Apple Watch for Normal People. Lesson 1: Double Down on your Affordances


I gave an Apple Watch to my friend Sharon & asked her to test it out for a few days. She owns a small business in the children's fashion industry & makes a great "Apple Watch Tester" because while she uses mobile technology intensively, she's not a tech fan. She also has a good eye for trends & fasion. 

Lesson 1: Double down on your affordances

Don't assume people will discover your app's functionalities or even be curious about what it does. Normal people are barely curious about what the watch does, let alone your app! I gave Sharon the watch & told her to keep it a few days to play with it & discover the functionalities. Like most "normal people" she's pretty busy living her life & really doesn't want to interrupt it to explore technology for technology's sake. So:

  • Don't assume people will discover your "Force Touch" menu.
  • Don't assume people will know to tap your app icon in a notification to open it.
  • Don't assume people will open your iPhone app BEFORE opening the watch app.
  • Handle notification actions correctly: don't just open your app, make it respect the context of the intended action.
  • Don't assume people will use dictation for replies. Talking into your watch is very very awkward still.
  • Don't assume people will figure out how to add your app's Glance
  • Especially don't assume people will actively navigate to your app using the honeycomb screen.
  • A user can perfectly feel like they undertand a device yet have no clue what they are doing.

Part of what makes Apple Watch so hard to discover naturally is that the average interaction pattern is measured in seconds. One of the ways I try to make my app more discoverable is by using notifications heavily & each time introduce a single concept of the app in just a few seconds.