Great IT Innovations: Designing an Apple and Rado smartwatch

Andreas Hammer Uncategorized Leave a Comment


My very first project at Aarhus University! In this class we were tasked with coming up with ideas and sketches for a hypothetical smartwatch concept produced by Apple and Rado in cooperation.


Our first step was to research the two brands and determine their core competencies and qualities. Based on this research, we also chose a target audience and based on that; we started concretizing what functions and features we wanted our smartwatch to include.

The process of our project is visualized in the following model:

SITIN flowchart



1From the outset we wanted to differentiate ourselves from the current smartwatch trend. We chose to design the product as a watch with extended functionality, rather than a standalone unit as a plausible replacement for the smartphone. It is presumed that owning a smartphone is common to our target audience, and that wearing a watch was more of aesthetical value than functional. Our product is not aiming to replace either, but let them cooperate so they may complement each other.

2The watch must not be useless when not connected to a smartphone. Stand-alone functionality must provide an additional experience to wearing a regular watch.


3 The SmartWatch is able to give its user notifications from a connected smartphone. The notifications given are defined on an app on the users smartphone. The user can allow all notifications, or choose specific callers, emails and other types of notifications to be shown. The purpose is to bring notifications more ubiquitously and easier to the user. However, the user is not able to respond to emails or text-messages from the watch. We deemed it too physically constrained in size to create a well-functioning response-capability, resulting in a potentially bad user experience.



The Rado watch model we chose to build our smartwatch concept on is the Rado Centrix Automatic model.

centrix hvid








When brainstorming for ideas on interacting with our SmartWatch we felt that it was important to include tactile input to add recognizability to the design and interaction with the watch, from a standard watch.

Our idea was to keep the button on the side of the watch, and let it work like the button on any iPhone: it takes the user back to the watchface.

The outer rim as seen on the picture above, was to be made into a rotatable wheel, much like on older iPods. When at the watchface, rotating the wheel brings up a selection menu. All menu choices are listed vertically, the one selected is highlighted and enlarged, and the icons closer to the selection are made larger. This visualization can be compared to moving the mouse acress the Dock in Apple’s operating systems.

To select an item, the user uses touchbased interaction by swiping a finger to the right across the watchface. Furthermore, gestures are used for things such as regulating volume and panning the map when using the watches navigation function.

Given the small screen-size, touch interaction alone would be awkward, not fast enough and restrict the information shown on the screen, in order to make icons large enough to be clickable. Physical ways of interaction gives the user a tactile feedback and precise response when using the watch, along with familiarity from interacting with a regular watch. So we chose to create a hybrid between physical interaction through the wheel and the button, and touch-based input as the optimal solution for interacting with the watch.


If you’re interested you can read the full length more in depth report here.