Tips for developing a successful Apple Watch app: Part 2

While the engineers are busy with the programming facets of WatchKit, developers should start focusing on the important UX aspects of designing Watch apps. Apple has provided the Apple Watch Human User Interface Guide, which serves as the foundation for conceptualizing and prototyping apps that are best compatible with the wearable format.

Here are some tips you can use to help yourself or your team design a successful Watch app:

Make a solid smartphone app

This is very different from merely transporting a copy of a smartphone app to the Watch. An important consideration many developers forget is that the Apple Watch is intended to be a companion, Invoice2go app Founder Chris Strode said. It won't work autonomously from your iPhone.

Because of this, a large portion of development work needs to go into building a high-functioning smartphone app that pairs seamlessly with the Apple Watch app.

"You're essentially building on top of it," he added.

Simple and detailed

"You have to think a lot harder about what the most important element is on the screen and what it is you're trying to do," he said. "You have to strip away a lot of stuff to get to the core."

Developers should be sure to treat their process as carefully on the device as they would designing for a larger screen.

"Even though it's smaller real estate, it still takes just as much effort," he said.

Although Strode admires the Uber smartwatch app as well as Apple's fitness apps for tracking health data, he feels the platform is only just beginning. Even Apple's own APIs continue to evolve, he pointed out. Designing for the Watch will change as apps are able to access more of the device's core functionality.

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