On March 9th, Apple announced the Apple Watch and several new products and technologies to complement it. One of them is called Glance, which is the interface that allows users to view information from apps, giving them, “Just the right amount of information, right where they want it.” At a glance (pun intended), this is a fairly simplistic offering. At its essence, Glance ensures the best usability for Watch users.
Apple CEO Tim Cook says the Apple Watch is “…not just on you, it’s with you.” If you consider the dynamics between handheld versus wrist-worn devices, it’s all about how you engage with them and the experiences thereof. An iPhone, or other handheld device, takes a few physical steps (e.g., take device out, awaken device) to engage. The Watch and the dynamic of the watch form factor allow users to glance or get a quick view of the information.
Apple is known for developing products that apply human interface guidelines (HIG) to improve the user experience. In fact, it’s the company’s mantra for designing and developing pretty much all Apple products. Glance, which is built based on HIG, uses a two-window grid system that enables Apple to display key information on a relatively small screen—either 38mm or 42mm. Glances are non-scrollable (all content must fit on a single screen) and associated with a single action. Users can swipe left to right to view the displays and tap if they want deeper information.
Glances in Healthcare
The early adoption of HealthKit and ResearchKit by institutions such as Mayo Clinic, Epic EMR and Stanford, to name a few, has improved their credibility as viable technologies for use in healthcare. Imagine a near future—when a high-risk cardiac patient develops heart attack symptoms and the healthcare team is alerted with their Watch at a glance. Or imagine a time when clinicians can cull greater and more immediate insights into patient-approved data with a tap.
While the possibilities of applying Apple Watch in healthcare are exciting, it also increases the need for greater focus on security and privacy of patient data. The underpinnings of the Apple Watch announcement are setting the stage to allow for that infrastructure.
What happens behind the screen also presents new opportunities for digital marketers. The Watch is able to collect real-time data that could someday help predict behavior. As Apple improves its collaboration with health systems, physician groups and managed care organizations, the Watch could respond appropriately to users’ various needs in the moment, such as medication refill or doctor appointment alerts. The result is predictive responses that could help deepen the doctor-patient relationship.
A Move From Responsive to Responsible Design
The Internet of Things will continue to evolve how we engage with technology. The Apple Watch represents another layer of that connected experience. Enter responsible design, which in essence dictates more than simply feeding the right content to fit a screen size responsively. Responsible design includes considerations for multiple channels and predictive analytics. It also means ensuring privacy, content relevance and data protection are considered as users move through their healthcare journey.
Apple does an impressive job delivering products that consumers do not yet know they need or can’t live without. Apple Watch may be one of them. The inclusion of Glance into the Watch certainly will help accelerate its adoption rate as well as its usability. It leads to more exploration and opportunities for marketers, such as the promotion of messages in small screens and predictive analytics. It also brings about new questions, such as the appropriate collection of data and patient privacy information. Perhaps the Apple Watch introduction may also herald a new movement that we all will need to explore—which is responsible design.