The Apple watch appeals to a limited demographic and does not incorporate any of the life-saving services that it promotes in its marketing campaigns. To broaden its appeal to a wider demographic, I created a new native Apple Watch safety dashboard for a more curated safety experience targeted directly to families and loved ones.
UX & UI Designer
Many people do not yet see the Apple Watch as necessary or relevant to their lives. How can I re-position the Apple Watch’s native features to make it relevant for a wider demographic?
My Design Process
In this project, I proposed additional safety features to the native Apple Watch and iPhone experience to make the product relevant for every member of the family. To complement this, I also proposed a tiered system of user experiences that are relevant to the varying use-case scenarios of parents, children, and grandparents.
Final Interactive Prototype
Defining the Problem
Understanding the smart watch market
The Apple watch has not shown widespread use, and I wanted to find out why.
The Apple Watch dominates the smart watch category
The Apple Watch has already significantly surpassed many of its competitors in the smart watch category.
But many do not see smart watches as relevant to their lives
How can Apple capture an audience that does not see smart watches as a relevant part of their lives?
Understand the Apple Watch’s brand positioning around safety
In order to understand how the Apple watch positions itself as a brand, I looking into their marketing campaigns. After looking through several of their campaigns, there was one that grabbed my attention. The “Dear Apple” commercial (shown below) spoke about the Apple Watch as a life-saving device. While its messaging was aspirational, most users that I interviewed primarily used it for fitness tracking and notifications, but didn’t see it useful for safety.
How can I improve the Apple Watch safety features?
After seeing that the Apple Watch markets itself as a lifesaving device, I was curious about what existing features it had that made it so. I categorized their main features into phone functions, exercise functions, and health functions, and realized that their SOS function was overly-simplistic and did not address the various situations in which SOS could be relevant for different people.
Apple’s competitors provide extensive native app experiences
I also wanted to see how other smart watches were bundling their experiences to give me a better perspective on the Apple Watch’s strengths and weaknesses. Skagen, FitBit, and Jawbone all had very clear positions on how they approached their service offerings. How could the Apple Watch become more targeted with their native app experience?
Skagen’s hybrid watch is meant to simplify the experience of owning a smart watch, while still maintaining the nostalgia of a traditional watch face. It includes some of the core features that people typically use like tracking steps, playing music, text vibration, and setting alarms.
FitBit is centered around fitness, and includes an extensive platform for tracking various data points related to you activity levels. One of its major weaknesses is that it doesn’t use the data to give users qualitative advice on what to do about their fitness goals.
Jawbone takes a more holistic approach to health by including sleep and food tracking in addition to activity tracking. The combination of these three data sources allows it to create qualitative insights that are personalized to each user and his or her lifestyle.
Interview people people who don’t have an Apple Watch
Since the goal of this project was to capture the market that does not yet see the Apple Watch as a relevant part of their lives I talked to people who don’t have an Apple Watch and asked them why they don’t want or need one. Here’s some of the feedback I got.
People fear tech overload
Many interviewees didn’t want their phone strapped to their wrist. They wanted a little bit of separation considering that a lot of their free time is spent on their phones already. My additional safety features should address this issue by limiting how often a user needs to actively engage with the Apple Watch.
People think don’t think they would benefit from all of the features
Most people only thought a few of the features would be useful. After asking them which ones, they mentioned Siri, step tracking, listening to music, and navigation. This might indicate that a lower tiered watch could be relevant for some who don’t want to pay for features they won’t use.
People think it is too expensive
For some, their primary reason for not buying was the price point. When asked how much they would pay for it, most indicated a range of $90 to $150. This also indicates that a lower tier watch could capture a wider audience.
People do not think the fitness features are worth the cost
Some mentioned fitness bands like a FitBit, and that it was more relevant for their needs and more affordable. They also mentioned losing interest in step tracking a few months in, which may indicate that fitness tracking is not strong enough of a selling point anymore.
Use SWOT to synthesize findings and define opportunities
After examining the Apple Watch’s branding, marketing, key competitors, existing customer profiles, I distilled everything down into a SWOT analysis to inform my strategy for moving forward. Below are the key points within my SWOT analysis that I decided to tackle.
Already dominates the smart watch market
Has the ability to integrate data with external apps, like the Apple Health app
Brand value is already strong
Early adoption is low
Not seen as a necessary device
People fear tech overload
Fitness bands exist at a lower price point
Does not appeal to a wide audience
High price point prevents it from being more widely adopted
People do not see the value it creates in their everyday lives
The primary goals of this project became clear after identifying the Apple Watch’s key weaknesses.
Make it useful for families
Improving upon the Apple Watch’s SOS features would make the device relevant to a wider audience: families who are concerned about their loved ones.
Create tiered experiences
Addressing each member of the family means curating the experience to each of their personal needs and reexamining the use case scenarios.
Enhance its native app
To curate its SOS features and make the experience exclusive to the Apple Watch, it made the most sense to build upon their existing information architecture and app interface.
Develop a wider target audience and create new user personas
Since the Apple Watch targets a very specific demographic, I created personas outside of the Apple Watch’s typical user base. Improving its safety features would inherently create more meaningful experiences for families, which is why I created personas based on three very different age groups. These personas were then used to inform the tiered system of services that were apart of the final proposal.
Sketch out what features are relevant for each persona
I used a combination of basic information architecture diagrams and user flow diagrams to map at the user experience of all of the different features.
Organize the user experience
I started listing out key features of the Apple Watch for my different target demographics.
For millenials, their needs were basic. Things like calling a car, or getting directions, or playing music. These could be included in a lower tier Apple Band.
For parents, knowing where their kids were at all times and being able to keep tabs on how Grandpa’s health is doing, were all incentives for them.
For grandparents, health monitoring could be used as a safety mechanism that also connects our mom and grandpa personas to each other.
User flow diagrams and paper prototyping
I then did quick wire frames of the user flow an started to understand how this proposal could be organized.
For millenials and grandparents, I proposed introducing a mid-level Apple Band that would be sold at a lower price point. This would include the “Essential Features” of the Apple Watch: listening to music, calling a car, navigation, and setting alarms.
The “Safety Features” would be a combination of services for each member of the family, with the primary user being parents.
Listing and organizing proposed features
I started to categorize all of the feature that I planned on modifying or adding. I did quick snap shots of what scenarios they would be relevant for.
Proposed “Essential Features”
Essential features would be included in a lower-tier Apple Band. This proposal responds to some of the feedback I got from my user interviews: most people do not see a need for all of the features and want it to be more affordable.
Proposed “Safety Features”
Safety features would include partnerships with three relevant apps to create a curated safety experience for the Apple Watch. Location monitoring for the kids, health monitoring for the grandparents, and SOS for parents and the whole family.
App integrations specific to each member of the family
The native Apple Health app works by using platforms that other app developers have created, and offering a way for users to compile that all in one place. However, the Health app acts more like a passive database for the user rather than an active health tool. My proposal for the Safety App involves creating exclusive partnerships with existing companies, to curate a suite of services that are native to the Apple Watch.
Rethinking Apple’s app integration
Apple’s health app receives health data from various apps within its app store. This doesn’t allow for them to create a native app experience that is meaningful for its users. Part of this proposal was for Apple to form exclusive partnerships with health apps, so that they could curate their native health app experience. In the same way, I also proposed adding an entirely new SOS safety app that combined existing services into one platform that addresses the needs of the entire family.
Creating a tiered Apple Watch experience
I also introduced a a mid-level Apple Band, at a lower price point, that includes essential features for the kids or grandparents, like playing music, navigation, or voice activated calling. The limited features would enable a mid-level price point for the band, making it more accessible to a wider audience.
Analyzing feature proposals with a journey map and generating more ideas
In order to find user experience gaps in my design proposal, I mapped out the user journey of my primary user persona, as if she were using my proposed features. After going through this process, it became clear that I had missed opportunities in many of the stages (shown below in blue). These opportunities would be integrated into the next iteration.
Location monitoring, health monitoring, and SOS are all organized under one dashboard for the entire family
With each of the different partnerships I proposed, I needed to find a way for all of the features to integrate into one cohesive dashboard for monitoring the entire family all at once. I used an information architecture diagram to understand how my features would be categorized and sub-categorized.
Interactive Prototype Feedback
Testing the interface and getting feedback
Although most of the interface was designed based off of Apple’s existing interface, I wanted to see how people would interact with these new features. I built an interactive prototype with Adobe XD, told users about the scenario in which they would use this, and asked them to complete 2 tasks. I noted each user’s main challenges with the interface and revised the wireframes accordingly.
Task 1 User Task
Change Taylor’s schedule on Monday in the location monitoring feature.
Task 2 User Task
Change your notification settings for Grandma’s heart rate and falls.
High Fidelity Wireframes
Safety Feature 1 - Location Monitoring for Children
After understanding the systems model, I made high fidelity wireframes for each of the main Safety Features. The first one was location monitoring for children. The iPhone interface allows parents to set an estimated time frame for when their kids should be in specific place. If their location throughout the day is drastically different than what is expected, parents are notified through the Apple Watch.
The various scenarios of this feature would play out like this:
Safety Feature 2 - Health Monitoring for Grandparents
The second safety feature addresses aging in place for the aging baby boomer population. Monitoring grandparents would be enabled by an existing service that Philips Lifeline provides. This service sends emergency care providers to the elderly when a fall is detected or an SOS alert is pressed. In this example, Mom can indicate a range for Grandma’s heart beat and if it deviates significantly, emergency care providers will be sent to her house and Mom will be notified.
The various scenarios of this feature would play out like this:
Safety Feature 3 - SOS for the Whole Family
The last safety feature is relevant for the entire family and involves the customization of Safe Trek within the native Apple Watch safety app. This customization would allow users to opt into notifying friends or family, when they feel like they are in danger. When the user sends out an SOS call, the app would update friends and family with their location.
Final Interactive Prototype
Final interactive prototype with design changes from user feedback
After getting feedback from users, revised the interactive prototype. To see the final prototype, click here.
Thinking through use-case scenarios and user journeys was incredibly useful in the process of creating features for a wide audience
Since my target audience for this project was demographically very diverse, I found that using tools like prospective journey mapping and examining specific use-case scenarios were critical to the process. Journey mapping, after initial ideas were fleshed out, was useful for contextualizing proposed features and iterating upon them. Thinking through the various use-case scenarios of what feature sets were relevant and to whom, was also critical to the process of organizing feature sets that are relevant to distinct user groups.