The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…

Posts Tagged ‘watch

The First Watch I Can Use

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Back in elementary school, my classmates wore calculator-watches. I used to gaze at them enviously knowing that I could not use them fully. As someone born without a left hand, my relationship with watches has always been one of love and limitation. Often, while looking at a feature list, I wouldn’t ask what the watch could do, but tried to figure out what I could do with the watch. My options were limited, since some operations required that I pressed two buttons at once with a non existent thumb and index finger. I actually ended up using a chest strap heart monitor instead of a wrist one because I simply couldn’t use the first option. Some of the watches I owned were beautiful, but difficult to put on. I broke many bands using my teeth to put them on, and don’t get me started with adjusting the time. I’d go the whole day displaying the wrong date rather than taking my time piece off, in order to avoid having to go through the ordeal of using my mouth in a public place to pull on the, by now chewed, leather band. I loved watches though, and because of that love I learned to accept that they were never meant, at least not fully, for people like me.

I heard about the Apple Watch for the first time during the “Spring Forward” Keynote. My main concern was wether or not I was going to be able to use the device. As I saw it, I had two options. One of them was to wear it on my left arm above the elbow. The other one was to ask my wife for help whenever I had to put it, and to use Siri for every other action. Neither one of those options seemed very appealing, but I was used to it. I assumed that, once again, I was going to have to figure out not what the watch could do, but what I could do with it. I figured that being able to tell, not only the time, but the state of my calendar, and to get notifications would be enough. I wasn’t angry or frustrated, because I was so used to watch makers not giving me a second thought, I didn’t think there was a problem.

On the day that I got my watch I went ahead and put it on. No big deal, I didn’t even think about it, but I didn’t need help. I didn’t have to bite the end of the band, or to ask someone to help me. I just wrapped it around my wrist and secured it immediately. Best of all, taking it off was as easy. Then, when I had to put in a passcode, I used my arm, and I was able to key it in on the first try. When I wanted to read something, using the end of my left arm, I could move the digital crown with the ease, and I was able to click the side button to send my wife a few taps, and even a rudimentary sketch. I’m fairly sure that Apple engineers didn’t think about me specifically, but I’d like to think that the idea of someone without full mobility would want to use their creation went through their minds at some point, and that thoughtfulness matters.

I use my watch to keep track of meetings, and to see notifications. I keep my to do lists, count calories, and capture stray thoughts with Day One (my favorite app). I love using pomodoro timers to keep on task too. And yes, I can access music and a calculator, though my headphones aren’t orange. I do use Siri a lot, but I do it because I want to, not because I have to. On mother’s day, I paid attention to the beautiful rural road on the way to the farmer’s market instead of looking at my phone the whole way. I only took it out to take a couple of photos. I am not going to review everything about the new device. It is a great watch, and it makes my life easier. It took only a couple of days for it to fully integrate into my workflow, and I enjoy having all the things I could never access before with any other watch, but updated and better.
It has been a little more than a week since I got it. I have been able to use every feature. 

As I was thinking about this post, I thought that I was going to have to mention that I couldn’t send my heartbeat to my significant other, but I figured out a way to create two points of contact on the screen, so never mind that. It is incredible that a complex machine, which normally adds difficulty to the user experience, has actually given me full access to a watch for the first time in my life. The funny thing is that it felt so natural, I didn’t realize how significant a change it was until a few days after I had been using the watch regularly, and began to remember my previous experiences. I am told that’s how design works. It doesn’t announce itself boastfully, it just fits into your life, and makes it better. 

Written by Hector

May 20, 2015 at 3:13 pm