Comparisons make our life easier. I realized it recently when I happened to be on a backpackers trip to Europe with friends and somewhere amid watching the northern lights at Netherlands, my wrist watch started beeping. My friends teased me how I’m still stuck in the 90’s and set alarms on my watch. But they were surprised with what happened next.
My smartwatch was reminding me of my mom’s bday. Even after being 3 and half hours behind Indian timezone, it didn’t fail to remind me to send a gift to my mom. I tapped on one of the gift apps, and yay! Everything was done and I didn’t even have to take my smartphone out.
Gadgets and technologies have evolved significantly in the last few years and have taken different forms, some small and some really large. This has opened a lot of opportunities for UX designers. But at the same time have posed a bigger challenge among app makers to utilize the screen real estate in a much better and meaningful way. Let’s take a look at how a perfect smartwatch app can be designed.
The 3 P’s – People, Prediction, and Presentation
What do we love about Apple? Na!! Lemme rephrase the question… What’s one of the many things that we love about Apple? One single home button that’s more than enough for all the operations.
PEOPLE will always go for apps and gadgets with minimal interactions, say like one swipe, one gesture, one voice command etc. The less time it takes to assist the users, the more it will be used and loved. Minimal interaction makes more sense for apps that’s been used in a watch.
In a small screen, things that you do to provide users with great experience is very less. So the trick is to please them visually.
There are a lot of challenges when you are designing an app for a wearable compared to a smartphone. In a smartphone, you have options to have more than one screen and flexibility to scroll down and up. But in a wearable where space is limited, you should be able to get all the important information at one glance.
Ease of use is one of the key features, users will be looking in an app. It works well if they can even PREDICT what’s gonna be the next step. Users feel delightful if app is simple to access and how quick their goals are achieved. To make this happen, your app should be intuitive in such a way that users should be able to understand how it works and what it does in just one glance.
At the end of the day, the main purpose of having an app is to provide the right information to the users at the right time.
Focus on the key elements of a design, like the resolution, font type and colours, battery usage etc.
Since the screen is small compared to phones, even the tiniest details make a lot of difference. Say, for example, the Apple watch which is of 38mm screen size has a screen resolution of 340 x 272 px, whereas the one with 42mm screen size has 390 x 312 px. Make sure your app is balanced with functionality, usability, and creativity.
Choose the font according to the colours used. It should be readable, and shouldn’t stress user’s eyes. The way you PRESENT the app matters because, every colour you use, every icons, should represent your brand.
One main thing to focus is, make sure your app doesn’t draw all the power out.
Turning on the UX Watch
It’s not easy to offer ultimate user experience when a user is accessing your app from a small device like wearable. The app acts as an icon for your brand image. Design your app in such a way that it not only makes users feel delightful but also makes them feel a need to explore the app.
Make it simple and usable in such a way that, it’s easy for them to navigate back to the previous screen, take actions on the notifications itself and focussing on fast interactions. The main goal of every designer should be to design such experiences that users have to pick their phones lesser and can complete most of the tasks on mobile only.
People hate complicated things with a lot of knots, so try to make your app less knotty, quick and minimal;)