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Apple Watch Tricks and Tips – from a Mobile App User Experience Designer

June 29, 2015 - Apple, Design, Reviews, Social Media, VMBC, Wearables - , , , , ,

I’ve had my apple watch for about 6 weeks now and there has only been one day I forgot to wear it. And I missed it terribly. Here’s what I’ve learned, thought, and felt about adding another connected device to my life.

Initially I thought it wasn’t that intuitive to learn how to use, and that’s because I didn’t watch any training videos (as they said I should). I expected an Apple design to be intuitive, and being a user experience designer myself, I figured I could just ‘figure it out’.

The first thing I wanted to do was customize the face as it’s the first thing you see, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how… I was clicking and pressing and looking in settings when one of those lightbulb moments went off and I remembered the Apple Watch has force touch. Force touch senses the difference between a tap and a hard push, and brings up a secondary menu when you press harder. As UX design becomes more gesture based, Apple has already figured out a way to start training their users on a new gesture based menu (this is rumored to also be on the new iPhone 6S coming out this fall).

Once I figured out that force touch brought up that secondary menu, I fell in love with the ‘Modular’ watch face option. You can customize the screen color and choose what’s in each module. At first I had the Disney Goofy watch face, but I feel the Module face is so much better at having a glance of my day. I’ve got the date, time, calendar, temperature, activity monitor, and my favorite – a timer on the face. I can’t tell you how much time this functionality has saved me. And that’s the point of another connected device, isn’t it?

Apple Watch Preview

The second thing that took me a minute to figure out was, “What is that red dot at the top?” Turns out it means I have notifications. If you swipe down you’ll see all your notifications, and if you force touch you can clear them all. To see a full list of actions force touch does, read this great article by MacWorld.

I have the blue 42mm sport watch option, and the bright childish band was garnering me a bit of unwanted watch attention and just didn’t match my style. I chose to purchase an additional blue leather loop watch band, and couldn’t be happier with the matte finish the face and band both have now. I’ve also used my boyfriend’s milanese loop band and dang, does that look fancy and perfect for a dressier look. He has both the matte aluminum case watch sport and the shiny stainless steel watch and the sport is incredibly lighter. He only wears that now… because one big issue is that you cannot have more than one watch connected to your phone. Due to this restriction, he’s chosen to use the sport on a daily basis since it’s so much lighter and more comfortable… so the stainless watch just sits there 🙁 sadness right? Hopefully in a future update Apple will realize people may have two watches and support this feature.

Apple Watch with 2 different bandsWhen I first got my Apple watch I was off to the GRMA Executive Forum in Florida, and while there I had a few hours to relax in the pool… so I got in with my watch on. People asked me if it was waterproof and with a confident smile I said of course it is! Well it isn’t.. well technically it isn’t. Since Apple’s warranty doesn’t cover water damage, and they say the watch is only water resistant – it is not supposed to be submerged in water, only showered with and lightly wet. Well I had my watch under water for hours and to my luck it still works perfect. I did a lot of googling and found that it does seem to be waterproof… although I’m going to take it off next time I’m in the pool (and never in the ocean as the salt water is bad for electronics).

The watch has also come in handy more times that I thought it would. I’ve used it at Starbucks to pay with my Starbucks card (just double tap your barcode to pull it up full screen) and boarded an American flight with my Passbook boarding pass (although it doesn’t stay up full screen like Starbucks). I am reminded to stand when I sit too long, track calories burnt as I exercise, and raise my wrist saying ‘Hey Siri’ more times that I thought I’d ever. I also really love using the watch as the camera shutter remote, especially when it’s on burst mode.

All in all I love my Apple Watch. The more tailored I make it to me – by deleting apps I don’t use, customizing it more, setting calorie burn goals, sending my boyfriend my heartbeat – the more I use it and the smarter it gets. I cannot wait to see what other app designers create with the new WatchOS coming out this fall with iOS9. With over 6,000 apple watch apps already in the app store, I cannot wait to see what comes out next, and to be able to experience it.

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