What a difference a day makes! Yesterday during Apple’s announcement of the Apple Watch, they went on and on about how the screen wasn’t obstructed by our fat fingers because they invented the “digital crown”—a phrase so pretentious I can only use it with an eye roll.
Today they’ve addressed the left-handed issue with software as everyone, including me, assumed they would. There was never any reason to assume that they orientation of the UI would behave any differently than the iPhone and iPad. Oh and you can flip the straps around. Who cares? That’s never been an issue for left-handed people wearing watches.
The elephant in the room that I noticed during the announcement is that the “digital crown” is too close to the button and it protrudes enough to get in the way.
Basic usability says that you do not place interactive elements so close together that you can accidental touch the wrong one. It’s a rule I followed when designing kiosk touch screens and it applies in real world design as well.
As a left-handed person, I can assure you that, nine times out of ten, we’re going to brush against the “crown” when we attempt to press the button. The unintended zooming will a constant source of frustration and no software solution is going to fix this problem.
The solution is simple, elegant, and works for everyone but we won’t see it until Apple Watch 2.0. Sigh. Move the darn button to the opposite side.
So I still contend that this is a UX fail. Any usability study with appropriate demographics for both right- and left-handed people would have discovered this. Period.