Chicago’s Channel 9 botches weather

Channel 9 used to have the best weather graphics in all of Chicago.  It was in grad school that this was first pointed out to me, in a course that talked about imparting information visually, and I marveled at how quickly one could take in so much complex information with just a quick glance at Tom Skilling’s weather map.

So when I wanted a button on the front of my blog so that I could check the weather instantly, for example, to see if I should mow the lawn now in case it was supposed to rain tomorrow, it was WGN Channel 9 I linked to.  Their weather page opened on a five day forecast with little weather icons.  A quick scroll down got you the radar map. With another click you could animate the weather map to see any incoming storms. Here it is (on the right), in all its simplicity, from the Wayback Machine.

But all good things come to an end, and this link deteriorated. Now it displays nothing but the current temperature, something you can find out more quickly by opening a window, if you don’t have one already open.

Looking a little further, you can find Channel 9’s current weather page, but it isn’t any better. Across the top is a photo montage of their TV personalities, whoever they are, then the cutesy photographs for the day.  In the summer they show darling children playing at the beach, today they have the pretty, pretty trees turning color.  Very nice if you have ADD and need to be reminded of what seasons are, but not so good if you want to know the weather forecast quickly on your way out the door.

Fortunately there is an alternative.  An oddball site called Wunderground uses pretty much the same format as the old Channel 9 page,with a few obligatory commercials thrown in. When you open the page you get the five day forecast complete with cloud and sun icons, and radar map, all above the fold, then scrolling down there is almanac and airport information, then at the very end, information about sunrise and moon phase.
Goodbye blunderweather, hello Wunderweather.


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