Introducing Gero: Our First Experiment With Apple Watch & WatchKit
Today marks the release of the first new Apple product since Steve Jobs’ passing: The long-awaited Apple Watch. A lot has already been written about the new gadget, and how it will measure up to other wearable tech already on the market. The consensus of many is that, while neat in theory, consumers would be better off to wait for the first few rounds of software upgrades, or even the next version of the hardware. This mentality, however, certainly didn't stop the onslaught of eager designers and developers champing at the bit to develop for a new medium.
Apple Watch is truly a horse of a different color when it comes to design and development. Many have probably asked themselves, “Is there even a benefit of extending my app to Apple Watch?” and have found the answer to be “Probably not.” The truth is at the moment, there are very few app experiences that would be enhanced with an Apple Watch counterpart.
So when we decided to create our first app specifically for Apple Watch, we asked ourselves, “What kind of app we can build that benefits from having an immediate visual representation on your wrist?” As our Commercial Lead, Brett, noted in a previous post, “It’s been proven over the past 100+ years that the wrist is a handy place to contain a glanceable piece of information.” With this in mind, our answer was an application that harmonizes your work-break balance and helps to increase your productivity, without getting in the way.
Introducing Gero: Time Management Made Simple
Gero is a productivity companion designed and built for Apple Watch with your natural habits in mind. Inspired by tried and true time management techniques, Gero improves your mental agility by syncing your iPhone and Apple Watch to provide timed “sprints”, typically 25 minutes in length, followed by a short break to relax your brain and stretch.
With Gero, you can:
- Sync between your iPhone and Apple Watch for seamless integration.
- Customize sprint and short break lengths.
- Customize the number of sprints in a row.
- Restart your progress manually.
- Disable sounds.
While simple and seemingly basic, the ustwo team painstakingly crafted our app’s interface, drawing inspiration from the “zen” mentality, and an underlying theme of elegant simplicity. Gero fades into the background, alerting you of sprint cycle changes with non-intrusive sounds, and quickly encourages the subconscious habit of productivity with the aid of your Apple Watch.
To create Gero, we attempted to push the capabilities of WatchKit, while adding in subtle, yet pleasing transitions, fluid animations, and crafting a user experience that seamlessly blends with the instinctive way we already interact with our wrist wear.
Pronounced “jeer-oh”, the name Gero was a natural fit for our time management app. Meaning “to produce” in Latin, the goal was to create a tool that has it’s own distinct personality, but wasn’t something you’d tire of quickly or become easily distracted by. Think of it as feng shui for your work: The perfect balance between being productive and leaving time for yourself.