Interface Evaluation Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Interface Evaluation: Smart Watches and Smart Phones

Assessment of Samsung Galaxy

Allion Labs Inc. Comparison of Smart Watch Integration

Advances in Smart Watch Technology Integration


The focus of this study is the evaluation of the interface between Smart Watches and Smart Phones. This study will conduct this evaluation through a review of the literature published in this area of inquiry.

Samsung Galaxy Assessment

The Smart Watch is reported in the work of Budiu (2013) to be "the next important platform, extending the range of screen sizes to design for down one notch desktop, tablet, phone and now the watch." (p.1) The Samsung Smart Watch is reported to have been released first as a "companion to the Samsung Galaxy Note phablet." (Budiu, 2013, p. 1) The phone is reported to be a large phone measuring six inches that is very inconvenient to remove from one's pocket or their purse. The user can instead use the Smart Watch which has a camera and microphone that is embedded in the wristband of the watch. In terms of functionality, it is reported that the applications that are preinstalled with the Gear are those as follows:

(1) Notifications, which you can configure for events such as getting new emails or text messages

(2) S-Voice, a voice recognition app that lets you send a text message, call someone, check your schedule, find the weather, and a few other things, but, notably, does not let you search the web dialer and contacts apps, that allow users to call from their watch

(3) Gallery, a photo gallery of pictures taken with the watch camera

(4) Media Controller, a music player

(5) Pedometer

(6) Timer and stopwatch apps

(7) a calendar app that displays the schedule for the day

(8) a voice-memo app for recording voice memos a weather app for getting the weather in your

favorite city (Budiu, 2013, p. 1)

In addition to these applications, it is reported that the following applications are available using the companion phone:

eBay, an app that display notifications for various eBay events (e.g., auction ending soon, being outbid on an item)

(1) Evernote, a simplified version of Evernote that lets users store pictures or voice memos to their Evernote account

(2) FBQuickview, a very minimalistic Facebook app

(3) Glympse, a location-sharing app

(4) My Fitness Pal, an app that helps you keep track of your caloric intake

(5) Pocket, which gives you access to the stories that you saved

(6) Vivino, an app that scans wine labels and provides additional information about the wine

(7) Zite, a news reader (Budiu, 2013, p. 1)

The Gear Manager is used to install and manage the applications. The Gear Manager runs on the companion Smart Phone and allows users to install Gear applications as well as make decisions about what applications are made priority on the Gear screen as well as which applications are allowed to send notification to the Smart Watch.. It is reported that the user customizes the phone themselves and that the screen of the watch is far too little to support "even the fairly simple informaiton architecture that characterizes most phone apps." (Budiu, 2013, p. 1)

Reported as a useful functionality is "Find my phone" which can be used when the users is within the range of the Bluetooth and when the user has the phone but not the watch 'Find my Gear' results in the watch beeping. When the watch and the phone are close to one another the phone unlocks automatically. When the phone is unable to detect the watch, the user is required to enter their password to unlock the phone. It can be extremely difficult to enter a password on a mobile phone and because of this, the automatic unlock feature is reported to be "a small first step toward making authentication easy on mobile devices." (Budiu, 2013, p. 1) The watch receives a notification when a text message is received and text messages are reported to be "fully displayed on the Gear screen" which makes this watch popular with teens who want a way to know when text messages come in but do not want to be conspicuous about it. It is reported that emails also trigger a notification on the Smart Watch but if the Gmail app is used the email messages are not shown but instead an indication simply shows that an email was received. If the email app is chosen for use rather than Gmail the sender of the email, the email subject and the first few lines of the email are seen on the watch. This can also be erased.

It is possible to set up the email application to send the watch notification and one can tap on the message which provides a detailed view. It is reported that usability of watch-based email "requires the watch to display enough information about a new message to allow the user to determine whether it's worth the trouble to pull out the phone to read the message. Just saying the equivalent of "you've got mail" isn't enough. In general, any application that requires the user to transition between devices should provide enough information sent on the first device to allow users to determine whether to go to the second device now or later." (Budiu, 2013, p. 1) It is reported as well that other applications including such as eBay, Glympse, and Facebook also are capable of sending notifications to the watch however, the available content varies in its complexity. The Glympse notification is reported to provide access to "a full map, but the map is static and users are unable to zoom in on the map or move around on the map." ( Budiu, 2013, p. 1 ) However, two variations exist: (1) the first is that there is a touchscreen on the Smart Watch however, there is not a keyboard so the information is input into the watch via voice or camera presenting limitations on the potential use of applications and the application complexity; and (2) due to the small screen not much room is available for the display of content and there is not any room for interface widgets. (Budiu, 2013, p. 1) Smart Watches are reported to be "the natural application for gestural interfaces: by getting rid of the interface controls and replacing them with gestures, designers can take full advantage if the limited screen real estate." ( Budiu, 2013, p. 1) It is stated as well that the "swipe is the primary way of navigating through Gear apps: (1) Swiping left or right on the vertical edges moves back and forth in the app space (we count these 2 options as one gesture, because the left -- right mapping to a linear progression is a direct mapping where left and right swipes are each others' natural opposite); (2) Swiping up takes the user back to the previous screen; and (3) In many apps, horizontal swiping is the way to move from one page to the next. The gestures take a while to discover, because the watch touchscreen is not particularly sensitive." ( Budiu, 2013, p. 1)

It is reported that there are two types of smart watches reported to be existent and it is reported that one of the Smart Watches is "equipped with touch panel and the other one is controlled by pushers and some are able to take picture while some have voice control function." (Allion Engineering Services, 2013, p.1) Allion Labs is reported to be a certification expert and to keep up with the times and relate concern about the Smart Watch trend. The test report conducted by Allion Labs Inc. focuses on the: (1) appearance; (2) UI; and (3) functionality of the product. The following watches were assessed by Allion Labs Inc.: (1) SONY Smart Watch 2; (2) Martian Passport Watch; and (3) Pebble Smart Watch. ((Allion Engineering Services, 2013, p.1) Each of these are shown in the following picture labeled Figure 1.

Figure 1

(SONY Smart Watch, Martian Passport Watch, and Pebble Smart Watch (left to right)

Source: (Allion Engineering Services (2013)

The specifications of each of these watches is listed in the following chart labeled Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Specifications of Smart Watches

Source: (Allion Engineering Services (2013)

The report on the appearance and UI SONY Smart Watch 2 is reported to have a dial touch panel with better performance in the categories of comfort of wearing and sense of design than the other two watches. Martian passport watch has an OLED display and Pebble Smart Watch has an e-paper display only. However, the buckle on the SONY is a butterfly style making it hard to adjust and the category 'convenience of waring' is won by Pebble. In the category of User Interface, SONY beat the other two watches in the categories of 'inferface fluency', 'font size' and 'font identification'. (Allion Engineering Services, 2013, paraphrased) It is indicated that users like the 1.6 monitor that…

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