5 iphones each with a different screen of an app showing, on a beach background

Project Overview: Splash


Water-sports enthusiasts need detailed weather to stay safe, but many users find detailed weather charts confusing and hard to read.

Potential Solution:

A weather app with easy to read weather charts that is customizable so that users don’t have to sift through charts they don’t need.

Introducing Splash:

Splash is a responsive web app for people who like to be out on the water all day. It makes it easy to save favorite places (or discover new ones) compare conditions for each location quickly, keep track of all your gear, and drag and drop the weather charts to see what you need first.

This was my student project for the CareerFoundry UX Immersion course.

My Role:

  • Competitor Research
  • Business Requirements Document
  • SWOT analysis
  • User Stories
  • User Research
  • Affinity mapping
  • Persona creation
  • User Journeys
  • User flows
  • Information architecture
  • Prototyping and sketches
  • Usability testing
  • Preference tests
  • Style guide
How might we help people stay safe on the water?

Defining Requirements

Competitor Analysis:

I tried out some highly regarded apps (such as Windy, shown here) and confirmed the initial hypothesis that detailed weather maps are overwhelming in the amount and display of information they offer. Not only is Windy overwhelming but the menus disappear depending where the user taps on the screen.

Potential improvements
  • consistent navigation
  • reduce visual/cognitive load

Next, I brainstormed user stories and developed interview and survey questions.

User Research:

  • Interviewed 6 water-sport lovers
  • Ran a survey to determine broader trends
  • Created an affinity map

When tackling a new challenge, I find myself filled with questions. I’m passionate about UX Research because I can put my questions to use right away.

I truly enjoyed meeting and chatting with the interview participants and consider research one of my favorite aspects of the design process.

What I learned:

During the interviews a new, deeper problem came to light: None of my interviewees liked their weather apps. I asked which they used, how they chose them, and what features they most liked or disliked. Nearly everyone used the one that came preinstalled on their phone. “But it’s not very good,” they’d add. ‍

If I had been a more experienced researcher, I might have pursued that insight. Why don’t people feel they have a choice in weather apps? What does that mean for our product?

Interview Insights:

  • City users don’t often have their own transportation, so also don’t own their own equipment. They’ll need to know where they can go rent.
  • Based on users frustrations, we should provide info on: severity of rain, wind speeds, tides, water quality. We should show radar and make locations quick to set and save.
  • People each have personal gear lists, so we should include checklists and provide optional reminders. We should over a base-level checklist with options to add or subtract.
  • Weather is often different on the water, so pinpointing specific areas, particularly on the body of water as opposed to the land, will be important. This also highlights the need to be able to set and save multiple locations.

Creating personas:

I learned that Splash’s main user groups are the less technical users who nonetheless need more detailed weather than the average weather app provides.

  • Adventurous sailors and boaters who are on the ocean often, who may have more specialized knowledge
  • Older people who are not especially athletic, but have the means and spare time to have their own equipment and travel around
  • City-dwellers without their own cars or equipment, who often rent from community boating clubs
Persona card for Owen, 35 year old photographer, avid ocean sailor, rower, and boater.
Persona card for Kimberly, 60 year old data analyst, who kayaks and boats on a lake.
Persona card for Hannah, a 28 year old teacher's aid living in Boston. She kayaks and swims but must rent her equipment because she doesn't own a car.

Defining the Scope

Journey Maps:

These took me through some scenarios described by my interviewees, mostly necessitating features that would come in later versions of the product. For the MVP I decided to stick with the basics.

Journey map of Owen as he sails to an island looking for a spot to camp
Journey Map for Kimberly as she plans and participates in a kayaking adventure with her family
Journey map for Hannah as she prepares for and enjoys a day at the beach

User flows:

I knew that revisiting favorite locations was a common activity, so I made it easy to keep a list of often-visited spots so that users could compare conditions on a given day to decide where to go.

Each user also reported a long list of things they wouldn’t want to forget, so I implemented checklist creation, along the same lines as creating the list of favorite places.

Finally, I wanted the weather itself to be customizable, because each user has different weather needs and it is frustrating and visually overstimulating to have to scroll past charts you don’t need.

flow chart describing each interaction of how a user would add new favorite places to a list
flow chart of how a user could edit the arrangement of weather charts for their individual weather home page
a flow chart of each step for a user to create a custom checklist of items for their day of water sports

Information architecture

Breaking things down into their most granular details, I began to develop the information architecture. I conducted a card sort and with the results I finalized the site map.

breakdown of each item from the site map and how it was organized as the result of a card sorting test, to determine what items belong with what other items in the site's architecture.Site map of the information architecture of the site, starting with the home page list of saved locations, with details of the weather page, packing checklists, profile, and help


iphone showing mobile weather chart page for Splash

What I learned: Adobe XD

Since this was my very first UX project, I had never used a design program before.
I tried out a lot of YouTube content before I found a few great teachers of all things Adobe XD, but ultimately took a Udemy course in XD to really get my head around the tool. Now I feel confident I have a handle on it.


Nothing is cheaper than pencil and scrap paper to get out the first ideas.

Paper sketch of early ideas for the splash app on mobile
early paper sketch of how the checklist feature would be laid outEarly paper sketch of how the list of saved spots would look

The beginning of the checklist tab and the favorite places tab

Mid-Fidelity Wireframes:

Though I did some in Balsamiq, these are my first attempts at Adobe XD.
I prototyped at this level of fidelity so that I could run usability tests before getting too fancy with colors and images.

early wireframe made in Adobe XD of two favorite locations with the search box to select more locations
Early wireframe made in Adobe XD of a packing checklist
Early wireframe created in Adobe XD of the sign-up page for the splash app
Early wireframe created in Adobe XD that shows the weather page.


Usability Testing:

I developed a detailed usability test script and plan, linked up these still colorless screens and got 5 people to test the prototype out. Using my notes, I put all the data into a color-coded spreadsheet to show which errors were most severe and required immediate attention.

Test Results:

Many of the issues discovered were issues with the functioning of the prototype, not overall issues with the design. But fixing the prototype is important because it is the first experience stakeholders will have with the product.

screenshot of a spreadsheet detailing each error that happened during usability testing, how common it was, and what can be done to fix it.Screenshot of more of this error-documenting spreadsheet

Continuous Iteration:

I continued to iterate on the design over time, using preference tests and collaborating with other design students.

Iphone screen with annotation, showing the saved spots page and where to add a new location
iphone showing the saved spots screen, this time with two saved spots so that weather from each location can be easily compared and linked to a detailed forecast
iphone screen showing the "edit" screen of the packing checklist feature, showing the drag and drop feature in action. Annotation says that this feature works on the weather charts and saved spots too, so that a user could rearrange any item in the app to suit themselves

Style Guide:

a color palette showing all 10 colors used in the app, including shades of grey white and black, with color names and hex codes to help developers make exact matchesa collection of all the icons used in the app, with credit given to Auto Icons and Icons 4 Design plugins where some of the icons were taken from.List of all the fonts weights, sizes, and types used in the app.View the full Splash style guide

Final Shots

5 iphone screens with final UI of the app shown, on the background of a beach/ocean scene. Settings page, sign in page, weather, saved spots, and checklists
Iphone and macbook pro, each showing the weather page of the Splash web app in their corresponding breakpoint sizes, on a background of a beach/ocean scene

What's Next?

The current prototype represents what could be released as an MVP.
Time in the world or further testing would determine whether my ideas for checklists or other features are helpful to users.
The personas have higher level needs that could be addressed in future iterations, such as:

  • Downloadable offline forecasts
  • Interactive maps - access to state park informtion to help navigate river rapids or safely camp
  • Ideal condition alerts

Thanks so much for reading!

Big thanks to my mentor, Lo Partsch and tutor, Tasha Salgado. The surfboard photograph is by Jess Vide from Pexels. The placeholder radar map is a screenshot of Wunderground. The location map is a screenshot of Google Maps with pins added, with the idea that Splash would be integrated with Google Maps.
a gif file showing how the weather page looks as a user scrolls down and then horizontally scrolls to see the weather details
top ^
cute hand-drawn bunny