Smart Watch

EDIT: This is where the design is right now, scroll through to see the progression. Thanks for looking!

Hey guys

I’ve been looking at a lot of these smart watches coming out recently, and what I notice is a lot of solutions searching for a problem. I’m not talking about the sport watches from nike, I think those are thought out pretty well. I’m talking about things like the Sony LiveView and inPulse Smartwatch, which both have Caller ID as their main feature. I don’t really see that as a feature I want on my watch.

I decided to design a watch from the ground up that could be useful to modern people. Instead of showing your mail inbox or facebook notifications (or who’s calling you), I want the main feature to be a calendar. What’s a watch for if not to keep you on schedule? The calendar information would be pulled from a smartphone or PC, and the events would show up as colored bars going around the watch face.

What I’ve mocked up so far is the basic look of the watch and a couple of screens showing how it would display your upcoming events and reminders.

Right now I’m trying to decide whether the user would want to input new events and reminders on the watch itself or if all the text input should happen on a smartphone or computer (though iCal, Google Calendar, etc.). Any and all comments are welcome!

BMW has been known to fiercely protect anything that resembles anything that they are, or have previously done.

Just sos ya knows. :wink:

I’ll be sure not to accidentally slip the BMW logo into my design :wink:

Where did you find that, Is that a BMW clock or something?

EDIT: just googled it, so it IS the old BMW logo. Good looking out, I’ll see if I can’t make my design a little different. Thanks!

I did a little more work on the watch face design today. Now it should be a little easier to tell when time upcoming events are taking place, plus the text on each event is much more legible on the small watch screen. (also a bit less BMW logo-ey)

I also looked into the tech a bit and found that round LCD screens are made by a few companies like Toshiba and LG.
I’ve never seen a digital watch actually use a screen like this before, but apparently they’ve been around for at least 5 years.

Specifically, it was the “roundel” used by the BMW Motorrad (motorcycle) division in the mid-1970s.

edit -

Correction: The above was the BMW Motorsport logo; aka: M-Technic, or simply “M”


I think the interface is refining nicely.

You might want to put some thought into the ID, right now it looks generic and not thought through. At the highest level, I think you will need to decide if this watch stands out and shows its new functionality or if it blends in and looks like a traditional watch but has new functionality. To answer this question it would be great to do some research and construct a persona for yourself to design for. Selecting or creating a brand and making a set of guiding design principles for that brand will also help. Lastly, do some secondary research on trends in watches, other worn devices, and other accessories (eyeglasses, bracelets (growing trend for men), rings, and so on). This should help guide the physical design. You can also look for ways to tie the software and hardware together to make the design feel more holistic.

Sony announced a smart watch at MWC this year with some curious functionality. It displayed time, date etc, but also phone notifications, appointments, and could also act as a viewfinder for the camera on your phone.

Yo’s point of establishing a persona will help you a lot. It’s not really a watch, it’s just another display that happens to be attached to your wrist. Small displays aren’t great for input or creation, so what does your persona want to see when he-she looks at his-her wrist.

yo: Creating a persona sounds like a great idea, I think that will be my next step. And I agree, the industrial design definitely needs some work. My thought was that I’d try to nail down the aesthetic of the interface and see what kinds of ideas that gives me for look of the hardware.

Brett: I think you’re right, the watch itself shouldn’t be used for inputting any information. I’ll have to really think about what the watch needs to do. Maybe there really isn’t any interaction with the watch at all except for a button to sync your info… I’ll think about that a little more.

In the meantime, here’s a little tweak of the watch face design; adding a little more color into the hour markers to help identify AM and PM:

Had an idea this morning on a way to tie in the hardware and software: what if a physical dial on the watch wound up the band going around the outside of the screen? Not sure how practical it is, but the visual is kinda neat.
watch idea.JPG

I think having an analog element would be nice. You could make the outer ring around the crystal move (like a dive watch) so the motion would me more direct and intuitive.

I’d be careful about the arbitrary position of the hour markers. The basic 12 hour watch face is pretty standard and an easy way to ground your UI. A list of daily appts could appear as colored bands around a universal clock face, and they’d be visually and proportionality related to the current time.

yo: Yeah, I think a rotating bezel/outer ring is going to be the most natural interaction. I’ll think on that a bit more.

Brett: That’s a good point. With what I have now, there’s a fair amount of interpreting and counting you’d have to do to figure out when you’re next appointment is and how long it takes. I feel like there’s a solution somewhere between what I have now and what you’re suggesting with a static watch face.

Thanks guys for the interest so far, more soon.

Hi guys,
I’ve been putting together a user profile/persona for the smart watch, so here’s what I have so far. I’ve imagined three different personas and what parts of their lives might benefit from having this smart watch. If you have any suggestions for aspects I’m missing, please let me know!

Smart Watch User Persona

Personal Profile
A: age 22, full time student, works part time to pay for tuition
B: age 28, graduated from college, freelancing
C: age 35, parents, have young children and work part to full time

Primary Motivation
A: organization, want to concentrate on their work, not their schedule
B: wants to keep up with all of their clients and get to meetings on time
C: wants to be in the right place at the right time

Associated motivations
A, B, C: style, fashion, personal expression

existing solutions
A: School planner, laptop/smartphone
B: notebook/planner, smartphone
C: family whiteboard, planner, smartphone

Life Goals
A: wants to do well in college, graduate with honors, have a social life
B: also wants a social life, but wants to TCB and do good work for this clients
C: wants to be there for their family, not stuck working all the time or late

Experience Goals
A; user wants to feel productive and accomplished
B: user wants to feel collected and un-pressured
C: user doesn’t want to worry that they’ve missed something

End Goals
A: wants to do well in their classes
B: wants to have satisfied clients and steady income
C: wants peace and tranquility in their life

i like the way you are developing this project, the interface developments make sense and i’m sure you’ll dial in the aesthetics further when you have more of the the users and their needs figured out.

i like the design of the bezeld cylinder body in your first picture. i wonder if you used a knurled or textured pattern on the beveled surface or on the vertical surface below it as a grip and aesthetic feature of the design ? how about having the 1-12 clock numbers embossed/debossed on that beveled surface ? in that way, when you rotate the bezel to reschedule something, it would ratchet around to the desired schedule position and then spring home to the original clock position ?

the persona suggestions are good, i would back them up with some visual storyboards, showing more about the consumers lifestyles through activities,influences, brand loyalties etc. i would suggest also considering a much older user, blending some classic watch styling into your modern interface design, keeping them in touch with the old and the new. it could have a dome shaped screen, maybe the body has a classic winder as you have suggested in the sketch that serves as some sort of navigation or control. i don’t mean a total steampunk job, just some cues and influences of it might be worth considering…

Thanks, Paul! I’ve been thinking about having texture around the bezel, actually. I did a bit of sketching this morning on the train exploring different textures and materials. If I integrate an over-molded rubber into the bezel design, that would present a nice opportunity to add some color into the design.

I also did a bit of thinking on the interface and how you would see your day or your week displayed on the screen. Right now, I’m thinking that every time you rotate the bezel about 30 deg. it clicks into place and the display changes to week or month view.
Brett: I’m taking your advice with the static watch face after all, I think that makes the most sense.

If you guys have any suggestions I’d live to hear them! I think this weekend I’ll be revising my Illustrator mock ups to reflect the watch face changes, and possibly do a couple higher-quality sketches of the bezel design.

As far as the hardware goes, do a quick search of Baselworld 2012 and SIHH 2012. You’ll see a pretty good cross section of what the watch world is thinking right now.

Baselworld looks interesting, too bad it’s in Switzerland!
Looking at one of their magazines from the show(link above), a couple of brands jump out at me as an aesthetic I may want to try for (minus the diamonds): Versace and Roamer.

EDIT: I have some research on watch style trends already, I’ll get a board together soon with my research and some of the Baselworld trends.

I’ve been making some progress on both the hardware design and the interface.

Yo: I’ve been thinking a lot about your comments. I think I want the watch to take a lot of inspiration from existing watches, and showcase its new functionality. I still want to keep a fairly minimal aesthetic, though, so it will definitely have a different look than many watches already out there.

Currently my favorite look is a straight side profile and a slight diamond pattern cut into the bezel. Minimal and functional, yet still cool-looking.

As for the UI, I took the advice of Brett_nyc and based it on a more familiar-looking watch face to make it easier to read.

I’ve added a few new features, such as a calendar, a timer, a compass, and GPS (not entirely sure about GPS, but why not?). The idea behind the Calendar is that it keeps track of either how many appointments you have or how many tasks you complete and displays a kind of info-graphic that shows how much you’ve completed over the course of the year. It also displays how busy you’ll be in the future so you can quickly tell if you can ‘make that meeting’ or ‘take that vacation’, etc.

The ‘App Menu’ wouldn’t be seen normally and would be invoked with a double-press. Normally you switch apps by simply spinning the bezel, but the app menu lets you navigate to a specific app or turn the watch off.

You might poor through this site, lots of reference, new and vintage:

Thanks a lot, that’ll be a great resource! I thought I’d mock up something to show where my head’s at right now with the look of the watch. Shown with a leather strap.