The BBC have today “revolutionised” their weather forecasts. No, they’re not going to start getting it right, obviously; they’ve changed the graphics of the forecasts.
Out go the lovely cheerful simple maps, and in come “realistic 3-D landscapes” that can be zoomed in and out, lots of whizzy-bangyness, bells and indeed whistles. Why? Well we asked for it apparently. Audience research found that viewers felt the current graphics were out of date. (One wonders if audience research found it was a good idea to jump off a cliff, the idiots who follow this type of thing would do so.)
But according to presenter Helen Young:
“The new system will introduce more realism, movement and clarity.
“For the first time viewers will be able to see the sun shine and the rain fall on the weather map.”
Because such things are beyond the viewers’ imagination, we assume.
The previous designs were the creation of Mark Allen, a student at Norwich School of Art, who submitted his designs to the BBC in 1974. These new symbols began to be used in 1975 via the legendary not-very-magnetic-rubber system, which was later replaced by computer graphics in 1985.
The fancy-pants new graphics have “all the hallmarks of BBC weather – accuracy, authority and reliability,” so says Colin Tregear, project director at the BBC Weather Centre, “but the forecasts will be more engaging and informative.”
So that’s alright then. Time will tell whether the new weather forecasts will prove audience research correct, or whether this is just progress for progress’s sake. Or is the Londonist just sounding like a bunch of old fogies who just like things the way they are. But then, what’s wrong with that?