Title: Icon Project Comment Review: A Full Analysis of Feedback Regarding the New NWS Forecast Icons
Presenter: James Luehrs, Eli Jacks
Abstract: In July 2015, NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) significantly upgraded its point forecast pages, including the forecast icons. Changes include new icon images with increased clarity, 6 hour increments for rapidly changing weather and new color blocks to highlight forecast hazards.
Changes to the icons were based on the analysis of over 6.700 public comments NWS collected in 2014. In addition, many changes were based off of the results of a recent research project led by the National Center of Atmospheric Research. (NCAR). During this research, NCAR researchers conducted two rounds of surveys with more than 13,000 users of NWS forecasts, asking them to evaluate designs to assess which were best at communicating a severe thunderstorm warning and a flood watch. The surveys showed that users were significantly better at identifying the timing and nature of the weather threat when the information was presented with the new graphics and reinforced with wording that stated the start and stop times of the threat.
Before the new icons were implemented, NWS enabled the public to preview the changes in parallel to the point forecast pages in the two and half months leading up to the official launch date. Users were encouraged to provide additional feedback during this period as well as in the weeks following the implementation of the new products. As of early August 2015, over 1,500 comments have been collected, all of which have been read thoroughly, documented and analyzed.