Methods for Improving Graphical Weather Information Design at National Weather Service

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 4:00 PM
221A-C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
John J. Brost, NOAA/NWSFO, Tucson, AZ; and A. Ross

Within the last decade, the National Weather Service (NWS) has greatly increased the dissemination of graphical weather information to the public and our stakeholders. Examples include the “Weather Story” or “Graphicast”, the “Heads-Up E-mail” and the “Multimedia Weather Briefing”. These graphical products quickly gained in popularity and are now expected from the NWS during hazardous weather events. However, the NWS is comprised primarily of meteorologists and not graphic artists. Neither do we have universal expertise in using high quality graphic design software. Thus, the graphical products vary in quality on an individual basis. This poses a potential problem as the NWS emphasized a greater need for consistency in our products and services. The NWS in Tucson attempted to address some of the concerns on a local level by utilizing the skills and talents of a visual communications student with the University of Arizona. This student spent nearly six months serving as a volunteer with the NWS in Tucson and was responsible for critiquing NWS graphical products and later designing templates for various weather types. This presentation will primarily focus on the method employed to improve the quality and consistency of NWS Tucson graphical products. In addition, this presentation will provide working examples of the graphical products developed by the visual communications student.