As I went to bed last night I mentioned on Twitter that Snow was getting over hyped this year, though if good reason considering the record downfalls near DC. The only problem with it is that NYC has barely seen the same type of accumulation. We want crazy weather too. So as the latest storm rolls through my area I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how the blizzard that I’m currently going through is be carried out online.
I’ve been signed up to Notify NYC for quite some time which tells me when something pretty crazy is happening, though from time to time the alerts have to do with wind, debris and street closures. This morning the alert was about the current blizzard. I’d never taken a really close look at the email alerts but noticed this morning that there isn’t a url for more info or something to track back. I mention track back because if there had been a url I would have used it a tweet. So what I did do was copy + paste the alert text into search to see what results I’d get. In the results there was a page from the National Weather Service, a site I don’t think I’ve visited before. I was surprised in this day and age that this page hasn’t been redesigned, it’s begging for clearer communication. I can understand back in the day when fax’s would look like this, but today there really isn’t any excuse. I don’t even know if NYC is mentioned on the page to be honest. My next step was actually going to the Notify NYC web site to see what information it could provide. I almost missed the small alerts on the right rail that are being feed in through RSS. I think this home page if not all of Notify NYC’s web site could use another iteration on the design side. The alerts are played down and the sign up process isn’t very inviting. The email alerts I get provide a good service yet if I used the home page as an indicator of value I’m not sure why anyone would sign up. I was also surprise that each alert didn’t have their own permalink. If there had been I would have pointed a tweet to that link, but it’s pretty pointless pointing people to the home page that is hard to recognize important information. My last info find was that Notify NYC actually has a Twitter account. I did start following them but noticed that the tweets and the email alerts was different—probably because within email that there’s an unlimited character count as opposed to Twitter that only has 140. If Notify NYC could create a permalink to the original message and integrate that url system into both the email and tweet alerts there would be no discrepancy in messages.
And since I’m talking about the weather and alerts, these two alerts popped up on my iPhone as I was outside with my weimaraner. One is a basic weather tweet while the other is from Umbrella Today.