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By Joel Gratz, Founding Meteorologist Posted 10 years ago October 21, 2013

New website and mobile apps coming soon!

I'm excited (overjoyed! thrilled! insert other superlative here!) that we will launch a completely redesigned website and iPhone and Android apps very soon. Look for the new site in early November, the new iPhone app in mid November, and the new Android app by early December. Just in time for the winter season.

Since so many companies provide mobile apps, it seems like this is an easy thing to build, right? Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Since we are building native apps to ensure a speedy and smooth experience, the code for the apps is completely different than the HTML code we use for our website. It is like starting from scratch and is not a small undertaking.

Since we're a small team of independent weather forecasters, we're using our time and money wisely and simply didn't have the resources to build this technology over the last two seasons. But thanks to the users who upgraded to Pro and SuperPro subscriptions to financially support our work, we now have the ability to take on this new project. I can't thank the Pro and SuperPro users enough for getting us to this point!

On the web side of things, we are building a fully responsive website. This means that one batch of code creates a perfect view no matter what device you're using, whether a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet like an iPad, or a mobile phone. Right now we have two versions of code that show one view for desktop-type devices and one view for mobile devices. But this leaves out the iPad users and also isn't a very efficient way to manage the site, with two separate batches of code.

If you're curious how many OpenSnow.com users are checking the site from their phone while sitting on the toilet, I'm sorry to say that, thankfully, we don't keep such detailed information. But here are the traffic stats from the last two seasons:

2011-2012 season:  Desktop = 72%  |  Mobile = 23%  |  Tablet = 4%

2012-2013 season:  Desktop = 57%  |  Mobile = 34%  |  Tablet = 9%

That's 2x growth in the number of tablet users and a 50% increase in mobile phone use. I think business and analytics forecasting is harder than weather forecasting, but it's a pretty safe bet we'll see more than half of our traffic this season from non-desktop devices. That's why I'm so excited that we will be able to offer our new apps and website which will look and work great no matter how you access OpenSnow.com.

It's been a fun and challenging learning process for our team to develop the apps and new site. Occasionally I offer some good suggestions on design and content, but my roll is mostly to test the technology and to get in the way. Andrew Murray has been a rockstar this summer and completely re-wrote the backend of our site to improve speed, reliability, and to prepare for the new apps and website. We've also had the great fortune to work with other developers and a designer that are top notch. 

Thanks for your support of OpenSnow.com ... it's going to be a great season!

JOEL GRATZ

PS - New website in early November, new iPhone app in mid November, and new Android app in early December. Below is a quick look at the design of the app...

OpenSnow iPhone App

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About The Author

Joel Gratz

Founding Meteorologist

Joel Gratz is the Founding Meteorologist of OpenSnow and has lived in Boulder, Colorado since 2003. Before moving to Colorado, he spent his childhood as a (not very fast) ski racer in eastern Pennsylvania.

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