Not Horrendous

Bewildered ramblings from a daft designer floundering at the deep end of the creative pool.

Employ me: east

Stay Updated: RSS / Email

Img credit

Weather App That Tells You What To Wear – Wearther

/ Thoughts & Opinion

Listen to this post (or download the mp3)

Last “summer” in Scotland I had an hour long commute to and from work. I would check the weather on my phone (and by looking outside) every morning, but because the weather was pretty changeable in Edinburgh, I’d have a bit of bother figuring out what to wear.

I always found myself taking a jacket and ending up carrying it later, or going out in a t-shirt, but finding out I should have taken something waterproof.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt there might be a problem here that I can help solve.

I had an idea swimming around in my head for a while which started to come together.

A Weather App With A Difference

When you look at your weather app in the morning, you see the temperature, perhaps a “feels like” indicator with numbers in degrees, and an icon. More often than not (in Edinburgh anyway) a cloud, with rain and maybe a wee bit of sun poking out. Sometimes it even has a cloud, rain, sun and a wee snowflake.

Great stuff – it’s a simple enough weather forecast, but here’s the thing. Do you know what those numbers and icons “feel” like? Do you know what to wear if it “feels like” 15 degrees Celsius?

Another frustration was that during trips to America, often I would get told the temperature in Fahrenheit. It takes a bit of getting used to, because now numbers over 50 degrees could be cold, and the scale doesn’t make as much sense to someone used to Celsius (or “degrees sensible” as I like to call it).

So what about if you could get a more accurate idea of what to wear?

My first thought was that I could make a chart for myself  so that I could remember when it went below say, 12 degrees, I knew not to just wear a T-shirt. A sort of scale with icons at the relevant points. Here was what I had considered:

Weather Chart Poster

As much as this would be a fun project to create and even wall-mount as a print or vinyl sticker, it didn’t quite to the trick.

If this was something I was to try and market, or even use long-term, there are a few flaws.

  • Everyone is different in their ability to handle the weather. People will have different “break points”.
  • Some people wear different things, some like a big jacket, some like to layer up.
  • Temperature is not the only factor in choosing what to wear.

So let’s assume everyone wanted to wear sensible appropriate clothing (that takes any party-girl aged 16-20 in Scotland out of the equation straight off the bat). Then we can perhaps do something useful here.

My next thought was that perhaps an app would be more useful – not necessarily a phone app (although that format is fine for now) but I could see this being on a display next to your door in the hallway, or next to your bedroom window (even on your bathroom mirror) – now we’re talking. Internet Of Things etc.


So the first thing someone might need to do is calibrate the app over the course of a few days. Perhaps there are some initial values set up – but they’re easily moved to your preference.

We assume that t-shirt weather is when it “feels like” 16 degrees or above. We can take wind in to account, so perhaps if it’s windy, the scale changes and t-shirt weather becomes 18 or 20 degrees. We could also use geo-location to show that if you’re in a warmer area, perhaps the south of France, then t-shirt weather might still be the case down at 14 degrees, maybe even 12.

So we have a set of calculations that set our “break-points” as it were. Then we just have to make those points movable so that if someone wants to raise or lower their threshold for t-shirt weather, they can.

Predictions have to come in to it too – in a changeable weather environment such as Scotland, there might need to be a “also make sure you carry” option – where umbrellas could be specified, or maybe “take a bag for your jacket” could be noted.

For the interface we provide easy to understand icons showing what sort of clothing you might want to use for going outside. We’re assuming this is for outside use, since if someone is inside, we can’t predict the climate really.

The interface also allows customisation so that primarily male or female clothes can be specified. Then perhaps if you don’t have shorts, the app can be adapted to your own wardrobe to an extent (maybe you have “lighter trousers” you prefer). For this we would require a large range of icons to account for each possible wardrobe, from fur-coats and salopets, to short skirts, shawls, onesies and whatever else people wear.

After a few days of use, or some well calculated inputs from the user – the app would start to become much more useful. you wake up, check the app for what sort of clothes to wear (a recommendation only of course) and hey presto – you can dress appropriately for the day.

Here is how I imagine it looking.


I would love to hear what people thought about this – is it a viable idea? Worth pursuing? Has it been done before??

My only other thought is that it could probably be called Wearther. Catchy!

Stay Updated: RSS / Email

Alex Cowles

About The Author: Alex Cowles

A largely cynical and often sarcastic designer and front-end developer by day. Unknown international DJ & music producer extraordinaire by night (and at weekends). You probably won't like him.