Usable?11th June 2012
Not so long ago, the Met Office introduced a major change to its website and I’m not so sure that it’s all that successful. In fact, I still have a link to one of the old pages and they remain live if hidden away from view. One example is the rain radar page.
The new website dispatched niceties like bookmarking local weather forecasts on there that you often visited and even the backward and forward arrows for navigation through weather forecasts and several hours’ worth of weather conditions. The latter is handy when you want to see how fast a rain belt is moving; it’s not where it is that always matters but where it is going and how long it sticks around.
In its favour, the new website has five day forecasts for more locations and each is broken down over the course of a day for all five days too. Previously, we only got that for two days out of five. The old bookmarks are gone but the website remembers the last five locations for which you looked for weather forecasts so that’s a partial concession.
The weather maps are where I feel there to be some degradation even if we now get period by period forecasts for five days at a time. The old site had its moments of unresponsiveness and the new one feels more so. These manifest themselves with five day location forecasts and also with maps too. For example, seeing the progress of a rain belt is less easy now because the loss in smoothness with the new maps. The absence of previous/next buttons is noticeable too. Being able to zoom into the maps is all well and good but it seems to have come at a cost. If it was possible to click on a location’s weather icon to get a five tabular forecast, then that would be something more in return but that opportunity was not taken.
All in all, I am unconvinced by the Met Office website’s redesign. Only time will tell if they have another go and I for one hope that they do. Perhaps, then they could bring back the good features from before in a way that fits in with where they want to go. As things stand, it reminds me of the uninspiring feel of Windows Vista and I’d like to see them make a Windows 7 of it.