Product DesignStrategy and Innovation

How to Design for Apple Watch Series 6 and WatchOS 7

What’s New with the Latest Apple Watches and WatchOS

Apple recently released new hardware and software at their September event. Top updates included two new Apple watches and their latest watch operating system.

The new Series 6 and SE watches include Always-On displays and larger screens. This means more screen real estate for users to see important information at a glance. WatchOS 7 provides new and improved ways for users to set and customize their watch face. Users can choose from Apple’s latest watch faces and curate their own custom watch interface– they can even share their customized watch faces with others.

These next- generation devices and updated software include major improvements to the Apple Watch experience for both watch-wearers and creators of watch experiences.

Consider These Updates to Apple Watch Complications

Watch apps can now have multiple complications– elements that display information from apps on the Apple Watch. This means an app’s data can be broken down into many different ways that users can add to Apple watch faces.

watch complications

There are currently ten different types of complication templates an app can make use of, ranging from small to large components that can include text, images, infographic elements, and more. Users can select and arrange up to eight complications depending on the watch face to curate their own ideal interface. With multiple complications per app, users can now mix and match data that is important to them across a single app or many apps.

For example, a user might want to add several complications from a weather app to their watch face. The mix of a larger, more detailed complication along with smaller, more glanceable visual elements from the same app would provide ample information to the user. From the watch face, the user could see the exact data they need from their favorite app or apps and easily get to an app for more information by tapping into the complication.

With these complication improvements in mind, it’s important to think about the user’s needs when creating complications. Consider how users might want to add data from an app onto their watch face. They may be selecting complications for a general watch face, or curating their watch face for an activity like an upcoming trip, new hobby, or to suit their profession. This can help determine which types of complication templates an app should support depending on what the size and amount of information displayed the user might be interested in. Having different types of complications for an app gives users flexibility to include an app’s data on more types of watch faces and curate a watch experience that’s perfect for their lifestyle.

What To Do

Apple’s latest watch hardware and software put users in control to create watch faces that suits their needs. Improvements to complications make it easier for users to get a high-level overview from their favorite app or apps, and arrange them to their liking on the watch screen. By keeping the user and their needs in mind, apps can make sure their complications make their way onto users’ watches and stay there.

Want to learn more about design best practices for the latest Apple Watches? Get in touch with one of our expert designer leaders!

Want to learn more key takeaways from Apple's latest announcements?

Read the Executive's Guide to the September Apple Event

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