8 Things to Consider While Designing Apple Watch Application

Hiral Thaker

By : Hiral Thaker

8 Things to Consider While Designing Apple Watch Application1

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works – Steve Jobs

It plays a huge role when it comes to creating a long-lasting impact on users. And when we talk about designing, Apple is one of the prominent names we all admire.. They are known for the minimalist designs in every product, presentation, packaging, etc..

Herein, we are going to talk about designing an Apple Watch app. Designing apps for Apple Watch is a different experience compared to other devices. You need to consider multiple factors like screen size, storage capacity, notifications, and more while designing apps for Apple Watch to provide next level user experience.

The User Interface of your app defines the experience your users will have while using the app. Eventually, that defines the overall success of your app. As a business you need to understand the need for good designs and start investing more in it and have seen the increase in their sales. There are many aspects you need to consider while designing applications for Apple Watch.

Let’s start with the basics you need to take care about while starting with Apple Watch app development:

Things to Consider to provide Better User Experience:


Screen Size:

Apple Watch comes in two different sizes i.e. 38 mm and 42 mm. So, you will have to create one source file for both the screen sizes. Designing for Apple Watch is a different experience as it needs full features and has to be in compact size.

So, when you are designing Apple Watch apps, consider how your users will interact with your app in such a small size. Consider things like resolution, image quality, user experience, and ways it can provide users with the correct experience.


Apple Watch has two types of notifications: short look and long look interface. When users get notifications they can lower the wrist to ignore it and tap on it to view it in more detail. While designing the notification section, you will have to decide what exact things you want to show to the user and how you will present it.

Apple Watch notifications

Source: Design Code

The above image shows how you can present the notification section to your user, where you can put app name, icon, and notification message. The more minimalist and easier to understand it is, the better it will be.


Define a standard color of your application which can help you to increase your brand value and identity. Having a standard color for your application and its logo is important so your application is easy to find.

Apple has some suggestions you should consider while designing your Apple watch application.

They are:

  • Consider color blindness and ways different cultures see them
  • Use black as your apps’ background color to create illusion of seamless and edgeless screen
  • Do not use color as the only way to interact with users

Remember, color has a huge impact to grab and sustain your users’ attention. So, make sure that your app’s color is attractive and easy to find from the plethora of apps available.


Having a standard typography on all applications has a huge impact on your users and the way they interact with your applications. To provide seamless user experience Apple has defined the pre-defined typography i.e. San Francisco Compact and San Francisco Compact Variant i.e. San Francisco Compact Rounded for complications. These two font faces provide your users with seamless experience and make your application easy to use.

Icon Size and Type:

watchOs app has a circular icon and does not come in any supporting texts. Icon type comes in five different variants:

  • Home Screen Icon
  • Notification Centre
  • Short Look Icon
  • App-Store Icon
  • Companion Settings Icon.

When creating an icon in any of these types below are certain things you should take care:

  • Try to keep your app icon simple, easy to understand, that grabs attention
  • Keep some similarity between watchOS and iOS app icon so it is easy to find your application
  • Do not use black color as your icon background so your icon does not mix with Apple Watch’s display
  • Avoid using text in your icon as it will appear tiny, instead you can try using mnemonic as a first letter of your icon application so it is easy to find your application

Apart from this, talking about icon size, Apple Watch provides icons in four different sizes i.e. 44mm, 42mm, 40mm, and 38mm. So, you need to create a version of these four different sizes considering each of these watches.


Glances are equivalent to widgets in notification settings. It will display the most important thing about your application to the user. They are optional and are available in the swipe-able collection of Apple Watch. They do not interact much with your user, but you need to define the things you want the user to see and interact with. They provide information on the basis of GPS and iBeacons i.e. real time.

For example: if you are creating a weather app, decide how you will present weather information to users, how much you will present, which graphics or animations you want to use, and so forth.

Mostly, glances are template based so as a designer you will have a freedom to do multiple things with it, but you need to decide that you want to provide glances to users, type of information you will provide, how you want users to interact and more.


Interface is a crucial part of any application because that is where the user interaction starts. Apple Watch provides interface in two ways i.e. hierarchical and page-based interface. Your application can support any one type of interface, so you need to define which one will you choose and why. In the iPhone we are used to interacting with hierarchical interfaces as it provides easy navigation to the detail page, whereas the page-based interface lets the user swipe via the pages horizontally. So, depending on your user-base, define what type of interface you want to provide to your users.


Apple Watch does not support auto layout options. It lets you define position horizontally or vertically on your own. It is easy to learn and define your layouts based on screen size and how you want users to interact with your application. Thus, define your layout on the basis of your users’ need.

Make your Designs more User-Centric:

To give better user experience you need to make your designs user-centric and to do so, just be sure about the following four things:


Make your application legible i.e. at a first glance users should be able to easily understand what the application is all about and what information you are providing to your user.


Users interact with the Apple Watch hardly for a few seconds, so you will need to be quick to interact with the users. When sending users notifications, be as concise as you can be and clear in your communication. The clearer and more concise you will be while interacting, better it will be to communicate with them.


Give exact information in less time. As we know, users’ interaction with watches is less, so you need to provide exact information to the user, but in less time. Providing exact information in less time, this will help them move further easily.


If the above three things are perfect, your user is very likely to feel personal. Lastly you just need to work to strengthen your relationship with your users.

Design your Own Apple Watch App:

Apple Watch app development and designing is a complicated and challenging task. You need to consider multiple factors you need to work on while designing your Apple Watch application. Follow the above discussed points and it will help you to design better products for your users. Once you start designing your application, make sure that it is consistent throughout and easy for users to interact.

Remember design of any application should be user-centric and help users to engage with applications better. Avoid too complicated designs and design strategies which does not help users in any form. Additionally, every day there is something new coming in the design process and market trends so make sure you create applications that are according to recent trends and are helpful to users.


Product design is the core part of making any application successful and guiding users to interact with the app in the best possible way. Thus, having applications designed according to recent trends is essential and to keep up with the changing trends is difficult.

When it comes to designing Apple Watch, you need an experienced designer who can help your boat sail in the right direction and understand what users need in detail. We can help you with Apple Watch app development and designing at every step to build a fully functional app.


All product and company names are trademarks™, registered® or copyright© trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

Get a Free Consultation

    ✓ 100% Guaranteed Security of Your Information