On April 3rd 2010, the iPad was unleashed on the world and our first iPad app was ready to download on day one. Fast forward to April 24th 2015 and our first Apple Watch app is available on the day the Cupertino giant’s smartwatch hits the streets. Brandwidth’s bloody good at this stuff, but we don’t like to shout about it.
It’s easy to claim innovation and futurology are all about predicting trends and second-guessing the market. What’s more useful for clients is to take control of the path for their products, services and delivery based on facts. To achieve this, businesses need to get better at shaping their own futures.
In 2010 the iPad-related headlines were for our incredible Guinness World Records app, now we’ve developed an extension to our existing Vodafone Porsche Car Connect app for Apple Watch. Neither of these apps were knee-jerk reactions to product announcements, they were carefully planned, developed and crafted titles, targeted to maximise user experience for new audiences.
We didn’t wait for an official announcement for either tablet or watch. I hinted at the possibility of Apple’s tablet back in 2009 (and referenced the ‘iPad’) and we’ve been planning for an Apple Watch for nearly three years. The Porsche Car Connect app wouldn’t have been possible without a visionary client, willing to take a few risks for a well-deserved halo effect. The same can be said for Guinness World Records and both clients shared in the roller-coaster ride towards launch day. It was worth every minute!
By creating bespoke products for new technology we’ve added value rather than noise. Unfortunately, for the next few months there will be a lot of white noise surrounding the Apple Watch. The temptation for existing app publishers will be to develop smartwatch extensions just for the sake of it. To make something just because they can and because their audience is demanding content for their new toys.
Stop. if you merely add clutter to what is already a small piece of digital real estate, you’ll run the risk of consumers wanting the app off their watch AND their smartphone.
We’re entering a challenging phase in UI design. Just when you thought screens were getting bigger, along comes a new era of tiny wrist-worn technology requiring effective and intelligent design, not merely smaller text and images.
Here’s the smartwatch rule to apply, as a designer, developer or client: “If there is value added by delivering information or functionality more conveniently on the wrist than any other screen, do it. It’s the future and your audience will expect it.”
We’re not afraid of firsts but they’re carefully researched, meticulously planned and expertly produced. They’re not punts based on guesswork, dressed up as analysis. We don’t bet it all on red unless we’ve been instrumental in designing a red thing.
It’s not all about Apple and apps either, demonstrated by our award-winning Lexus Symphony Orchestra, 3D screens, gestural interaction and a gold medal won at the Hampton Court Flower Show for our Holiday Inn Green Room… and a bunch of things you haven’t seen yet.
The future’s bright, because we’re busy designing bright things.