David Pogue: ‘A Humble Proposition: How to Fix the Apple Watch’

David Pogue makes the case that Apple Watch’s interaction model is too complicated, and proposes a redesign. It’s interesting in and of itself that Pogue would be making an argument that an Apple product is too complicated, and I think he makes several good points, many of which are in line with my analysis back in May. But at the outset, I think Pogue overreaches:

Here’s the central problem: Apple went overboard with input mechanisms.

How many ways are there to interact with the touchscreen of a phone or tablet? Four: tap, swipe, tap-and-hold, or pinch.

How about navigating your laptop? Four ways: Click, right-click, or slide on the trackpad, or use the keyboard.

But on the Apple Watch, there are eight ways to operate: Turn the crown (the knob on the side). Click the crown inward. Tap the side button. Hold in the side button. Tap the screen. Hard-press the screen. Swipe across the screen. Pinch the screen.

Describing the iPhone and iPad, he omits the home button, which can be clicked, double-clicked, clicked-and-held, and on Touch ID devices, touched — all of which do different things. And Android devices add more buttons: Back and whatever they call the button for switching.

A digital crown and one additional button are not too many inputs. If Apple watch suffers from being overly complex, the fault lies entirely in the interaction model. A good interaction model can allow for many forms of input without confusion; a bad model can seem confusing with just one form of input.

Friday, 18 September 2015