Monday night, and it’s raining hard. Yahoo weather says the rain ended at noon. No, wait, it says it will end at midnight.
The Yahoo weather page has a strip of icons across the top, and a text description following that. The icon says AM Rain. The description extends it to midnight. Presumably the description was updated more recently.
I find it useful to look at the icon first. It indicates how accurate these predictions are. If the icon doesn’t tell you what’s happening right now, the prediction isn’t likely to tell you what will happen tomorrow.
I’d like a weather page with a history. It would show how today was predicted during the past five days, and then the forecast.
Sure you can do the same thing by showing statistics, but my page would speak to the innumerate part of your brain.
Going beyond weather, wouldn’t it be nice if objects showed more of their history? For physical objects, there’s weathering and aging, but not much else; information objects can be versioned or journaled, but there aren’t user interfaces to present anything high-level about this information.
People maintain elaborate histories of the other people and objects they interact with. Todd Proebsting’s evocative article “Tangible Program Histories” shows how useful it is for programs to do this too. Someday we’ll find a way to join these.