How NOT to develop an Apple Watch App

Case: Activity app, and a usability blunder

A recent aritlce by Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini highlighted some flaws that are popping up in Apple product, I am sure you may read it?

I was thinking what “exactly” they are talking about, so I stumble upon an interesting flow of an app known as Activity App on iPhone.

The biggest blunder :

  1. You cannot setup Activity App using your iPhone screen. You basically need to use your Apple Watch for that purpose.
  2. You cannot edit your detail once you input all the data related to your physic vital. You can only edit your “activity goal”.

Let me lay down the flow in front of you:

Part 1: Surprise! You cannot setup your Activity related vitals on your iPhone, so why don’t you raise your wrist, and get yourself some taste of agony of inputting the data on your wrist.

Part 2: Alright, now you tap on that Activity App icon on your Apple Watch, let’s get started, swipe, swipe and swipe and then on fourth-swipe you will be greeted with the “Get Started” button.

Part 3: There you will be presented ahem… Form! You’ll be entering some ofyour vital detail like your sex(a), age(b), weight(c), and height(d) using Digital Crown or Gesture to scroll-up & down to select items from the list. Then there is a goal setting (e & f).

This is insane! Why it is forced on user to add information on a tiny screen which can easily be done on large screen?

By the way it is not possible so far to adjust your weight or any other information if needed. You can only update your goals, by invoking a edit menu using force-touch.

This is exactly what Don Norma and Bruce Tognazzini are talking about in their article when they say the following:

The principle of modes and the tradeoff between the appearance of simplicity and actual simplicity in action are taught in elementary interaction design courses. Why has Apple abandoned this knowledge?

Right on! Yes, may be the Form on the Large screen may look “not pleasing” however, it will be usable for many user. Because entering detail on tiny screen is a big no-no. To make input on iPhone pleasurable we need to refer to Luke Wroblewski’s “Mobile Input” presentation.

Hope the upcoming version of Apple Watch OS and iOS may answer some of the usability issue, and the one which I talked here.

Finding patterns in chaos. Pioneer of Urdu language on Apple devices! UX/UI Instructor | Speaker | Design Governance Head at Ring Central | Curious

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