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The sketchy beginnings of the smartwatch phenomenon promoted a passionate debate about the role of design in the overall success of the product. This debate included two major design components: the appearance of the gadget and the design of its interface.

Smartwatch manufacturers have spent considerable time refining both the internal and external design of the gadget. Did you know that Apple actually hired the top executives of Yves Saint Laurent AND Burberry just to talk about the design of the Apple Watch?

But more than its appeal on the consumers’ fashion sense, the more important aspect of the design this gadget needs is a unique interface. A modern smartwatch UI must showcase how much better it is operating both of its new and current features.

If you’re planning to design a smartwatch user interface, here are guidelines that you can follow.

  1. The design must capture the attention of its user for just two seconds at a time. At its core, it’s still a watch. And you don’t stare at your watch longer than five seconds, right? When you check the time, you just glance at it and you’re done. The UI design of a great smartwatch must also possess this character. Anything longer will defeat the purpose of using a smartwatch.
  2. The UI must offer an interact-once-display-multiple-times feature. An excellently designed smartwatch features the main pieces of information and prompts that you need, rather than displaying rich interactive elements.
  3. The design of the UI must also be clutter-free. If you compare a smartwatch to other gadgets today, it can be listed as one of the most compact smart units ever. Because of the size of this type of wearable technology, a cluttered interface will just confuse its user. Always go for a minimal, solid look. Save your intricate designs for a smartphone interface where the monitor is considerably bigger than a smartwatch’s face.

The market for wearable technology today is bigger than ever. This means that user interface design is also getting better. As a domino effect, the concepts of interface design for smartwatches are becoming prettier and sleeker. Many are patterned from what is considered the king of smartwatches – the iWatch. But some concepts are inspired by various social media platforms. Case in point: the minimalist Instagram-inspired and Facebook Android-inspired UI.

To give you additional inspiration when designing a smartwatch interface, here are 20 of the most beautiful examples of this wearable unit’s UI.

Moto 360 Reminder Concept by Siavash Shabanipour

Moto 360 Reminder Concept by Siavash Shabanipour

Android Wear Nike Running by Riste Lazoroski

Android Wear Nike Running by Riste Lazoroski

Rotary Dialer by Niklas Rekola

Rotary Dialer by Niklas Rekola

Social Activity by Yuriy Kondratkov

Social Activity by Yuriy Kondratkov

Strava Wear by David Kovalev

Strava Wear by David Kovalev

Android Wear Ebay Concept by Gary Keeler

Android Wear Ebay Concept by Gary Keeler

Android Wear’s weather card by Abhinav Chhikara

Android Wear's weather card by Abhinav Chhikara

Start Engine by James Lucia

Start Engine by James Lucia

Calendar app for android wear by Michal Galubinski

Calendar app for android wear by Michal Galubinski

AndroidWear by Tibor Lovas

AndroidWear by Tibor Lovas

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Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos. Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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