Air quality refers to a measure of how clean or polluted the air in a particular environment is. According to WHO, air pollution accounts for an estimated seven million deaths worldwide every year, due to the numerous respiratory diseases that it triggers. As crucial as this metric is, it is oftentimes not incorporated by weather app builders. Interestingly, air quality data can easily be added to weather apps (or any other application) with the aid of a good air quality API.
An air quality API basically communicates how polluted the air is and how polluted it is expected to become. It typically reports daily percentages of pollutants that are harmful to human health in a particular location and if they happen to be below or above acceptable thresholds. Such pollutants include carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, lead, pollen and other particulate matters.
Convincing users to try out your app is a big challenge, and encouraging users to retain usage of your app is an even bigger challenge when you’re not providing continuous value. Research done in 2016, shows that only 24% of total users who downloaded a new app returned to it one day after first using it. By subsequent days, they had already deleted the app or completely forgotten about it.
While there isn’t much we can do about air pollution as individuals, integrating air quality data and insights into your app increases your app’s value proposition due to its numerous use cases. Your users will be equipped to take proactive action regarding their health, like what type of clothing to wear, if it's safe to go outside, what skincare products to use, when to turn on air purifiers etc.
Imagine a user who is allergic to pollen waking up to such a message: “Hi Linda, pollen levels are high on your usual route today, consider taking an alternate route or exercise indoors.” This builds trust, gives them the feeling that you actually care for the quality of their lives, and depicts your app as being a useful part of their daily routine. All these will definitely have them coming back for more. After all, what is the best way to provide continuous value and become indispensable, if not by integrating your app as part of their daily routine?
There are a couple of APIs owned by different organizations that provide access to air quality data. To make sure that you get the most out of it, here are four things you should consider before choosing an air quality API:
Quality and accuracy: Choose an API that aggregates data from multiple sources to increase the percentage of accuracy.
Flexible documentation: Choose an API that has extensive documentation on different integration and offers at least email support.
Hyperlocal coverage: Choose an API that provides rich data on your locations of interest.
Versatility: Choose an API that offers data on the major pollutants—particulate matter (PM) 10, PM2.5, Ozone (O3), Sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), lead (Pb), ammonia (NH3)) and even more.
Air quality is an important metric that has the ability to improve the well-being of users, especially those with certain health conditions. If you’re building a weather app or any app that depends on weather and atmospheric conditions, consider integrating air quality data too, to promote better user preference and retention.