Five Tips to Ensure Apps Are Watch Worthy

    The release of the first iPhone forever altered the landscape of what was possible in mobile connectivity. Today, user expectations continue to grow by leaps and bounds with an ever-increasing number of apps for gaming, online media, fitness, productivity and even business. Unfortunately, many businesses are still struggling to catch up with the paradigm shift caused by mobile access and the many, many devices it entails.

    With the release of the Apple Watch, Apple is upping the game again. According to Urban Airship, organizations must now also take Apple Watch connectivity into account when planning their mobile engagement strategy and ensure their apps are Watch ready.

    According to Forrester Research, Watch apps “…require compelling ‘notification intelligence’ — something that most firms and we fear all marketers don’t yet fully understand. If customers turning off all notifications — the so-called nuclear opt-out option — is catastrophic on a phone, it’s suicide on a watch. A smartwatch without notifications is just a geeky clock.”

    “The Apple Watch app enables users to choose which iPhone apps are allowed to send actionable notifications through to the Apple Watch face,” said Brett Caine, president and CEO, Urban Airship. “As a brand, you’re going to have to carefully consider engagement strategies for both iPhone and Apple Watch. App users must opt-in to iPhone notifications in order to have the option of receiving them on Apple Watch. This alone means only the best engagement strategies will keep your brand on users’ wrists.”

    Urban Airship has identified five key tips to help organizations move beyond standard notifications to glanceable moments on Smartwatches.

    Five Tips to Ensure Apps Are Watch Worthy - slide 1

    Designing Apps for Smartwatches

    Click through for five tips organizations need to take into consideration when developing mobile apps, as identified by Urban Airship.

    Five Tips to Ensure Apps Are Watch Worthy - slide 2


    Personalization is at the heart of success.

    People aren’t content to let their mobile devices be a broadcast channel for brands, and smartwatches are even more personal. Brands need to offer sophisticated personalization that capitalizes on explicit user preferences, implied needs based on behaviors, past and present location, proximity, and other contextual cues.

    Five Tips to Ensure Apps Are Watch Worthy - slide 3

    Interconnected Devices

    Look at the Watch as an interconnected device versus a standalone experience.

    Smartwatches are not islands. They were never meant to be. Rather, they will be integrated into the customer’s larger device ecosystem, acting as the gateway to more robust experiences across a brand’s app-based properties and its physical footprint.

    Five Tips to Ensure Apps Are Watch Worthy - slide 4

    Glanceable Moments

    Design for glanceable moments.

    The engagement sweet spot for wearables is about 3 seconds — not 30-second smartphone experiences. This shortened attention span demands content that is more relevant and immediately actionable. This means hyper-shortened messaging — headlines, symbols, alerts and more — anything that helps the user digest information instantly.

    Five Tips to Ensure Apps Are Watch Worthy - slide 5

    Interactive Messaging

    Embrace interactive, actionable messaging.

    Button-enabled notifications give consumers powerful controls to respond to messages, set their preferences, and execute actions within a brand’s app and other apps, all through simple taps on the Apple Watch face. Smartphones can stay in pockets or purses, offering greater convenience, while buttons taps give businesses a new way to learn what makes their most loyal and early-adopting customers tick.

    Five Tips to Ensure Apps Are Watch Worthy - slide 6


    Use single-click navigation.

    People won’t tolerate browsing or searching on a tiny smartwatch screen. Use customer journey mapping to identify simple tasks that can be done on smartwatches with actionable notifications and anticipate a user’s next steps with contextual data to guide them through their next likely action.

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