Pop Quiz: Which of the following is best for extended content consumption?
If you chose ‘C,’ you’re absolutely incorr—
PARDON THE INTERRUPTION. To continue reading, please switch to another device.
Jarring, right? Downright annoying, actually. Smartwatch users hate mid-task interruptions, too, as we learned during our research partnership with AnswerLab. Nothing kills momentum quite like slamming into a smartwatch error screen: “Please open this app on your phone to continue.” That’s a fast track to task (and app) abandonment.
Our study participants realized that current hardware constraints mean (most) smartwatches can’t operate outside a smartphone’s orbit. And they grokked that wristwatches just aren’t a functional medium for browsing or input. What our participants didn’t understand was why they encountered so much inter-device friction while attempting simple goals on their wrists.
What works: Want to purchase real estate on your smartwatch? Didn’t think so. But for buyers on the lookout for an open house, Redfin’s app is a useful tool to pinpoint available properties based on location. Then users can mark favorites, allowing for easy follow-up research on larger devices.
What works even better: If a prospective homebuyer wants to check out an open house she discovered on Redfin, she’ll need to get there. She can type the address into the Google or Apple maps app on her phone, toss her phone in her purse, and navigate via turn-by-turn directions that show up automagically on her watch.
What doesn’t: A 140-character Tweet seems like an ideally sized content nugget for watch-based consumption. So users are in for a letdown when they hit a dead end with Twitter’s smartwatch app, which displays an abrupt error message instead of guidance on how to rectify the situation via other channels.
As you would for users jumping from laptop to phone, leverage the device ecosystem by smoothing the handoff from smartwatch to other hardware and vice versa. Make it easy—preferably invisible—to permeate content like lists, saved searches, frequent locations, and favorite items across devices.
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