4 design ideas to help you simplify the products of Apple Watch platform

Source: Internet
Author: User

This article, which has seen some real watch app design cases in the last one or two weeks, rather than the conceptual design or assumptions of the past, wants to bring in some translations. Today is the first one, I hope to do more next, the following into the translation >>>

"Good designers anticipate and prepare for new designs, not just passive responses and follow." "–david Hoang

Our team decided to work on a new platform for our geocaching (geo-treasure) app before the Apple Watch was officially released, and here's what we learned during this time to share with you.

  Why? What do you do?

First we ask ourselves, why do we want to redesign our products for Apple Watch? What can we do to make the best use of the platform features of watch to provide an experience supplement and enhancement for our existing iphone products?

The geographical treasure is a kind of adventure game which can be carried out in the real world anytime and anywhere, the user (player) may treasure or through the navigation tool carries on the treasure hunt. Most of the time, in order to find a treasure spot, we have to hike on foot, in this case really do not want to have to go to the mobile phone or other navigation tools from the pocket or even the backpack and have been in real-time to see how far away from the treasure point. There are a lot of such scenes in the geo-treasure campaign, so we think Geocaching app and Apple Watch are a perfect match for wearable devices.

Think clearly "why", we will be more confident into the work process, for this we have not personally used small equipment for product design exploration. Then there is the question of how to do it.

  1. Simplify existing functions

As the Apple watch interface design code says, watch apps are a complement to iOS apps. Lightweight interface form, simple and quick and closely related to the scene of the functional form, these are watch application products are important characteristics. With this principle, we have identified some of the most critical features that are best suited to providing users with a quality experience on the watch platform from the existing iphone version.

We decided to start with the most basic and most commonly used navigation functions, such as the way the compass function is presented, and how to display the relevant content, such as the recent activity of the treasure hunt. In addition, based on the previous research results, we understand that many users are willing to spend a few moments when they need to play low-cost treasure hunt game, so we decided to watch for the user to show the location of the closest to the treasure point, So that they do not have to pull out the phone to be able to easily understand whether there is a suitable for their rapid participation activities.

  2. Simplified content Form

In the iphone version of Geocaching, users can look at the activity to see who has found the treasure, and the story of the treasure hunt, but in practice, it is more important for users to understand the information that has failed to find the treasure, which is what we call the DNF (Did Not find). So we decided to highlight the DNF information on the watch, reduce the number of content to the nearest 5, and remove the relevant story content. In addition, we also use a different color for DNF, make it more visually prominent, users can get information simply glance.

  3. Simplified icon Form

Over the past few years, the Geocaching app has expanded to many different platforms. About a year ago, we also made the Android version. We did not take into account the future of a variety of platforms in the creation of brand specifications, and over time, the product in the brand recognition and design language issues more and more prominent. Recently, we have started to unify and standardize in this respect, the first thing to solve is the interface visual design of some problems. With the opportunity to design for Apple Watch, we decided to make a round of simplification of the icons in the interface.

The icons we use all the time are too complex to convey information quickly on watch, both in style and size. So we abandoned the previous vector graphics style, replaced by a more concise, more clear form of the linear style. In addition, the past icons will be based on the content of different values and dynamic changes, the corresponding amount of material and maintenance costs also greatly improved; this time we canceled this design on the watch, unified use of a set of icons, both reduce the difficulty of management, but also easy to identify and memory, There is no need to pay unnecessary cognitive costs in the short interaction process.

  4. Simplify the color scheme

Our current UI color is too light for the black border and background of Apple Watch. Because we've been thinking about adding new, more contrasting, and recognizable color matching lately, we're just trying.

In one of our most recent usability tests, many users were subconsciously associating green with our products, so we decided to define green as our brand key color.

In addition, we were fortunate enough to be able to enter Apple labs to close the test of our own designs some time ago. During the testing process, we found that the new color scheme still has room for improvement in readability, so it further improves the brightness of some key colors to match the San Francisco font and black background, and makes it easier to get information quickly.

  The limitations of the design

In the process of designing for watch, we encountered some unexpected limitation problems. For example, in terms of glance, we want it to render content in different forms based on different states. We need three view modes, including navigation patterns, patterns of nearby treasures, and empty state patterns when there is no treasure nearby. Apple provides many design resources (https://developer.apple.com), including a large number of glance templates, but the difficulty is how to achieve different view requirements through a template. We finally chose the glance template that provides two packet containers for maximum flexibility.

Apple only provides static maps to third party products, which has also caused us a lot of limitations. Geocaching is a product with a heavy reliance on maps because users need to be aware of their location and the location of their target treasures. As an alternative, we provide a static map, on the one hand also designed a compass view, to help users anytime and anywhere for real-time navigation. It's not easy to achieve a compass view, we can't use the compass function on the iphone to get the data because in the real world, the iphone is still in the user's pocket and it's impossible to maintain a level stance. So we can only realize the compass function in disguise based on the relative relationship between the user's forward direction and the treasure location.


Although there is a chance to go to Apple's laboratory to test products, but unfortunately can not bring watch out of the reality of the treasure to test. We plan to do a usability test immediately after we get the reservation watch to see what the real user is using the new platform products in the actual activity, and then we will iterate the next version as soon as possible based on their feedback and statistical data.

We will also continue to explore the use of static maps, for example, to see if it is possible to link it to Apple's own map app. However, it can be expected that for a long time users will still rely on the compass function to navigate, so we will use it as the focus of the next iteration, exploring the possibilities of various ascension experiences.

Before all these things, all we can do is eagerly looking forward to the delivery of watch to our hands as soon as possible.

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