Monthly Archives: March 2015

Ten ideas to improve the Apple Watch


  • Interactive notifications that work like proxy apps: Any Watch app should be able to push an interactive notification that doesn’t get dismissed when interacted with, but is always accessible from the notification center. E.g. interacting with key features of an app like Netflix or Pandora without having to launch the full app. Although this seems like a small usability concern, it would reduce friction hugely and make the Watch a go to device for quick, frequent use cases.
  • Bump to add contact: Users wearing Watch bump their fists and add each other in Contacts.
  • Knock to lock/unlock Macbook: There is already the successful KnockToUnlock app that uses smart geo-location and bluetooth to unlock a paired Mac by simply knocking on the phone. Would be a very cool and useful feature to be able to unlock the Mac by tapping on the Watch, using Apple Id without requiring any 3rd party app.
  • Improved running assistant: Use haptic feedback to indicate to the user of their change in pace while running, biking.
  • Hardware camera: A very large number of photos taken on phones everyday are selfies. Camera on the watch will make selfies so much more fun and eliminate using the phone.
  • Battery improvements: Recharge the battery through body heat or solar.
  • Touch ID: Allowing payments and other interesting ideas that take security as a major concern to be built off of the Watch.
  • Improved 3rd party app experience for Passbook: Passbook seems like a great idea that has not fully rooted in the ecosystem. Apple needs to to get more apps to leverage location, time, context to bring a consistent experience for passbook and notifications that can be a much improved user experience using them on the phone.
  • User status: System wide status updates that can be consumed by other apps. Maybe a simple gesture to set a pre-defined status message (at the gym, busy working, taking a nap). Would be immensely useful for real-time apps specially messaging and phone.
  • Smart notifications algorithm: Watch should not just take every notification and alert the user. It should instead act as a gate-keeper, a curator of the user’s attention. Using information such as time, the type of app, user’s history of interacting with that type of notification, upcoming reminders and meetings, the Watch should decide to show a notification or not.

Some of the ideas might not be directly features for the Watch but more or less an improvement in the ecosystem. Some might not be possible technically (at least not yet).

That should not stop us from dreaming up the range of things that we would like it to do :-)

10 ideas on how to become a user-centric IT organization

  • Ask your team members about 5 consumer products similar to the products they work on. Compare the UI of those products to yours and try to figure out how you can improve.
  • Make a list of top used apps by asking your employees which internal products they use everyday the most. Compare that list with data you get from your analytics.
  • Hire more designers/UX and involve them early on in making product decisions
  • Ask product owners/curious folks in your team to spend 0.5 days every month with an employee from another department. Tell your people to document the little, implicit problems that the employees face in their daily work life. Share those notes within your teams.
  • Use a service like UserTesting or on your top 5 most used products
  • Prepare an org chart for your team with employee names and the one product each one feels they are most entitled to beside their name. Every time one of your team members has a problem using any of the products, ask them to directly contact that person instead of creating a support ticket.
  • Compile a list of your top 10 products based on which ones receive the most # of support tickets. Let the concerned product owners know that they made it into the list (List A).
  • Ask employees outside your team about which internal tools they absolutely cringe using. Find out which of these didn’t make it to List A and ask the owners of those products to build an easier way for users to send feedback.
  • Define the most important metrics (average response time, average usage session etc.) and figure out a way to measure it across all your products.
  • Ask employees to contribute their own ideas on how to become more user-centric. Go through those lists to compile a master list (every list will contain at least one if not several authentic, unique, creative and actionable ideas).
This post is inspired by James Altucher’s “How to become an idea machine” post.


*product could be legacy software or screens, web apps, mobile apps, developer tools, basically any software component.