Newsflash: Smartwatches are tiny. They’re working with about 1/5th the screen real estate of a smartphone, and tablets are downright gargantuan by comparison.
Seem obvious? When we partnered with AnswerLab to study the current state of the smartwatch experience, we realized it wasn’t. It wasn’t obvious to brands whose apps failed to account for the limitations (and strengths) of this minute addition to the device ecosystem. And it wasn’t obvious to recent and prospective buyers, who envisioned miniaturized smartphones on their wrists.
Those expectations changed in a hurry when participants in our study strapped on smartwatches and explored apps made for shopping, health tracking, travel, entertainment, and financial management. Most quickly realized that phone app replicas wouldn’t be useful on a miniscule watch interface with limited input mechanisms. Plus, it just wasn’t comfortable for participants to peer at their wrists for long periods of time, so scrolling through lengthy content quickly became a literal pain.