November 16, 2010
A more effective display of Weather.com’s hourly forecast
My daughter had a soccer game last weekend across town early in the morning and the weather was predicted to be quite cold. Naturally I went to weather.com to check the hourly forecast, but this time something struck me.
Notice the vertical scale. It’s not zero-based. Sure, it’s simply showing the changes in temperature, but as I scrolled through the pages, the axis values changed, that is, the range did not stay consistent. I also noticed that 12am is repeated, that’s kind of odd. Fusion Charts is their tool of choice.
I would have used Tableau to create a simpler chart. Unfortunately I lose the nice pictures across the top of each hour, which I really like, and the gentle shading (though why use gold for night hours…doesn’t gold mean sunny?), but I gain a zero-based scale and a line that I can color based on temperature, with the mid-point at 32 degrees. Below 32 = red, above 32 = green.
In this view the variances in the temperatures are even easier to see. You can see the huge change from 6am to 3pm and then the dramatic drop as sunset approaches. Which view works best for you?