92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 4:00 PM
Assessing and Improving the NWS Point-and-Click Webpage Forecast Information
Room 243 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Julie L. Demuth, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and D. Hilderbrand, J. K. Lazo, and R. E. Morss

An important goal of weather forecasting is to serve society by communicating useful information that enhances people's decision-making and reduces their risk to life and property. A key way the National Weather Service (NWS) provides information to the public is via their point-and-click forecast web page, which includes the forecast-at-a-glance icons, text forecasts, and links to hazardous weather (watch, warning, and advisory) products. We are assessing NWS point-and-click (PnC) webpage users' experiences, interpretation, and preferences regarding weather forecast information. In the first year of this study, we employed multiple methods including focus groups, a usability lab study, and an Internet-based survey to identify issues with the current provision of the PnC forecast information. The two most significant issues that emerged are that (1) hazardous weather information is not adequately communicated on the PnC webpage, and (2) users want additional (temporal) forecast information on the PnC webpage. Based on these findings, we implemented two additional Internet-based surveys in Fall 2011 to systematically evaluate new ways of communicating hazardous weather information and higher temporal resolution forecasts. Based on the results of the full study, we will identify findings and make recommendations to the NWS Web Tactical Team to improve the communication of PnC forecast information in ways that better meet users' needs. This presentation will report those key results, findings, and recommendations.

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