Chapter 7 Designing for Android Wear
****** Designing for Android Wear ******
***** UI Guidelines *****
Designing apps for devices powered by Android Wear is different than designing
for phones or tablets. For starters, read the Android Wear system_overview and
see the Android_Wear_design_guidelines to understand the overall vision for the
***** Interaction types in Android Wear *****
Android Wear uses four interaction types: notifications, watch faces, native
apps, and voice commands.
**** Notifications ****
Notifications display ambient, contextual data. A notification may also let the
user launch your app.
Notifications can offer ligh tweight experiences, like replying to a message,
opening a location on a map, or playing a song. There are ready-made
notification_templates for instant messaging, music playback, and calendar
Read more about designing_notifications.
**** Watch faces and complications ****
Watch faces can tell more than the hour and date. By adding a gadget called a
complication to the watch face, an installed app can display useful, timely
With a single tap on the watch face, users can open an app associated with a
complication or change the look of the watch face itself, such as its color.
Read more about designing_watch_faces.
**** Android Wear apps ****
Developers can create branded, engaging experiences using native Android apps.
These apps can take full advantage of t he watch’s hardware capabilities to
provide on-demand experiences.
Read more about Wear_app_components.
**** Voice commands ****
Voice commands allow hands-free interaction with Android Wear. Commands can use
Google’s search services and trigger actions on installed apps.
Read more about Voice_commands.
****** Android Wear ******
Designing apps for wearable devices powered by Android Wear is substantially
different than designing for phones or tablets: different strengths and
weaknesses, different use cases, different ergonomics. To get started, you
should understand the overall vision for the Android Wear experience, and how
apps fit into and enhance this experience. We’ve also provided source files for
UI resources that you can use in your own apps in the Downloads section.
A new form factor deserves a new UI model. At a high level, the Android Wear UI
consists of two main spaces centered around the core functions of Suggest and
Demand. Your app will have an important role to play in both of these spaces.
***** Suggest: The Context Stream *****
The context stream is a vertical list of cards, each showing a usefu l or timely
piece of information. Much like the Google Now feature on Android phones and
tablets, users swipe vertically to navigate from card to card. Only one card is
displayed at a time, and background photos are used to provide additional
visual information. Your application can create cards and inject them into the
stream when they are most likely to be useful.
This UI model ensures that users don’t have to launch many different
applications to check for updates; they can simply glance at their stream for a
brief update on what’s important to them.
Cards in the stream are more than simple notifications. They can be swiped
horizontally to reveal additional pages. Further horizontal swiping may reveal
buttons, allowing the user to take action on the notification. Cards can also
be dismissed by swiping left to right, removing them from the stream until the
next time the app has useful information to display.
***** Demand: Ful l Screen Apps *****
For situations requiring richer user interaction than what’s possible with
cards in the context stream, developers can create full screen, on-demand apps
that users run via voice command (e.g. “okay Google, start a workout”), from a
context card, or through the Android Wear app launcher.
Full screen Wear apps use the same development structure as those for phone and
tablet apps. However, for Wear apps, developers should consider use cases that
are appropriate for the device form factor and capabilities. For example, as
Wear devices have smaller screens than smartphones, apps that require intense
user input may be inappropriate for Wear. On the other hand, since Wear devices
are worn on the wrist, they’re ideal for quick, on demand interactions.
Therefore, developers should consider building apps for Wear that quickly give
users access to information, or allow them to accomplish tasks that are
relevant to their i mmediate needs.
Although not stylistically limited to the context stream pattern, full screen
apps for Wear should respect the same design principles as the rest of the
system. For more information, see the App_Structure guide.
***** Other UI Features *****
* The Home screen is the default state of the device and it features:
o The background, showing either content relating to the first card
or a custom watch face design, depending on the watch face the user
o Voice queries, which can be invoked by saying “Ok Google”.
o Status indicators, showing connectivity, charging status, airplane
mode, and in some watch faces a count of unread items.
o The top ranked card in the context stream, peeking up at the bottom
of the screen. The amount of the peek card that appears is
determined by the current watch face.
* Watch faces may be chosen by the user to appear in the background of the
Home screen. Watch faces displ ay the time and accommodate the top ranked
peek card. The user can choose a different watch face by long pressing on
the current one.
* Some devices may enter a low-power Ambient Mode when not being used. This
usually involves dimming the screen in some way. The contents of a peek
card will automatically be optimized for display in this state. Users can
exit ambient mode by tapping on the screen, by tilting the screen towards
them, or by pressing a hardware button if one exists.
* Swiping down on the Home screen reveals the Date and current battery
level, and allows users to toggle the Do Not Disturb mode. Swiping to the
right after swiping down provides access to the device settings, and
allows users to toggle the Theater mode.
Chapter 23 Downloads
***** Android Wear Materials *****
*** UI toolkit ***
The toolkit contains detailed specs and measurements of all of the primary
Android Wear UI components. Available in PDF and Illustrator formats.
*** Sample user flow patterns ***
Examples of how to chain together simple Android Wear UI components into common
user flow patterns, from simple notifications to complex interactions involving
full screen activities.
*** Sample app design mocks ***
Stream cards and UI elements for some example apps in fully editable PSD
*** Watch faces U I toolkit ***
Detailed specifications and measurements for the the background canvas,
notification cards, and system indicators.
*** Slide watch face ***
Example of a watch face design in AI format.
*** Slide watch face specifications ***
Design specifications for the Slide watch face in PSD format.
*** Watch face icon example ***
Template for creating watch face icons for the carousel on Android Wear
*** Hardware technical drawings ***
Technical drawings and specifications for the latest Android Wear devices.