Role Snr Product Designer
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. The Gero application was an own ip design initiative and would serve as ustwo's first experiment with Apple Watch and the Watchkit framework. The time management technique this application was based on in part is called the 'Pomodoro' time management technique.
The team named the application, and shortly after began moodboarding potential visual design directions. Once we unanimously agreed upon a direction, I created the 'Gero' logo and wordmark. Later we applied the mark to application icons for both platforms described above. The logo mark itself is modern, clean, and simple - one we felt echoed the product ethos well. I then began to generate an initial expression of the extended brand design system which designers Avalon Hu and Chris Marotta later perfected and finalized.
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.
Together Avalon and I began working with engineers on our team to best understand the relationship between the iOS mobile device and its companion Apple Watch. Understanding not only the ways which these two devices communicate but also fully grasping the limitations of the Apple Watch platform helped inform design decision making as we worked to effectively distribute functionality across the two platforms and consider the experience as a whole. We finally aligned on an experience design direction that requires the user to perform the intitial setup of work sprints and breaks or a 'session' as we later referred to it on their mobile device only. Effecting the playhead of the countdown clock may take place on either device. Simply put, this direction would enable a user to setup their session on their mobile phone and control the session from their Apple Watch. Thus enabling a user to hide away their distracting mobile phone during work sprints which conceptually reinforces the application's purpose.
Design And Code
We worked diligently to create a simplified walkthrough narative which clearly communicates the product ethos. While simple and seemingly basic,our team painstakingly crafted the 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.
Simple Experience Across Platforms
Simple Experience Across Platforms
This was an internal intitiative created by a small core team who pulled out a big win in my opinion. This product design intiative in particular reminded me how much I value small teams of makers who understand the value of rapidly prototyping and iterating. This team was a fearless group, exploring uncharted territory unafraid to fail fast and quickly learn from mistakes - continuing to improve on a design over time. Now get back to whatever it is YOU were supposed to be doing besides creepin' on my website, times ticking!
Andrew Zellinger, Avalon Hu, Chris Marotta
German Bejarano, Topher Jacobson, Anton Doudarev
© 2019 Andrew Zellinger