Designers have been preparing for the Apple Watch even before it was announced last September, but the challenge with any new platform is learning what makes a good app on a device you haven’t used before. Designers are faced with all sorts of decisions while creating a good app, which forces them to really think about the experience they want users to have once the watch is finally available.
When Mutual Mobile set out to extend The Economist app to the Apple Watch, we wanted to design something that fit the device’s form factor and still reflected the full experience of The Economist. A key feature of The Economist for iPhone is the audio edition, which includes readings of every article in the weekly edition recorded by professional voice talent. It’s an excellent way to get the full experience of reading The Economist while out and about. Given the popularity of that feature, we decided to extend it to the Watch and give the user full control over the audio edition from their wrist.
Apple Watch is designed to provide instant access to information without having to pull out your phone. We wanted to incorporate that philosophy into the Economist app by giving users quick access to the articles they’re interested in, and the effortless ability to control the playback from their wrist.
You get the gist of what we’re trying to accomplish, but let’s dive a bit deeper into the glance. When you’re listening to an article and want to check your progress or see what’s next, you can swipe up from the watch face to reveal the glance. The glance includes all of the relevant information about what is currently playing.
Progress in Design
The other option included with the force touch menu on each screen is the ability to change the selected edition. This presents a modal screen with a table that includes a row for each edition with available audio content. In addition to the title and date, we are also including the cover image for each edition, which is a great way for readers to quickly recognize an issue they want to listen to.
Progress in Design
What’s great about Apple Watch is how personal it is. It makes your favorite programs available at the times when it’s inconvenient to pull out your phone, like when you’re listening to The Economist during your morning commute. Once you’re at the office, you can look at the remaining time on a section or article and decide if you want to finish or not. These are important use cases where The Economist for Apple Watch creates an exceptional experience, and we’re excited to provide that to Apple Watch users.