger and more prominent “search” bar, which also accepts places (i.e. Disney World or Yankee Stadium) in addition to cities and zip codes. Users can also save up to three locations on the site for easy access.
The site also features apps depending on what the users interests are. A frequent traveler could add an “airport delays” app while an avid golfer could add a “golf course conditions” app.
There are also widgets that can be added to other sites and devices, such as Facebook.
Much like CNN’s iReport, Weather’s iWitness user-generated service is also getting prominent placement, and features a faster and easier upload process.
A Weather Channel VP outlined some of the changes in a blog post:
The styles for all headers, modules, tables, buttons and links are being simplified. Leaving are the hundreds of superfluous photos from the top of the site that not only made a lot of people feel lost but operationally added more cost than return. Also shrinking is the massive color palette. We have a color scheme for every topic from pets to home improvement. While some may say it was “fun”, I say it’s been a distraction keeping us from more valuable, customer-focused tasks.
And to all those who are interested in branding, we are taking a significant step to represent ourselves cross-platform as one company–The Weather Channel. We hope you’ll notice more and more similarities regardless of the medium you use.
Weather.com is one of the most visited sites online, so any sort of refresh is bound to be noticed. The addition of a larger search bar, capable of searching for places, is welcome, and is sure to make many visitors lives that much easier.
In addition, less clutter will probably make for a more enjoyable experience. Likewise, iWitness, which was a bit tricky to use on the old site, will probably see much more usage now.
What are your thoughts on the new Weather.com?