UNDER ARMOUR CONCEPT WATCH
Our team, Connected Devices, was invited to collaborate with Under Armour's Concepts Team on a vision for digital products for the Fall/Winter 2019 collection. We designed a Concept Watch as an inspiration piece for the company's apparel and footware designers.
As the team's UX designer, I was responsible for the concept research, information architecture, early interaction design, and the apparel design concepts. I collaborated with talented designers who were responsible for the industrial design, UI/visual design, and animation.
The design of each collection begins with a Creative Kickoff for the company's apparel and footwear designers. During the Kickoff, the Concepts Team presents the visual direction for the upcoming collection. Our team, Connected Devices, was invited to collaborate with the Concepts Team on a vision for digital products for the Fall/Winter 2019 collection.
THE final design
The Fall/Winter 2019 Creative Kickoff presented a female and a male muse to the apparel design teams. Rather than feel chained to Under Armour's typical consumer (midwestern moms), the muses encouraged the designers to think aspirationally. Our female muse represented the future of work and play: a globe-trotting ice climber and kindergarden robotics teacher. I used the muse to conduct background research on ice climbing, focusing on what our user might need and what her challenges might be while in the extreme environment.
After researching the ice climber and conducting design explorations, we settled on presenting only two must-needed levels of information: the macro view and the micro view. We reasoned that in the thrill of the moment, this is the only information that matters to the outdoor athlete in extreme environments.
zones of information
The final (macro > micro) information areas were Home (date > time), Weather (current > barometer), Route (GPS > data), and Cameras (body > apparel).
I researched popular watches to compare the level of information displayed as well as interaction design. I looked at whether the watch was 'smart' or not, how many physical buttons it had, and when touch interaction was or wasn't effectively used.
I began the design process with hand sketches and moved to printing my wireframes at scale.
I experimented with permutations of the 'zones of information' (date/time, weather, vitals, routes, cameras) and how much information could be displayed in each zone.
Rather than complicate the interface and interaction design with touch and with multiple screens, I narrowed the best option down to a one-button solution with a tactile interaction. Shifting the gear up/down moves between the zones. Pressing the button inward changes the view within each zone from macro to micro levels of information.
The final UX flow we landed on was simple—a one-button push to get from a macro view (zoomed out) of each zone to a micro view (zoomed in).
UI and animation design by Breyna Braden. Art direction by Eric Boam. See "Credits" at bottom.
Because touch interfaces are incredibly popular, I explored all the various interactions encorporating touch that I could think of. After exhausting the possibilities, I determined that touch did not add to the final experience but only complicated it.
I looked at different ways we could incorporate apparel into the watch ecosystem to see if we could enhance the digital experience. I envisioned a 'sensor glove' that could control the watch as well as interact with a 'smart' jacket. Sensor pads on the jacket would act as interaction devices, controlling speakers embedded in the hood of the jacket.
One problem for the ice climber is lack of dexterity while wearing thick gloves. This makes interacting with a watch presumably difficult. I played with the idea of controlling the watch with gestures. I researched gesture interactions and explored how they might be used. I prototyped different gestures to see how intuitive (or not) it might be to control the watch (see video below for prototyping example). After experimenting with different gestures, it became clear that these gestures were not intuitive for controlling the watch.
We presented the Concept Watch to the company's apparel and footwear designers as part of the design direction for Under Armour's Fall/Winter 2019 collection. It was the first time software designers and apparel/footwear designers had collaborated on a joint project together. It spawned several R&D joint projects.
UI, Visual, Animation
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