The Apple Watch won't be released onto our unsuspecting wrists until early next year, but developers are obviously already hard at work writing apps for the tiny screen. A group of designers have put together some ideas for what popular apps might look like when they land.
It's interesting to see what actual app designers envisage as being the optimal user interface for such a small screen. Different apps get different approaches: for example, Uber and Lyft are both entirely process-based systems, so the UI is designed to match the process of ordering a third-party transport solution directly from your wrist. The series of steps should be completely familiar to anyone who's ever used the Uber or Lyft apps, but with almost every extraneous piece of information stripped away.
Social apps like Twitter and Pinterest, on the other hand, try and make it as easy as possible to browse and discover stuff. To be honest, I'm not sure how much utility people will actually get out of a Twitter app on their phone: while simpler apps like Uber, or the music-control aspect of Beats, look like they'll work on a smaller screen, I can't see the small text that's inherently necessary for Twitter to actually work.
The YouTube app, on the other hand, just makes me angry.
Overall, it's an interesting look into how designers are being forced to rethink the user experience for a smaller screen. Whereas the challenge for mobile apps is often how to include as much functionality as possible, the onus on smartwatch developers falls on glancibility: how quickly users can get information from a screen, since their interaction will probably be limited to dismissing things or single-press actions.
Of course, I could be completely wrong, and we could be destined for a world where people tap out 140-word missives on their wrists. But I'm not sure I'm quite ready for that reality yet. [ThinkApps]