Insight into Smartwatches: Pain Points and Usage

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 in Contextual Research | No Comments

Curious about smartwatches, I decided to do some design research and asked what people liked or didn’t like about their smartwatch. I got some pretty powerful statements:

“I personally like it, but it didn’t change my life like getting a smart phone.”

“I don’t know about a watch that needs recharging every other day…or the fact that sometimes you don’t know what time it is because your watch is getting a software update. Seems like a lot of hassle.”

“A week after christmas I was getting food at a fast food place, and the guy ringing me up said he got an apple watch too and his exact words were ‘what a waste huh? It’s just like… a watch’ “

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Now that we have been exposed to smart electronics, we seem to have expectations but don’t know what they are. Now not all comments were bad. What I did find was that people are using their smartwatches for unexpected things that made everyday tasks convenient such as reminders, timer to help with cooking, assessing urgency of notifications and dictation of messages… very Star Trek!

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“The one thing the Apple watch has changed significantly for myself and my wife is notification triage. We both find we’re able to quickly assess whether a notification needs our attention and if so escalate it to looking at the phone. The phone is often a time sink, where you get distracted by stuff. Since the watch is limited you don’t get distracted and we both find we spend less time on our phones.”

“My wife also heavily uses Siri on the watch (which for whatever reason is significantly better than the phone for voice dictation). She responds to text messages quite a bit using Siri from the watch.”

“Another big thing for us as parents, is the watch allows us to be more present, while still staying connected when we are expecting work related e-mail/messages/slack to come in. We still take time to disconnect, but, for example over lunch, I don’t carry my phone out with me to make sure I get important messages. My watch takes that job and I don’t get lost in random stuff when I should be present with the kids there.”

Pretty neat stuff, huh!

Just as the smartphone revealed the need for a Mobile First strategy in web design, apps that want to cater to smartwatch owners need something similar but instead of a “First” strategy it is more of an “Enhancement”, “Plus” or “Bonus” strategy. It needs to be in context to the device limitations (screen size), and how people use their watch in certain settings.

How you use your smartwatch?