Categories: iOS / Mobile Apps


Twitter’s Apple Watch app has disappeared, and it isn’t the first mobile app to do so. Google Maps, Amazon and eBay have all stepped away from Apple Watch.

Does this mean that the Apple Watch app space is doomed? Far from it. But it does show that that the wearable ecosphere has different requirements to traditional mobile. The challenge? A smart watch isn’t the ideal platform for many of the things we usually do on mobile. That, and Apple’s own apps are better integrated than competitors’, making it tough to win customers.

Here are a few tips for designing for the Apple Watch.

Simple is better when it comes to an Apple Watch mobile app.

Simple is better for an Apple Watch mobile app.

Keep it simple (really simple)

Screen space on the Apple Watch is seriously limited, so KISS is the way to go. The best apps aim for speedy interactions that are easy to read, understand and action. Accessing and dismissing information needs to be a breeze. Identify the most important element of your mobile app and make that the core of your Watch experience. Don’t forget that there’s a physical component to every Watch interaction so keep your content as succinct as possible. Watching a video more than 30 seconds long, for example, can result in fatigue. In sum? Find what users care about, make it “glanceable” and ensure it’s always up to date.

Design for personal connections

A Watch app literally sits on a user’s wrist. Interactions with it necessarily feel urgent and intimate – way more than with a phone. Respect this connection and design in ways that recognize it and cater to it. Don’t hassle users with irrelevant updates or meaningless notifications. Every interaction intrudes into their personal space, so ensure that it adds to their lives. The same goes for data. Don’t just collect personal data just because. Ensure that there’s a tangible benefit to doing so.

Make your Apple Watch mobile app simple and intuitive.

Make your Apple Watch mobile app simple and intuitive.

Take a holistic approach

The Apple Watch seamlessly melds hardware and software. It’s not a phone with software on it. It’s software that exists in the physical space. When designing for the watch, keep things as effortless as possible. Have your app anticipate the user’s needs, use intuitive touch-based interactions, and ensure immediate responses to user activity. Aim for minimalism and simplicity in every element of your design. That goes for everything from images to buttons to copy.

Complement your existing mobile app

The biggest complaints of Watch users is that Watch apps are too slow or try to do too much. Find your best use case, and make that your Watch product. Your Watch app may stand alone, or complement your iPhone mobile app. Perhaps it’s a task, an action, or just a notification. Pick one simple thing for one simple situation, and do it well. There’s no room on a Watch up for error messages or “undoing” actions, so don’t put a user in a situation where they need them.



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