Apple Watch, How To, News

Designing For the Apple Watch

Designing For Apple Watch

Designing For Apple WatchDesigning For the Apple Watch

Apple held a conference presentation about designing for the Apple Watch. We quickly jumped in with notifications.


Currently the Apple Watch does not allow you to pick and choose which notifications you would like to see, rather are limited to enabling or disabling all notifications from a specific app, thus it is recommended that developers do not pester their users with frequent notifications as it will quickly lead to users either disabling them or simply uninstalling the app.

Notifications should also be concise and to the point, users want to see exactly what the notification is about without having to look at unnecessary information, of course you are able to link your notification to a section of your app containing more information.


The bezel of the Apple Watch was created in black specifically to ensure that apps can easily be matched with the same background, it is highly recommended to use black backgrounds for your apps in order to best take advantage of the space available for your UI. When creating actions or functions for your app it is recommended to place them in menus rather than on the main UI, this also prevents you from inadvertently cluttering your valuable screen real estate.

Above the fold

The above the fold method you often hear in news is true for Apple Watch design as well, while you don’t want everything above the fold you do want to ensure the most important information is. While less important information can be placed lower on the screen and your users will be able to view it with the use of the digital crown.

Haptic Engine

The haptic engine and feedback support within the Apple watch includes audio tones which can be utilized in your application. Specific tones have been created for movements like up and down as well as other tones for positive and negative notifications or anything else you can think to use them for. It is important to understand that these haptic tones cannot be played simultaneously. For example you wouldn’t want to use the click haptic on an object that can be manipulated with the digital crown as the user could spin the crown too quickly causing many of those tones to be skipped as the haptic engine will not allow them to overlap.


When developing glances keep in mind that when users are swiping through the available glances they have it is likely that they will only see yours for a quick moment. This means that it is incredibly important to focus on the most important information be displayed on the glance, it’s also important to ensure that tapping the glance will take the user directly to a screen within your app that provides more detailed and relevant information.

Apple really wanted to stress that the Apple Watch is not an iPhone, your Apple Watch app should not be developed in an attempt to recreate an iPhone on the app. Rather you should develop Apple watch apps either as an extension of the most important features of your iPhone app or create something entirely new that provides necessary information.

Harold Giddings

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