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People don’t need much from a newspaper’s weather page or from the forecast on the evening news. You want the graphic saying what the weather will be, along with the high and the low for the day. Preferably the presentation will give you an accurate picture of the next few days.
And that’s all you need. Period.
For the longest time, the Washington Post understood this basic human need. The design of its local weather page reflected as much. Brilliant in its simple, info-delivering elegance, it gave you just the snapshot you wanted. I can remember mornings when I’d flip to the last page of the Metro section, and I’d glean everything I needed in less than two seconds. Not even the Internet can beat that kind of efficiency. The glorious layout is right here, may God rest its soul:
Somehow, the Post wasn’t satisfied with perfection.
So it switched to this approach:
Answer me one question, Post: How, o how, is this an improvement? Why do you send me plunging into a mass of data just to find out what my extended outlook looks like?
Did the Capital Weather Gang force a geeking-out of the weather presentation, focusing on all kinds of climatological arcana, instead of, like, the only data we need?
Not really. According to Post news projects editor Edward Thiede, the new approach to weather was part of the overall print redesign that launches next week. Since this particular part of the project was ready to go a bit early, they let it fly.
As for the reorganization of the page and the disappearance of that marvelous, boxy extended outlook, Thiede has a pretty sound explanation: “We wanted to organize it down the left side of the page,” he says. “We thought it would be one area to see all the local weather data together.”