Designing BuoyWatch: Real-Time Swell Info

Indie App
UI Designer
2 weeks

About the project

BuoyWatch is an indie iOS application developed in collaboration between me and Ppacie, designed to provide surfers, boaters, and marine enthusiasts with real-time weather data.

As active surfers and sailors, we recognized a gap in the market for an app that could quickly and easily deliver real-time weather information. With a streamlined set of features, BuoyWatch connects users with over 300 NOAA and worldwide buoys right on their iPhone and Apple Watch. While the app is in its initial stages, it already offers core functionalities like wave size alarms, historic charts, and real-time notifications, providing valuable data for anyone who spends time on the water.

My Role:

Given the MVP nature of the project, my role as a designer was focused on rapid iteration and quick execution. The goal was to quickly validate our concept by delivering a functional, user-friendly interface that met the most pressing needs of marine enthusiasts like ourselves. I collaborated closely with Ppacie, who managed the development, to ensure the design was both intuitive and data-rich.

The Design and Development Process

  1. Idea Validation: As avid surfers and sailors, we didn't need a survey to recognize the lack of easily accessible marine data. Our personal experiences were the primary catalyst for the development of BuoyWatch.
  2. Quick Prototyping: Given that speed was of the essence, I designed the interface, widgets, and Apple Watch complications. We then moved to rapid prototyping to validate our design assumptions.
  3. Visual Design: In this fast-paced project, we opted for a minimalist design approach, choosing an uncomplicated color scheme and simple yet intuitive icons. The focus was on usability and clarity, ensuring that users could navigate the app effortlessly.
  4. Development: Ppacie developed the MVP for iOS (mobile and watch).
  5. Testing & Feedback: Upon launching the MVP, we closely monitored user engagement and feedback. This allowed us to identify any immediate issues and gave us insights into what additional features could be beneficial in future updates.
  6. Iterative Updates: BuoyWatch remains a work in progress. It's our intention to iteratively improve the app, adding new features and refining existing ones based on our experiences and user feedback.

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BuoyWatch is a fast-track solution to a problem we've personally experienced. While it may be an MVP, the app already serves as a valuable tool for surf enthusiasts. Our agile approach to design and development allows us to continue refining the app, turning our personal passion for the ocean into a practical resource for all.