After the introduction of Android Wear, the market has experienced a boom in the software development for this platform to meet the users’ demand for wearable apps. However, creation of these apps is not as easy as plain Android software coding as these ones have to comply with the new format’s philosophy and design. Here we’re giving you a simple Android wear app tutorial to guide you through all ins and outs of the coding process and help you come up with a workable software solution.
How to Develop an Android Wear App?
Designers wishing to enter the market of Android wear apps need to keep in mind the specifics of wearable devices and the ways in which users interact with them. Here are some key distinctions that make wearables unique and require incorporation into the app design:
- Minimum time for interaction. According to the 5-second rule, the user has to get all vital information from a wearable app within five seconds. So, apps for wearable devices are made with a very narrow focus on some specific function.
- The rule of the “big thumb” suggests that designers of wearable apps need to reconsider the navigation system to incorporate the display of wearables and certain modes of wearables’ use by people (e.g., during walking).
- Since the Android wear screen is small, and the user’s focus lats maximum 5 seconds, the designers need to design apps with a minimal flow of information that perform their function perfectly at the same time.
- Apps for smartphones and wearables should be designed differently in terms of sound and buzzing effects. While the constant buzz of the smartphone is something to which we’re all accustomed, constant vibration of your smart watch will quickly get quite irritating.
- Android wear API. Take into account that applications use API clients like DataClient to use the Android wear services.
Android Wear Standalone v. Paired Apps
Once you get to the process of coding the Android wear standalone apps, you need to keep in mind the critical difference between them and the apps paired with your smartphone. While the paired ones are essentially running on your mobile device, with the core functionality transferred to your wearable device, the standalone apps are designed for the wearable device from the very beginning. Thus, they have all their functionality encapsulated into the minimalist design of the wearable, having no smartphone backup. Because of this, the app developers should keep the screen size in mind as the key determinant of the app’s features. Given the difference of wearable devices’ designs (some come with round screens, while others feature rectangular ones), you need to come up with a universal design easily adjustable to any screen shape. A useful tool for guaranteeing such fit is GridViewPager – a trusted companion of Android wear app coders displaying the cards exactly the way they will come out on the wearable’s screen.
Stages of Android Wear App Development
The first things to do during your design for Android wear is to determine the app’s major design elements, guidelines for the coding process, and key concepts shaping it. It’s vital to keep in mind that any Android wear app has to include the ‘Suggest’ and ‘Demand’ functions. The former refers to the horizontal swiping of the content stream, while the latter provides the cue card to enable the user’s direct enactment of certain information query with a voice command or via tapping on the screen.
After the conceptual and design issues are clarified, it’s time to run your Android Studio SDK and start the development process. Here you need to:
- Run the emulator;
- Create contextual cards and add them to the stream;
- Testing the app with Android Virtual Device Manager;
- Complete the coding process.
Thus, as you can see, developing an app for Android wear is quite simple (for those knowledgeable in Android software development as such). The main issues to keep in mind include the peculiarities of users’ interaction with wearables as a new kind of a smart device and designing apps fitting that interaction format.