Meaningful Interactions on the Wrist

by December 10, 2015

In his Glanceable Interactions presentation at the Glance Conference in San Francisco CA 2015, Josh Clark talked through design considerations for the Apple Watch. Here are my notes from his talk:

  • Making small improvements in people's lives is good but creating new pain is not. User experiences need to maximize value and minimize pain.
  • Where are the moments of pain in the Apple Watch today? Slow connections to phones, slow app performance, voice interaction issues, small screen that requires very precise interactions.
  • How do we lean into the strengths of smartwatches? The watch allows you to do more on your wrist so you have to pick up your phone less. How do we make experiences that enable this?
  • Actionable notifications are the product on the Apple Watch. Spend the time to make these meaningful & quickly usable.
  • Its not about the watch. Its not about engagement. Interactions on the wrist should allow you to stay more connected to the moment, to what's going on around you.
  • Simple, minimal, fast, and invisible. What are the push button interactions you can have with services? That's what makes a great watch experience. The best apps support fast interactions and focus on the content that people care about the most.
  • Google's wearables guideline: focus on not stopping the user.
  • Phone based interactions should aim for 30 seconds or less. For the wrist/smartwatch, we should aim for 5 seconds or less. Don't think micro-tasks, think nano-tasks.
  • Sustained glances: people will return to a service for a few seconds several times a day. How can you design for this?
  • On the Watch, app Glances should be focused on single action buttons. That's effectively what Glances are now: you tap them to open an app.
  • You can make your service's core action even more accessible through custom complications on the Watchface. Complications are the big opportunities for app developers.
  • Complications are the best way to hone your app's immediate value.
  • Think immediacy not urgency. What is useful now? Example: the Workflow watch app gives you a set of simple options: get ride, go to coffeeshop, calculate a tip, etc.
  • Hand-free activities: how can the time and your current status trigger an valuable action? Its not about engagement, its about triggering services when they are appropriate.
  • What are the push-buttons you need as you move through the world?
  • What's next for the wrist? Further progress in making technology and information more personal.