4 Tips for Designing Apple Watch Apps

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The global wearable technology marketplace is growing at a staggering rate, estimated to increase from $7.1 billion in 2015 to $12.6 billion by 2018.

One of the hottest segments in that market is smartwatches. In the past year alone, smartwatch shipments have increased from 7.4 million units in 2014 to nearly 25 million units in 2015. Some analysts believe global smartwatch shipments will reach 101 million units by 2020.

While Google, Samsung, and others are pouring money into wearables, Apple continues to drive many market segments, including smartwatches. Although it’s difficult to accurately size and predict rapidly growing markets, IDC analyst Ryan Reith believes Apple Watch will ultimatelyaccount for 62% of the smartwatch market in 2015. Apple’s record of innovation, and their ability to create new markets, demands that developers take note of their product releases and market activities. Apple is positioned to lead the smartwatch market for the foreseeable future.

With those thoughts in mind, here are four tips for designing applications for the Apple Watch.

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When Words Are Not Enough

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The frequently-raised objection when it comes to quality research, UX research included, is that the conclusions are drawn based on the participants’ declarations. However, there exist some methods which allow one to grasp the real behaviors of participants, and they can be easily implemented into the research scenario.

During exploratory research, the respondents are often unable to articulate their needs or opinions. In turn, when it comes to usability tests or satisfaction surveys, it very often happens that the respondents’ answers are limited to vague opinions which, without being further explored by the moderator, don’t bring in much data.

Very often, they hide their opinions, because something is “not quite right” to say, something makes them feel ashamed, or their behaviors are controlled by mechanisms which they don’t even perceive—because who would admit to having certain prejudices or not fully socially-accepted desires?

Then how does one find out the real opinions of respondents?

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A New Challenger Appears

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Prototyping is fundamental in a host of different industries. Since I spend a lot of my time prototyping as a user experience (UX) designer, I look to other fields for insights into new techniques that might save time or more effectively communicate an interaction. Storyboards are a great example of a technique that the UX community borrowed from film, television, and comic books. What’s interesting is that despite the value UX has added to digital products across all industries, I have never heard of another field adopting any UX techniques.

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Creativity Must Guide the Data-Driven Design Process

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Collecting data about design is easy in the digital world. We no longer have to conduct in-person experiments to track pedestrians’ behavior in an airport terminal or the movement of eyeballs across a page. New digital technologies allow us to easily measure almost anything, and apps, social media platforms, websites, and email programs come with built-in tools to track data.

And, as of late, data-driven design has become increasingly popular. As a designer, you no longer need to convince your clients of your design’s “elegance,” “simplicity,” or “beauty.” Instead of those subjective measures, you can give them data: click-through and abandonment rates, statistics on the number of installs, retention and referral counts, user paths, cohort analyses, A/B comparisons, and countless other analytical riches.

After you’ve mesmerized your clients with numbers, you can draw a few graphs on a whiteboard and begin claiming causalities. Those bad numbers? They’re showing up because of what you told the client was wrong with the old design. And the good numbers? They’re showing up because of the new and improved design.

But what if it’s not because of the design? What if it’s just a coincidence?

There are two problems with the present trend toward data-driven design: using the wrong data, and using data at the wrong time.

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Mystical Guidelines for Creating Great User Experiences

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The Jewish Torah teaches that the Creator created our world through ten utterances–for example, “let there be light.”

The Jewish mystical tradition explains that these utterances correspond with ten stages in the process of creation. Every creative process in the world ultimately follows this progression, because it is really a part of the continual unfolding of the world itself, in which we are co-creators.

This article aims to present an overview of the mystical process of creation and principal of co-creation and to illustrate how it can guide bringing digital product ideas into reality–although it’s easy enough to see how this could translate to other products and services–in a way that ensures a great user experience, and makes our creative process more natural and outcomes more fruitful.

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