The Apple Watch finally validated the existence of smartwatches which also got major consumer traction. It’s still very early for smartwatches and nobody still knows what the exact user experience should be like. At Emberify we are studying watch interfaces to bring in Instant’s lifelogging data to the Apple Watch and Android Wear. It is interesting to see how both Apple and Google have started talking about context in a big way with their watches.
– Contextual Information based on location, time & current activity are essential for wrist-based experiences.
– Smartwatches are more useful for actions rather than apps – can do with health data or a simple utility.
– Voice is a great way to interact with the Watch, from checking information with Google Now to dictating an iMessage. Independent actions from the phone have found to be useful in general.
– Watches don’t have peak interaction periods during the day, they are used more uniformly and consistently throughout the day.
– The interaction span of a watch app is very short(like a few seconds) compared to smartphone apps.
– From what I have seen during the Apple Watch launch many apps don’t need a watch extension. Many developers are exploiting the smartwatch store as a new way to get visibility on the App Stores.
– Initially with the Pebble, the main use case was for notifications. Now with the Apple Watch people are using it for activity/health tracking as well. Google’s approach with Google Now, gives the Android Wear a radical amount of contextual information in a glance.
– I found the Tizen based Galaxy Gear 2 useful for its native functionality of the quick camera and heart rate sensor.
– The Apple Watch and Android Wear have very different ways of user interaction.
Invisible Interface Illustration by Luke Wroblewski
Context aware notifications at the perfect time seem to be an ideal use case of the watch right now for me. I really like how Foursquare gives its tips on the watch when I enter a restaurant. It’s quick and highly useful information. Looking at watches from a social point of view, it is more acceptable to check your wrist rather than pulling out your phone. It’s one of the reasons that these sensors on the wrist have become the first widely used wearable. As of now nobody is too sure what a watch app is supposed to do, lets see how the next wave of smartwatch apps utilise its unique form factor.