Apple Already Violates The Apple Watch Human Interface Guidelines Regarding Force Touch

5 May 2015

Apple Developer:

Firm presses on the Apple Watch display cause the current screen’s menu (if any) to appear. A menu can display up to four relevant actions for the current screen without taking away space from your interface.

Include a menu when the current screen has relevant actions. Menus are optional. If no menu is present, the system plays an animation when the wearer presses firmly on the display.

The HIG is a set of guidelines, not strict rules. Third-party developers cannot change what happens when you Force Touch the display as it is confined by WatchKit to the typical menu but some of Apple’s apps already violate the published documentation. For the most part, the Apple Watch UI is very consistent but there are exceptions.

For example, if you Force Touch on the Watch display when selecting an animated emoji in Messages, it changes the colour of the emoji. Similarly, Force Touch on the clock face to bring up a gallery of alternate faces. This is arguably still a ‘menu’ but it is very different to the circular button overlay menu as described by the HIG. These special cases are not addressed in the guidelines, unfortunately. It will be interesting to see whether the native SDK (due sometime later in the year) will include the ability to override the default Force Touch behaviour.