Nike+ Apple Watch


In early 2016, we were tasked with redesigning the Nike+ Run Club app for the upcoming Apple 2 Watch (AW2) release. In addition to improved performance, longer battery life and the option for a Nike Running version of the AW2, the Watch offered the ability to track your GPS runs without your iPhone. We wanted to create a digital experience that not only took advantage of these improvements, but also celebrated the partnership between Nike and Apple.


Since the release of the Apple Watch back in April 2015, they were a handful insights collected from the previous Nike+ Run Club Watch app and Apple Watch usage across the board that would eventually be factored into our set of experience design principles.

  • Interaction with the Watch is usually kept at a minimum
  • App experience should rarely require 2 taps to complete a task
  • Push notifications on the Watch kept users from having to pull out their iPhones
  • Scrolling with sweaty fingers has always been a problem on the iPhone and is a bigger problem on the Watch

To further help focus our design direction, we targeted the beginner runner. These were runners that ran at least once a week. They needed motivation and a reason to run on a daily basis. Based on our target demographic and experience design principles, we wanted to make the next Nike+ Watch app experience:

  • Simple
  • Motivational
  • Fun


For the pre-run state, the app is structured into three sections: Act, Plan and Reflect.

  • ACT – Go for a run / Set up my run
  • PLAN – Schedule a run
  • REFLECT – View my run data

On the home screen, in addition to starting a basic run, the runner has the option to start a different type of run (duration or speed) along with adjusting their run settings.

On the schedule screen, the runner can schedule a run alert for a specific time. The weather for each time slot is also displayed.


Once a run has started, the in-run state serves mostly as a display for your in-run metrics, e.g. pace, distance, heart rate, etc. with the ability to control music.

  • Double tap to pause
  • Swipe right to access the pause screen (included in case runners didn’t know about the double tap to pause feature)
  • Swipe left to access music controls
  • Crown to cycle through hero metrics

In-run experience defaults to the center screen with the manual pause screen to the left and the music controls screen to the right.

One important note for the in-run experience was that we wanted to utilize the crown as much as possible while running. As you may already know, when sweat gets onto your phone or Watch, all attempts to swipe or interact with the screen are rendered useless, which was why we tied the crown control to cycling through hero metrics. We also pitched the idea of using this same interaction for cycling through music.

  • Turn your crown downwards to go to the next song.
  • Turn your crown upwards to go to the previous song.

Once a run has been completed, we feature the runner’s GPS route assuming they’ve completed a GPS run. Scrolling down the screen displays the runner’s splits with their fastest split highlighted.

Run summary displayed after completing a GPS run.


Push notifications are cited as one of the most useful features of the Apple Watch. They keep us from having to dig deep into our pockets to retrieve our phone just to find out that we have a meeting in 15 minutes. For us, we wanted to leverage this existing behavior to lead our runners into their next run.

In the Nike+ Run Club Apple Watch app, we created several types of ‘smart’ push notifications that give reasons why a runner should go out for a run.

Holiday Push Notifications

Weather Push Notifications

General Push Notifications

Other forms of motivation appear on the home screen in the form of goals, right below the START button.

More reasons to run with goals – Catch Up / Push It / Match It

  • Catch Up – the distance required to overtake the next person ahead of you on the leaderboard
  • Match It – run the same distance as your last run
  • Push It – run 10% more than their your last run

Tapping on these buttons would trigger the distance run type with the distance preset to the goal selected.


To tie all the runners within the Nike+ Running community together, we launched Nike Running’s first global running event platform with its first event called Just Do It Sundays.

Every Sunday, runners are invited to run a 5K with Kevin Hart leading the charge. At certain milestones, Kevin chimes in with that Kevin Hart charm to get you through the run.

Just Do It Sundays

So there you have it…

Since you’ve made it this far, I’m going to let Kevin Hart tell you what he thinks about the Nike+ Apple Watch experience courtesy of Wieden+Kennedy.



Creative Team

  • Benjamin Williams / Creative Director)
  • Derek Chan / Associate Creative Director / User Experience
  • Gene Lu / Associate Creative Director / User Experience
  • Terrence Ma / User Experience
  • Gabriel Cheung / Associate Creative Director / Visual Design
  • Masa Tanaka / Design Director
  • Jessica Necor / Visual Designer
  • Matthew Boncek / Senior Producer
  • Nancy Ward / Producer