(Morning Rain drops on Day Lilies)
I love stats. For Design Thinking we often get our best "Insights" from User Interviews at at a person-by-person/micro-level but sometimes I just like looking at macro-level info like download statistics.
So what stands out? The Weather Channel is #2 on iPad (free) and #7 on the iPhone (free). It's only behind Skype on the iPad. There are 10 million downloads for the iPad App since 2010!
I was a little shocked at first. However afterwards I realized how many times when I wake up I check the weather (especially when I need to know how to dress my 2.5 year-old for daycare). Checking the weather forecast (regardless of how accurate) is so natural, it's like checking the calendar or the time/clock. People *need* weather info.
Amazingly if you search weather on iTunes you will get tons of apps. It seems that this *particular* app is heads and shoulders above the rest in downloads. When compared to other apps in general, it's surprisingly even more popular than Netflix and YouTube, which I thoughts were mainstays for Mobile Devices. (However I have this eerie feeling that Google Maps, when it comes out on iPad might eclipse them all shortly... see Google Shows Off Upcoming Map Changes, Announces iPad App)
Here is a screen-shot off the iPad and it's honestly not that complex. It's fairly "plain-Jane" simple with what seems like a download bar for % chance of rain. (FYI - I keep expecting the blue bars to finishing download something... but it *never* does...that would be my first feedback to Weather Channel if they reading...my mind has a totally different expectation for this control). It is technically free *but* it does come with built-in ads (which I initially thought would drive users to other apps...). The ads are fairly large @ the bottom of the app. Honestly it's not that different from The Weather Network's app or others I've seen or used.
Bottom Line: Mix a Maslow's like need with decent execution you get a great success story! Maybe that's the "Insight". Primal need trumps slick design, neat-UX and eye-candy every time.
It's like original Google site for weather. It doesn't have barometric pressure or wind speed, etc. It's just displays YES or NO answer. If you are asking: "for the record" as novel as the idea behind Umbrella Today is... unfortunately isn't my go-to site.