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Apple VP of Human Interface Design Alan Dye has spoken about watchOS 7 in an interview, including the conception of the highlight handwashing feature and the coincidence of its development timing.
Since the launch of the new Apple Watch models and the release of the operating system, Dye claimed Apple has received "very positive" feedback so far from users during an interview on the Hodinkee Radio podcast. "We keep a close eye on those things," the VP said, before declaring "We're busy thinking about what's next, but so far it's been lovely to hear such a positive responses from everything, from the updates to hardware to all the work we've been doing on watchOS 7."
There's "especially love" for the new watchfaces, with a lot of "positive feedback" for the additions.
When asked about where Apple comes up with its ideas and features, Dye says a lot of it comes from shipping software and getting it in the hands of users. "Often times it takes our software getting out into the world, in order to uncover some of these things, or even just notice different patterns or trends or ways that people actually use our products that we didn't anticipate."
"In such a great Apple soft of way," Dye mentions how there was a team thinking about hand-washing "quite a few months ago," and they apparently they had a "deep understanding" of how they could determine if a person is properly washing their hands through motion data and sound.
The work wasn't from feedback from consumers, but "we saw what was happening in the world and we scrambled to come up with a UI and experience that would encourage users to wash their hands for 20 seconds." Dye says he's proud of Apple's response to the problem.
Though the design process is a "conversation" between different teams discussing what features and capabilities are possible with the platform, Dye suggests that Apple probably would have arrived at a similar solution under its own steam anyway. However, as there was a team that was "after for a while, but the timing really worked out quite well, and we did hustle to get it in for this release because we knew how important it could be."
The interview also touches upon the new features including the watchfaces, how Apple designs its faces while taking inspiration from other established watch faces, and where it balances providing data to users with having a well-designed and modular face.