Behind the Design: Carrot Weather – Discover
In general, weather applications do not threaten your life.
They don’t insult your life choices. They don’t tell you that the sun makes your skin look, and here we are quoting, “like curdled oats”. And they seldom, if ever, try to conquer the world.
Carrot time it’s three o’clock, almost every day. But this is not the most interesting of the weather wonder created by Brian Mueller, a native of Philadelphia, soft mode. Prior to the release, Mueller had no background in development, much less in meteorology, and frankly, it seems too nice to have won an Apple Design Award with an app he commonly calls “meat bags” for those who use it.
No, the most interesting thing is this: beneath his humble (and objectively non-murderous) exterior, Mueller knew that meme-worthy jokes wouldn’t be enough: Carrot it also had to be the best weather app in its class.
“There are basically two applications here,” says Mueller, who encodes, designs, illustrates, and writes gags (often in real time). “One is an entertainment app, something you want to open apart from learning about temperatures and conditions. The other is a professional weather app. I wanted both.”
He got them. Carrot time presents its meteorological metrics (humidity, UV index and sunrise and sunset) on splashed, colorful screens that match its harsh voice. (“Does the sun really think it can be hidden? We see you behind these clouds, stupid star.”) The app is available for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. And in early 2021, Mueller released an update that allows users to customize Carrot as they wish, creating, in essence, an “Choose Your Own Weather App” experience (although it occasionally threatens you with scary clowns).
It’s a long way to go for a guy who started developing alongside seven years ago while pursuing a full-time career as a screenwriter, not entirely surprising. “I’m a great Englishman with a minor creative writing,” says Mueller. “I love writing and creating characters and telling stories, but I had no real idea what I would do with my life.” He found the idea of applications intriguing, but had no experience to draw from. “I thought if I was going to create an app, I would just hire someone to do it for me,” he says. “I got a book on iOS development, mostly so I could flip through the vocabulary and not look like a complete idiot. But it wasn’t as over my head as I thought, so I just started building.”
Within months, Mueller had his first title, a to-do list application Grailr whose pets were an Indiana Jones-type character and his cartoon dog companion. “The dog’s name was Sir Waffles and he had a top hat and a monocle,” Mueller laughed. “I liked it. But it took me too long to animate a cartoon dog.”
Instead, he went into Photoshop, drew a simple three-circle pattern, and then started playing with the animation, and finally landed on a flashy-looking red light drawn directly from the school of sensitive robots HAL and GLaDOS. “There was no great idea,” he says. “That was basically the scope of what Core Animation could do on iOS at the time.”
This need became Carrotthe look. His dark, tortuous personality, however, comes from those closest to Mueller: his mother, sister, and wife, all of whom are ruthlessly mocked. (Sister Beth, for example, commemorated CarrotWinning the Apple Design Award by sending him the following email: “You’ll probably get a lot of congratulatory messages, so I just wanted to remind you that you’re the worst.”
“A lot of dialogue for Carrot “Every time my wife says something funny, I write it down. Sometimes she gets mad at me, but she’s a lot funnier than me.”
With his robot ready, Mueller began launching a number of applications: Carrot to make, Carrot Fit – All with the same different approach to motivation. Your to-do list calls when you don’t complete a task. Your alarm clock makes fun of you for sleeping. Your fitness app is embarrassing for you to relax.
Time was the next logical step. Carrot time it started strictly as an entertainment app, one that relied entirely on Mueller’s digital doppelganger. “It was a great thing and called, and people liked it,” he says. But over time, people began to demand more metrics: clouds, wind speed, pressure. Data, data and more data. “I would spend an hour or so drawing and figuring out how to fit things in,” he says. “That’s how I started learning how to solve design challenges.”
The inaugural version of Carrot time focused almost entirely on current temperature; the second version began to delve deeper into forecasting, radar, and notifications. But his next redesign was big: the 2017 model he brought Carrot on the Apple Watch, which Mueller says was the “turning point” in the app’s transition to more than just a joke repository.
“I really couldn’t make long jokes on the Watch, so I had to focus on making a really good weather app,” he says. “I started from scratch. I tried to use all the hardware features built into the clock as much as possible to abstract a lot of what would normally be visual into the iPhone’s interface.”
Mueller focused the experiment on some key data points and used color to communicate weather conditions so people could get a quick idea of their forecast. From there, he worked the other way around, bringing his favorite features back to the iPhone and iPad app.
Today, he Carrot The universe includes seven iOS apps and a pack of iOS stickers, as well as versions of Apple Watch, Apple TV and Mac. Carrot time. The app now offers a fully customizable interface for those who want to create their perfect weather app. You can record customizable weather reports full of bold teleprompter dialogues, or make Carrot tease you in augmented reality. (It turns red if you bother her. You’ll probably bother her.)
There have also been updates on the sarcastic side: Mueller regularly updates the app text to reflect current events, meaning he can respond to current events, from political headlines to console releases, in minutes. “People tweet to me all the time as they get their news from a weather app,” he laughs.
And yes, if you move, you can even mitigate the darker sides Carrotthe personality of. “I wanted an option for people who were more interested in interesting career roles, or maybe for people who don’t want the‘ Oh, Carrot he wants to kill you, a kind of thing, ”he laughs. “Even if you turn off your personality completely, you’ll still get fun animations and features.”
Despite all his success, Mueller remains humble (even a little baffled) by all this attention. His design process, he jokes, isn’t as formal as many of his fellow Apple Design Award winners: it’s “basically throwing a bunch of things at a screen until I don’t think it’s horrible.”
Still, it is this unique approach and care (and a bit of self-crisis) that makes it Carrot highlight. Mueller’s constant iteration and exploration, whether it’s iterating in interface designs, supporting new APIs, or creating a state-of-the-art joke, keeps the app fresh and entertaining long after you’ve checked the time of day.
More information about Carrot Weather
Download CARROT Weather from the App Store
Taking CARROT time to Apple Watch