Defining the Direction
After investing in an Apple Watch last summer, I noticed that many of the interactions were internal or individualized— relating to scheduling, setting reminders and monitoring fitness goals. I needed to find out if other Apple Watch users felt the same way!
The next day, I found myself back in my local Apple store, talking to a few Geniuses about their customer experiences. From these conversations, I discovered that most consumers felt the same, using their watches for self tracking. In turn, I found that the Apple Watch didn’t provide effective external or outward facing interactions— this was the space I set out to explore.
I hypothesize that users are unfulfilled by the current functions of the Apple Watch because:
The most popular uses the Apple Watch relate to individualized metrics.
Few features provide effective exchanges with other stakeholders.
Lack of choice in the communication process obstructs the user from authentic connection.
I want to identify key opportunities in the Apple Watch’s ability to:
Connect Apple Watch users
Integrate into smart device ecosystems
Synergize hardware & software
To accurately identify my target audience, I needed to do some research to identify key age range and demographic. During my explorations, I came across this Telegraph article which cites age 25 as the “peak age” for quantities of friendships. In turn, this demographic will likely be the most social and inclined to value a higher level of external articulation from the technology they choose to use. Therefore, I determined the target audience to be Apple Watch owners within the age range of 18-30 who like new tech and want to communicate with friends and family more efficiently and effectively.
I selected the Interview method of UX research because it is important to see the stakeholder interacting with their Apple watch in real time — behavioral interactions are important when evaluating the user’s relationship with such an new platform. From this step, I was able to observe Apple Watch owners’ physical use the device and emotional response to features.
From the responses I collected during UX research interviews, I discovered 5 main opportunity areas:
Distilling responses into feedback categories.
Turning feedback, findings and insights into archetypes.
Expanding opportunity areas into solutions.
Exploring what is possible and what is most impactful.
Refining the People problem
After observing, investigating and analyzing users’ interactions with their Apple Watches I have found that users feel:
Restrained by the lack of functionalities offered
Frustrated by the unfamiliar UI flow
Excited about the possibilities of developing ways to connect with other devices and people
Therefore: people want to communicate on the new, unconventional platform of the Apple Watch but can’t fully express themselves due to limited current options.
choosing a feature
To resolve such frustrations and develop these opportunity areas, I am creating two features with the intent of increasing the enjoyment, ease and abilities of the Apple Watch. These features are:
Redesigning message composition interactions and explore methods of visual communication
Creating a way to control other devices within the ecosystem of the users’ smart gadgets
The expected outcome is to create a seamless and joyful messaging experience and find new ways to connect the Apple Watch with Internet of Things. The questions I want to consider to evaluate if this feature has reached its intentionality are:
Does the user enjoy this experience?
Were they able to achieve their goals of communication or setting adjustment?
Was this a seamless use flow?
Time to start ideating some solutions to confront the problem space head on!
Exploring flows & other visuals that work.
Fleshing out some low fidelity ideas!
Medium Fidelity experimentations
Deciding what to send
Finding the right option
I chose Option B because:
Easy to maneuver through the media options
No scrolling or swiping required; entire selection condensed on one screen
Most efficient use of space in comparison to A and C
Familiar interaction flow due to similar structure of current Apple Watch App Home page
Construct that message!
Exploration One: Building with text
I chose Option E because it:
Allows the user to swipe though & select words quickly
Switching to visual communication options differentiated by contrasting hue of button and global icon
Paginating dots act as visual signifiers that that the user can view another set of potential words by swiping through
Exploration Two: Visual Expressions
I chose Option D because it:
Least amount of physical interaction required to view visuals
Large Display of media
Quick selection flow
The user flow
Riding that (user) flow
HIGH FIDELITY PROTOTYPE
determining the entry point
Lights. Camera. Action.
I chose Option A because:
Device options are easily clickable due to larger size
Efficient scrolling for any finger size with the use of the side knob
Icons visually communicate meaning of related device and reiterate text labels
IoT devices are my only (de)vices
I selected Option D because:
Vertical scrolling is a familiar interaction to current Apple Watch users
Large buttons sized for any size finger to click
Icons provide quick and effective visual communication of device sub-category
Tell me what you want, what you really really want
I decided on Option E because:
The slider function is understandable and efficient to adjust
Large indication of current setting status
Ease of horizonatal swiping to adjust specifics of other devices, services or machines
The user flow
Helpful like Flow from Progressive
HIgh Fidelity PROTOTYPE
reflection + Future
From this experience, I learned that with growing social networks and ecosystems of IoT devices, the demand for effective integration is necessary. Extending the functionalities of the Apple watch, as explored in this case study, will provide users with greater connectivity than ever. This process has also provided me with experience designing for the connection of physical and digital spaces by prototyping software for hardware applications.
In the future, I hope to explore different contexts and platforms that cultivate greater connection between networks of people and devices.