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.
The solution: Curate your app design by nixing content that users can’t consume in a few seconds. Then put all your standard notifications through an austerity filter, and only alert users when info is contextually relevant and actionable.
What works: Wondering whether to pack umbrella or just wait out the rain? Dark Sky provides specific time- and location-based weather information, such as the next hour’s rain forecast and precisely when precipitation is expected to start and stop. Want the 10-day forecast? You’ll need a bigger screen for that.
What doesn’t: Few of us want to be woken from a nap or interrupted during an important meeting by a friend posting a photo of her new puppy. But even without a smartwatch app, incessant Facebook notifications show up on users’ wrists, inundating and distracting them with nonessential info.
To make your smartwatch app indispensable to users, curate ruthlessly to surface the right content—and only the right content—at the right time.
Ready to create smartwatch apps that pack a punch? Download your FREE copy of Smartwatch Apps That Work: 5 Value Drivers To Make Your App Indispensable.