Why? Watch didn’t have a purpose. Fashion statement? Exercise tracker? Health device? Notification and alert machine? What. Was. Watch? After all that noise Watch became a success anyway and the latest and greatest model is now considered a criminal design.
Allow me to back up just a bit so we all realize that Watch is not unlike iPhone in that it took awhile to get settled. The original iPhone was cool and all, but it’s the improvements to iOS and the advent of a million or so iPhone apps that made the platform viable and successful, despite all the nattering nabobs of negativity touting and shouting otherwise.
watchOS has a honeycomb app launcher which sucks compared to iOS. The best feature Watch has going for it– beyond a plethora of cool Watchbands, useful notifications and alerts, and now the ability to be an iPhone on your wrist, is a thing called complications.
In horology, a complication refers to any feature in a mechanical timepiece beyond the simple display of hours and minutes. A timepiece indicating only hours and minutes is otherwise known as a simple movement. Common complications in commercial watches are day/date displays, alarms, chronographs (stopwatches), and automatic winding mechanisms.
Watch has complications. watchOS and Watch Series 4 have even more. Here’s an example:
Whoa! Look at that. Design crime, right? Maybe not. Different strokes for different folks and all that. Mark Wilson thinks he is the King of Design.
It’s a nightmare of information density. It features seven slider graphics. Seven. Some denote temperature. Some track steps. Another lets you know your Kesha track is almost over. There’s a graph for that. The face also features the Earth, because, I guess, there was a spare round spot for an extra affordance.
Personally, as a person with a measure of design esthetic and experience, I like complications, but, no, not for the sheer beauty of the visual mass, but for the sheer power of easily accessible information. One trumps the other.
Watch is a chameleon; a digital box with a constantly changing face. While the honeycomb app launcher sucks, and the Dock is not much better, I managed to find usefulness in the only obvious location. Complications. I use three modular Watch faces most of the time, each with up to five complications. One swipe from right to left brings up five more complications.
Those little tidbits of information may be visually offensive to the King of Design and his court, but usability trumps design.
The color scheme isn’t unified. Numbers are presented through oft-incongruous infographic values… his mess of a screen is an insult to the user’s cognitive load. Apple products are traditionally paired down, offering you just enough of the right information at the right time
And that is still the case because Watch has many Watchfaces from which to choose, and each complication is fully user customizable, so quit your bitchin’ Mark. Your design crown has slipped over your eyes. Not everyone wants such information overload, but some of us do, and we don’t have to look at such clutter and walk through every element. Usually we look for one item at a time.
Information overload? Perhaps for some, but not for all. Every Watchface has custom features. Complications are fully customizable, too. If you want information overload, great. Apple gives it to you for the same price as Mickey and Minnie or a photo of your cat.
Apple Watch 4, with handy new technologies like an FDA-approved ECG and fall sensor, could be incredibly powerful in medical monitoring–especially for the elderly. But grandma will have to wade her way through the pixel puke, first.
Wrong. Just wrong.
Mark and other members of the technorati elite politburo may snark their way through a catchy headline to an ill-advised and ill-formed perspective on Apple design choices, but design, like beauty and usability, is in the eye of the beholder.