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Smartwatch Interface Design for Low Power Consumption and High Performance

You have seen a lot of smartwatches coming into the market. If you look at all of them, you will see that a major selling point in all of these smartwatches is the longevity of their battery life.

Smartwatches and other wearables are meant to be used as daily commodities. So, they must be designed in a way that the user doesn’t have to charge that device frequently.

Now, you can’t just increase the battery capacity of a smartwatch because you need to keep the size and the weight of the watch in mind. Plus, you cannot decrease the performance of your watch to save power since buyers may not like it.

So, instead, you can make some improvements to the user interface of the smartwatch so that it can deliver excellent performance while ensuring that each full charge allows the smartwatch to run longer than its competitors.

So, today we will give you some smartwatch interface design tips that might come in handy when designing a smartwatch that will deliver high performance and consume less power.

Using Darker Colors

When it comes to smartwatch UI design, using dark colors must always be taken into consideration when trying to save power.

No matter whether you are using an LCD or an LED screen, darker colors always help in keeping the power consumption as low as possible.

When designing the menu and rest of the watch interface, you can keep the background black. Other than that, you can display messages to encourage viewers to switch to dark mode to save power. Although, make sure that the messages don’t pop up frequently or are annoying.

Even when designing watch faces, you can use darker colors to ensure better battery life.

Turn Off Display as Frequently as Possible

Another great way to reduce battery consumption as much as possible is to reduce the performance of the smartwatch when it is not in use.

When designing a smartwatch user interface, make sure to reduce system activity when the user is not interacting with his/her watch.

The first thing you can do is to turn off the display when the user is not looking. There are two ways of doing this. You can either set a screen timeout that turns off the screen when the watch is idle for some amount of time. Or you can add a gesture. So, whenever the user puts down his/her wrist, the watch display turns off automatically. The latter option is more dependent on sensors, but it can be more efficient.

Operating in Standby Mode

Another way to reduce power consumption is to change the status of the watch controller to standby mode when not in use.

For example, you can use a low-energy CC2541 wireless microcontroller. When it is able to operate with just the sleep timer and has no need for Timer 1, the current that goes to the controller is reduced from 90 microamps to a mere amount of 0.6 microamperes.

So, you are saving more than 99% energy when the device is not being used.

Other than that, you can design all the background tasks in a way that they are interrupt-driven in the code. This will ensure that the microcontroller of your watch always operates in sleep mode and will only open up when a background process needs to start working.

Proper Optimization

Optimizing the user interface of the smartwatch is necessary for good battery efficiency. To make the most out of your smartwatch, you need to understand how memory and graphics work together.

You may want to put high-resolution images in your UI to make the icons look crisper and make the overall watch more visually appealing. However, rendering such high-quality images requires the CPU cycles and the RAM space to decode them and push them to the screen.

Since these CPUs and RAMs are expensive and have limited resources, using high-resolution images in the UI is not only a waste of resources and money but also inefficient.

Next is animations. Everyone loves animation. And users will love to buy a watch that has tons of smooth and cool animations.

However, it comes with a price. Rendering those animations requires a lot of resources from the smartwatch, and you don’t have much to spare.

So, you can add animations for screen transitions to make the watch more appealing to the users. However, you need to keep in mind that it takes up a lot of memory and reduces performance.

So, keep control over how many animations you are putting in the smartwatch. Also, give an option to the users to turn off the animations if they want better performance and save battery.

Wrapping Up

These are the tips that you must keep in mind when you are designing a smartwatch that consumes less power but delivers high performance. Always put more focus on using darker colors in the UI. Make the watch work in standby mode most of the time. Also, take measures to turn off the display whenever possible. Finally, optimize the UI in a way that is more power-efficient by avoiding the use of high-resolution images and limiting the number of animations you are putting in your device.

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