WATCH Out: Apple has changed the face of User Experience

Apple Watch-version 1

Image source:  The Apple Watch – coming early 2015

I know you’ll agree when I say that Apple’s announcements yesterday totally captured many thoughts and dreams. In particular, the Apple Watch will be one of the most-awaited experiences. Today, I wanted to share a few user experience observations given the number of innovations we saw in their video. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Apple Watch uses a touch-based interface and off-screen dials and buttons to create a highly engaging yet usable experience.

Apple takes the user experience of wearables to the next level in several ways:

Off-screen interactions:

  • The “digital crown” allows fluid zoom and precise selection which is essential for making such a small interface usable.
  • The button below the “digital crown” transforms the face of the watch into a touchable display of icons of your most important connections. This provides immediate access to quick interaction with key people in your life.
  • Sensors on the watch can detect your heartbeat and display it as a beating heart on the screen. The user may send this animated image to a friend and show their heartbeat real-time.
  • The watch is charged via a magnetic cord that connects to the back of the watch face.

Key User Experience observation:

The usability of Apple Watch is strong partly because the “digital crown” expands on the interaction of winding an old-fashioned watch. The user turns the “digital crown,” a knob on the side of Apple Watch, to zoom in/out and to make highly precise selections. Since the screen is so small, it’s helpful to see the entire screen for particular interactions.

Touch screen interactions:

  • The touchable face uses force as a new means of interacting with a touch interface. The screen recognizes the difference between a tap and a full press.
  • The touchable face encourages intimate interaction such as sending a small sketch to a friend. The user creates the sketch by drawing with their finger on the face of the watch.

Key User Experience observation:

The Apple Watch touch screen creates an open palette for a variety of interactions. It gives the user freedom to communicate more easily and creatively throughout the day. The touch screen adds an element of intimacy and fun to the core functionality needed in a watch.

No question, it’s going to be a long wait until early 2015 when the Apple Watch hits retail. However, we’ll continue to keep our finger on the pulse of Apple Watch and will apply these new interaction concepts where we can to solve our client’s user experience challenges.

Let us know if you are inspired by the Apple Watch as well, and if you’ll be able to wait until next year to get one!