UI Happy

Joel Spolsky:

UI is important because it affects the feelings, the emotions, and the mood of your users. If the UI is wrong and the user feels like they can’t control your software, they literally won’t be happy and they’ll blame it on your software. If the UI is smart and things work the way the user expected them to work, they will be cheerful as they manage to accomplish small goals.

What are our expectations when it comes to how a smartwatch UI should work? Whatever they are they don’t seem to be the way users expect them to work when it comes to the Apple Watch UI. Pretty are these new Apple Watches, but by the looks of some initial hands-on impressions the UI might make more than a few users unhappy, at first at least.

I think Apple jumped the gun a bit. Let me explain. When the iPhone was announced in early 2007, the world had been very unhappy with the bumbling Windows Mobile 6.5 UI. Microsoft simply shrunk the desktop version of Windows menus and all to fit a tiny screen. The UI made no one happy and everyone suffered. There was Palm, but it was only a little better. iPhone OS changed all of that, instantly. The iPhone’s UI worked the way users expected it to work, and iPhone users were happier than they have ever been using a smartphone. The Apple Watch, unfortunately, isn’t coming at a time when smartwatch users are unhappy and fed up with smartwatch UIs. We are just starting to get a feel for them; just figuring out what to expect of them. Apple does not solve much with the Apple Watch; it is too early.

Do I think the Apple Watch will sell well? Yes. Do I think Apple Watch owners and those around them will swoon at its beauty? Yes. Do I think Apple Watch owners will be happy using them? Not at first.