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Apple Watch / Smartwatch UX: 7 Guidelines for greater Apps

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Do not mistake a smartwatch for a small smartphone.

Which content belongs on your wrist — and which does not?
How is good user experience on a Smartwatch defined and how do you achieve a great user experience on a smartwatch?

We worked on different projects for Apple Watch and Android Smartwatch for the past months. From these projects and from personal use of the devices we derived seven guidelines for a greater App experience on Smartwatches.

UPDATE: Find the german version here:

Veröffentlicht in: Geräte & Hardware, Technologie, Mobil
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Apple Watch / Smartwatch UX: 7 Guidelines for greater Apps

  1. 1. Hamburg, 24.04.2015 Smartwatch UX: 7 Guidelines for greater Apps
  2. 2. Do not mistake a smartwatch for a small smartphone. 2
  3. 3. Which content belongs on your wrist — and which does not? 3
  4. 4. How is good user experience defined? 4
  5. 5. How do you achieve a great user experience on a smartwatch? 5
  6. 6. CELLULAR’s 7 guidelines: 6
  7. 7. “Only content which i’m able to consume in less than five seconds belongs on a watch.“ THORSTEN JONAS, CREATION CELLULAR 1. Make it glanceable 7
  8. 8. • Limit any interactions to five seconds. • Use icons in combination with precise wording. • Use actual sized paper mockups of your app to verify its content’s readability. 1. Make it glanceable Smartwatches are often used by taking a glance on your wrist. Consequently, information need to be designed for these short moments of interaction. 8 Recommendations Best practice: 
  9. 9. “Nobody wants to be interrupted by an incoming email notification while taking a nap. Nevertheless, your alarm should set off.“ LASSE SCHÖLKOPF, CREATION CELLULAR 2. Context is king 9
  10. 10. 2. Context is king Pushing relevant information at the right point of time is key to a great smartwatch app. However, important content in an inadequate situation can get lost. 10 • Reflect which situations your app can enrich or simplify. • Use all of the new available sensors to determine the user’s context. • Benefit from the context and use it as a filter for your notifications. Best practice: 
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  11. 11. “Watches are worn all day. Therefore, push notifications can’t be ignored. The only alternative is deleting the App.“ JÖRN SIEDENTOPP, CREATION CELLULAR 3. Respect the privacy 11
  12. 12. 3. Respect the privacy A smartwatch is a very present device. As it is worn all day, it creates a physical and emotional bonding with the wearer. 12 • Respect the wearer’s privacy and inform him only in suitable situations by using sound and vibrations. • Less is more: Be even more sensible using push notifications than on a smartphone app. Best practice: 
 Android Wear Recommendations
  13. 13. 4. Reduce your phone usage “Apps showing information directly instead of teasers are the most useful.“ GUNNAR HAMM, CREATION CELLULAR 13
  14. 14. 14 4. Reduce your phone usage Often using a smartphone requires effort, such as getting it out of your pocket. For example answering messages or paying with your Apple Pay account during shopping. • Offer a simple reaction using reply suggestions. • Let the user react to notifications: Read later, show on phone, delete… • Show enough information, so that the user can decide if it’s worth checking his phone. Best practice: 
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  15. 15. 15 “Typing on a smartphone is hard enough — on a smartwatch it is overstraining.“ GÜNTHER LAMPRECHT, DEVELOPMENT CELLULAR 5. Try to avoid input
  16. 16. 16 5. Try to avoid input First of all, the smartwatch is an extended display of the smartphone. The size of a smartwatch isn’t designed for more than one gesture (swipe, tap). • Input should be optional. • Replace textfields by offering templates and quick responses. • If a longer text is required, voice input is the only choice. • Switch to the smartphone app for longer interaction flows. Best practice: 
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  17. 17. 6. Less is more “The temptation to get as many features and information on the watch as possible, is immense.“ TATIANA RYBNIKOVA, DEVELOPMENT CELLULAR 17
  18. 18. 18 6. Less is more On a computer screen, the rather small smartwatch displays appear much bigger than their actual size. This can lead to a wrong evaluation resulting in poor designs. • More functions mean longer interactions – the smartphone got you covered for that. • Focus on one single usecase and cover it. • Start early testing on paper mockups. Best practice: 
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  19. 19. 7. Extend the smartphone App “Use the strengths of the smartwatch, to benefit from it. If you develop for Apple Watch: Focus on glances and notifications!“ SVEN JANSEN, DEVELOPMENT CELLULAR 19
  20. 20. 20 7. Extend the smartphone App Use the context to get specific information at a glance. For example: “How much time is left till boarding?“ or “How long does it take to get to the gate?“. Permanently wearing your smartwatch enables you to get more and accurate data, that can extend your smartphone app. • Think of useful extensions for the smartphone app. • Enrich the smartphone App using the new accurate data. • Use the context as a strength of the smartwatch. Best practice: 
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  21. 21. Naturally this leads to one simple rule: Never just copy the range and functions of a smartphone App. 21
  22. 22. 22 CELLULAR Hamburg Große Elbstraße 39 22767 Hamburg Germany CELLULAR Austria Hermanngasse 18 1070 Wien Austria Fin Credits: Apple Watch Mockups by Meng To, Apple Watch Product Photos by Apple Thorsten Jonas Head of Concept tjonas@cellular.de Jörn Siedentopp Senior Konzepter Lasse Schölkopf Junior Konzepter Jakob Stecher Junior Konzepter