I have been a fan and customer of DirecTv for a long time and was intrigued when I saw they had created an Apple Watch app. Historically I think they have has some of the better UI design and done some interesting things with technology in their apps and set-top boxes. So I downloaded their Apple Watch app and took it for a test drive. It has some basic but interesting functionality where you can use it to pull up the guide, playlist of recorded shows, the menu for the device and then gives you the controls to move around this menus. So while the functionality seemed like a good starting point, I have to say that the design of the Apple Watch app felt rushed. The app design was almost nonexistent with graphics that are overly simplistic. I also thought that the flow of the usability could have been smoother with fewer screens and en experience that wasn’t so disjointed.
Normally I would have just gone through the experience, thought about how I might have done it differently and then gone back to whatever project was due for work the next day. But since I find myself with an abnormal amount of free time as I search for the next chapter in my career I took this rare opportunity to spend a little time to see how I might have re-design two of the apps screens. DirecTv didn’t ask me to do this, pay me or anything else. I honestly just did it because I was bored and love their brand and wanted to try to give them a thought starter for how they might improve the Apple Watch app.
I started by sitting down and looking at their existing iPhone app, iPad app and physical remote control to see what visual conventions they use for their remotes and what functionality is possible from the apps. From there I worked up a design that has a but more functionality to give the app more value but keeps the interface simple with visual conventions a user would be accustomed to seeing so the interface elements could remain simple. I thought it was important to add a small amount of dynamic and changing content with the addition of the ‘now playing’ header and network bug so the visual design of the app would stay fresh over time. From there I prioritized the most important functionality that people would want in an Apple Watch app and but the branding at the bottom so it reinforces the brand but doesn’t add to the scroll length of the page. I then took the guide screen and kept the existing functionality but make the interface graphically stronger so it is easier to use at a glance on a small screen and made a visual design that has the same look as the physical remote so there is continuity between the different form factors. I think the overall experience has more value for the user, a clear flow and stronger visual that help the app stand out on the Apple Watch. Let me know what you think to are if there are any other apps you would like to see me re-design.