Our target audience is students in design and tech related programs in school who are looking to maximize productivity throughout the day in order to complete required projects as well as side pursuits. Ideally, we would have liked to include other young professionals in the industry, because they would share similarities in goal-driven schedules and multiple deliverables throughout the day, but they would also have a higher income that would allow for the purchase of a wearable device.
As we expected, only a handful of students owned a smart watch from our program; 4 out of approximately 35 students. (Sidenote: in retrospect, we could have put up flyers around the entire campus for a wider reach to find all the students that owned a wearable device and better explore usage.) We interviewed our subjects on what apps they use most on their wearable device and why they used it on a wearable vs. mobile. Our findings concluded that for the most part, users check for the time, the weather, and browse quick text and email notifications.
Based on our initial research, our group wanted to focus on a display that included the time, the weather, and a Pomodoro app (designed specifically for this project).
Users own wearables in order to use their phone less. Often carrying a phone is baggage and in meetings or interactions with physical human beings, they become a distraction and a detractor from the experience for all parties involved.
Users want to stay informed without engaging with their device in depth. They don’t want to completely be offline, just in case an absolutely important text message or email comes in. They want the option of a quick glance but they don’t want to have to type in a password and click through to the right app in order to do so.
The Pomodoro app, based on the 25 minute interval time management tool, starts, ends, and restarts with intermittent vibrating notifications until the user exits the app with a tap. It allows for little engagement from the user, once it is started: just open the app, tap to start, and tap to end.
We tested a paper prototype on users (we opened the experiment to students who do not own a wearable device themselves as well, but have at least come in contact with them either at a store or from friends and family members who have them) and we found that a vertical scroll for the weather interface was easier to use than a horizontal slide.
In the first round of prototypes, we had designed it with a horizontal slide in mind, similar to the way Instagram, Snapchat, and even the Weather Network app (horizontal slide to see different cities) change between views. To be fair, these apps also allow for vertical scrolling, depending on purpose, and we found that users’ thumbs naturally try to scroll up and down before they try to slide left and right.
We imagine that users are just more accustomed to scrolling through feeds in all of the social apps they regularly interact with. In order to meet this tendancy, we changed the interaction of our paper prototype in the second round of testing.
Paper Prototype Testing
In the video above, we tested our paper prototype on a user at the Usability Lab at Humber College, North Campus. It was recorded over the user’s shoulder, to see what the user sees and how they interact with the product.