Foresee – Plan Your Activities With the Weather

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Ever taken the dog for a walk, only to have to sprint back to the house five minutes later thanks to an unexpected deluge? Ever wanted to go running, but didn’t know when the temperature would be suitable?

Foresee endeavors to answer basic questions, like those posed above, in an elegant and swift fashion. Based around the idea that weather conditions inherently affect when tasks and activities should be performed, Foresee gives insight as to when you should do something.

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What is Foresee?

Foresee combines preset task options and user-customizable weather parameters to offer that answer. The included tasks range from fishing or walking the dog, to stargazing or mountain biking. In all, there are seventy-two tasks that can be used. There is something for everyone, as the tasks tend to cover all of the bases and then some — for example, dirt biking is something I regularly do, and Foresee includes it. Niche activities like that are present throughout the app.

Using Foresee

Foresee, due to the various options and the sheer functionality it offers, is somewhat complicated. Upon opening the app for the first time, you are presented with a walkthrough tutorial that does help to explain the basics of the app. Upon completion of this walkthrough, you are then prompted to select a task for the first time. As mentioned above, there are plenty to choose from, and each is clearly shown with both a text description and a fantastic icon.

The activity chooser offers dozens of options, complete with fantastic icons.

The activity chooser offers dozens of options, complete with fantastic icons.

Next, you are asked to specify the parameters you wish to be met. You can specify a period of time that you would prefer to complete the task at, and then you can select which weather conditions you wish to be met. You can select up to three — the app doesn’t allow for incredibly fine controls, mostly because the chances of all parameters being met declines as the number of options increases. It makes sense, but it’s certainly a minuscule detractor of the app.

Foresee Homescreen 2

The Foresee homescreen conveys information about when would be a good time to complete the task by dividing the circle, and filling it when conditions are met.

The weather options, however, are quite powerful. Temperature, wind speed, cloud cover, chance of precipitation, humidity, and UV index are all included, which makes it easy to meet most, if not all, needs. Completion of this leads to the “home screen” of the app. This aspect of the app is where all tasks and activities are held, and where relevant information is displayed. Navigating between apps is done by swiping left or right.

The settings screen — accessible from the Select a City view — includes options to change the unit that wind and temperature is measured in. The app also gives the option to display either the actual perceived temperature. That’s it, and the app doesn’t offer any sort of themes or other ways to customize the appearance. Really, though, that’s not a bad thing.

The only major missing feature would be notifications — luckily, the developer has confirmed via Twitter that this is indeed on the way in a future update. Considering that this is 1.0.1 product, Foresee is an incredibly well-rounded app.

Design and Interaction

Foresee‘s design is bright and flat. It works well: the colorful task icons are easy to recognize, and the bright interface feels playful. Navigating the app, after the initial learning curve has passed, is also conceptually simple.

There are issues, however, and in odd places: performance seems somewhat poor, even on modern hardware. This is partially due to the physics of the app, which seem “tighter” than what is normal on iOS. Beyond that, there are places where animations are somewhat choppy. The app never becomes laggy, but it definitely appears as if there are some missed frames when rendering the animations.

That’s a shame, because the rest of the app really shines as an excellent example of a totally custom user interface and user experience.

Foresee's loading screen makes an appearance far too often for my liking.

Foresee‘s loading screen makes an appearance far too often for my liking — it even made an appearance in this review!

Perhaps on a similar note, the Foresee loading screen occurs far too often. It appears in between screens, when resuming the app, and sometimes just randomly. Considering that this isn’t a game which has to load incredibly detailed, 3D textures, there isn’t an excuse for this. While the design of the app tries its hardest to make the experience flow from one point to the next, the loading screen ruins that effect.

I have only one other issue with the design of the application: there is no landscape support. I have seen more and more iPad apps that do not include support for the landscape orientation, and that strikes me as wrong. The iPad is designed to be usable in any orientation. As such, so should applications. There does not appear to be any major reason why the landscape orientation isn’t supported, so I do hope that this is added in a future update.

Foresee home screen

An extended outlook of sorts is shown below the main icon, using colored smiley faces to convey a time when conditions are predicted to be met.

Foresee: Yea or Nay?

Foresee really is an interesting proposition. In an age when services that predict future behavior (à la Google Now) are increasingly becoming mainstream, does an app that relies on user input and tweaking have a market? The answer, I think, is yes — even as flawed as it currently is, the shine of the idea behind Foresee is obvious. Not even the loading screen constantly rearing its head has made me stop using the app.

I have also found that I tend to check my battalion of weather apps less — after all, why do you usually check the weather? In my experience, it is to plan when I want to do an activity. Combining an activity manager with a weather app is brilliant and innovative, and I can’t help but be eager to see where Foresee goes with future updates — hopefully polishing the potential to perfection.


Summary

Based upon the notion that weather conditions inherently affect when we complete activities, Foresee handily offers a suggestion of when to complete a task.

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