Case Study: Revolutionizing the Mobile Shopping Experience
At Sourcebits, we’ve worked w ...
When the Apple Watch rumors were confirmed, everyone at Sourcebits got excited. (We actually had produced our own vision for an Apple Watch, which you can see here.) In fact, we decided to run a company-wide contest to develop an app for the Apple Watch.
We received dozens of ideas – from silly entertainment apps like a high-5 noise+visual to productivity apps like a language translator to health apps and more. The executive team selected a winner – LifeWatch – and we began designing our first Apple Watch app. But before we explain it and walk you through the creation of LifeWatch, a little background on Sourcebits and wearables.
We love working with clients that seek our mobile design and development expertise – and they’ve asked us to create awesome apps for the wearable tech market. A great example of a recent project: Vuzix and their enterprise smart glasses. The Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses is an Android-based wearable computer which can be controlled using the mobile app created by Sourcebits. It won the CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Best of Innovations Award. In January, Vuzix raised a $24.8 million investment from Intel, further advancing the business case for wearables.
According to Juniper Research, global wearable device shipments will more than quadruple by 2017, reaching 116 million units. The Future of Wearables is no longer a dream – it’s a reality. That’s why we included wearable tech in our 2015 mobile predictions in January.
Sourcebits developer Chris Dietz – based in San Francisco – came up with the idea for LifeWatch. It’s an Apple Watch app that makes it possible to easily alert a caregiver when you need assistance. And because the watch itself wasn’t shipping for a while (we got the Apple Watch SDK earlier this year), Chris and one of our designers, Serge Belkin, had the daunting task of creating an app based solely on documentation from Apple. They were excited to accept the challenge and dig in.
“We worked to make the LifeWatch experience good despite the restrictive development environment. It was an interesting challenge and we’re proud of the results.”
— Chris Dietz, Sourcebits developer
The Apple Watch offers a brand new user experience for interactions and technologies to select, navigate, and input, suitable for small devices like the Apple Watch. Apple’s human interaction guidelines for the new watch are extensive — everything from glances, notifications, modal sheets, layout, color and typography, animations, branding, plus UI elements as well as icon and image design. To make the most of the new opportunities and create a compelling interaction design, Serge used a new approach for LifeWatch. It’s a valuable design lesson we’ve learned for future Apple Watch projects.
Chris and Serge based their work on two potential use cases while developing the LifeWatch app. Here’s an overview of the app’s features they envisioned for the user’s Apple Watch and iPhone.
In the first use case, an elderly user is injured and can’t get to a phone. The user can press a button on the Apple Watch, and her emergency contact, such as a relative or caregiver, is alerted via a SMS message that help is needed.
In the second use case for LifeWatch, the user’s iPhone is in her pocket. The iPhone detects that the user has fallen via the phone’s accelerometer. The iPhone sends a message to the Apple Watch asking the user if things are OK. If the response is “no”, a message is sent to the emergency contact saying that a fall has been detected.
Chris and Serge are eagerly awaiting the arrival of an Apple Watch at Sourcebits Headquarters. Then they’ll complete development of LifeWatch and explore its full potential. We hope to make it available soon for testing. Then we’ll consider adding more features to LifeWatch, such as monitoring your heart rate. They are optimistic Apple will eventually remove some of the third-party restrictions on the design and development of apps for the Apple Watch.
We’re also co-sponsoring an upcoming podcast called The Future of Wearables. Hosted by Futurist Heather Schlegel (she recently presented on wearables at SXSW Interactive 2015), the 12-episode series features interviews with mobile industry thought leaders and wearables makers to explore the future of wearables for work, for entertainment, for communication, for learning, for health – and more.
While it’s still early for wearables and they haven’t yet reached ubiquity the way smartphones have – it’s clear they are the next evolution for human interaction. And however people use wearables – the businesses that deliver great experiences for smart watches, glasses and more will have a huge advantage over the competition. Yes – it’s a gamble. But with the right support, the right idea and the right execution – the payoff could be tremendous. At Sourcebits we’re ready to bring the future of wearables to life for you, today.
If you’re thinking about entering the wearable tech market or have an existing app that you’d like to reimagine, you’ve come to the right place.