This is part 3 of the 5 parts lessons learned series for our in-house Android Wear app Break Timer, providing complete development case-study of how we completed everything from start to finish to roll out this fun app.
In the last two parts, we discussed our vision behind creating this Android Watch app and the problem we are going to solve. Now the next step was to design an intuitive user experience. As our purpose was to built an application that can demonstrate a good example for Android Wear capabilities, we wanted to follow all the guidelines presented under Design Principles for Android Wear and Creative Vision for Android Wear sections on Google’s official Android Developer’s website. Before diving into the Break Timer UX, I will give a quick overview of the major concepts defined in the above-mentioned guidelines.
Here are some important points that Google wants you to consider while designing your application for the Android Wear platform.
The information presented on the watch should be viewable in split seconds. It shouldn’t distract the user from what he is doing at the moment. If using the Android Wear application takes more than 5 seconds, it’s a high time to think about the UX flow once again.
When you use your phone to swipe through your notes, you don’t need to be precise because of the larger display of your phone. Your watch application is going to be used in everyday situation, like walking, traveling, eating or talking to others. If user has to slow down his walk or have to stop the conversation in order to tap precisely on a button on your watch-app, it’s surely an annoying experience. Your application should have fewer options on the screen at a time and user should be able to do it with just one casual tap on the screen.
The experience is unbeatable if it shows the right information exactly at the moment when user needs it most. You can decide when and what to show based on the sensors available on watch, or the events available via phone like current location, current weather etc. It makes your application timely and relevant.
Your users will be interacting with your application for very short amount of time. Every single page of your application should display discrete actionable information. Display only the absolute necessary bits of information required. You can always use multiple pages design to split the information. Most precise, actionable information combined with bigger gestures will help user to perform his action pleasantly with minimum time.
Your application is on user’s wrist, it’s an always visible device touching to user’s skin all the time. Being this intimate, you should buzz the watch fewer times than you are used to do with phone. The app should be posting most important updates and avoid abusing the privilege. It would be surely an annoying experience if your user has to see the watch frequently during a conversation.
Break Timer is a simple application, it has simpler use-cases but we still tried not to deviate from the above guidelines, here are some of the thoughts behind the Break Timer design.
Bright and vibrant colours were picked from the 2359 Media logo. We also chose each colour based on Color Psychology. Such as using blue as the primary colour; blue is believed to be able to soothe illnesses and treat pain. For the break reminder portion, green is used because it represents tranquility
Break Timer use smart algorithm to see when you are working, it makes it work totally automatic without any additional user inputs, unlike other Timer and Reminding Applications, you never need to set another reminder on Break Timer, it sits silently and pop up automatically to remind you to take rest when you have actually worked hard.
During a normal work day, we all have our own attitude towards work, we do it our own way. We love it when our gadgets allow us to customize the way they work! We took care of the same psychology while designing the Break Timer, the settings screen is accessible all the time and it allows you to select how hard you want to work before taking a break and how long you want to rest before coming back to your desk.
Android Watch is a new gadget. When we install a new application, it’s obvious to feel curious about it. Since the major use-case of Break Timer is passive launch, we decided to create an screen for handheld device which shows what exactly is happening on the Android Wear device. So even if it’s not notifying for break, it allow users to see how it’s tracking their work and when is the next expected break time.
You don’t need to launch Break Timer application for it’s usual work. But for the curious ones who would try to find the icon for their new application on Android Watch, we didn’t take out this option. Users can still launch the application manually. When launched manually it show a simple notification over the watch-face displaying minified version of typing statistics. It tells you the duration you have been typing over your selected total duration so you can get a gauge of your work time and you can also guess when you need to take the next break.
It was about the UI design for our experimental Android Wear app. In the next part, we will discuss our development process and the problems we faced while developing for this new platform.
This was part 3 of the 5 parts lessons learned series for our in-house Android Wear app Break Timer, providing complete development case-study of how we completed everything from start to finish to roll out this fun app.
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