7B.6 Weather on the Go: An Assessment of Smartphone Mobile Weather Applications Use among College Students

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 11:30 AM
613 (Washington State Convention Center )
Minh Duc Phan, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC; and B. E. Montz, T. M. Rickenbach, and S. Curtis

Millions of people in the United States regularly acquire essential information from weather forecasts for a wide variety of reasons. A myriad of sources exists for obtaining daily weather information, and the rapid growth in mobile device technology has created a very convenient means for people to retrieve this data. Smartphone and technology use have soared in recent years, and mobile weather applications (MWAs) have also rapidly gained popularity. Research on weather sources, however, has been unable to sufficiently capture the importance of this form of information gathering. As use of these apps continues to grow and the market expands with increasing options, it is important to gain insight on which MWAs and what MWA features are most useful to consumers. Understanding individual perception of MWA information will therefore help in analyzing how people make decisions based on weather information accessed from their smartphones. To better examine MWA preferences and behaviors relating to acquired weather information, we survey 300 undergraduate college students from three different universities throughout the southeast United States. The presentation will describe the results of the research, including perceptions to and preferential choices for specific MWA features, designs, and various brands in the weather enterprise. Additionally, the presentation will provide a demographic overview of how people use MWAs on a day-to-day basis. The results will allow other researchers to better evaluate and understand the changing landscape of weather information acquisition and how this relates to the uses, perceptions, and values people garner from forecasts. Companies and organizations that provide weather forecasts have an ever-growing arsenal of resources to disseminate information, making research of this topic extremely valuable for future development in weather communication technology.
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