News on Smart Watches

What are the advantages and limitations of using smart watches as a platform for news distribution? Will the newsroom need new tools and/or processes in order to serve a "glanceable" news distribution on watches?

"It’s been a fantastic journey working with Stibo. We’ve had the opportunity and support needed to get valuable insights into the news domain as well as access to mentors and gurus in the industry, who were just as motivated as us. Apart from developing our academic skills in a new and more engaging way, we’ve also developed our presentational skills and improved our understanding for the business and practical sides of our domain. The cooperation with Stibo was highly relevant to our thesis without demanding our time and effort for irrelevant activities.

Jonas and Ganesh, M.Sc. IT Product Development (2015)

Project partners:


The main goal of this thesis is to evaluate the advantages and limitations of the smartwatch as a platform for news consumption. We investigate if a user finds the smartwatch useful as an aid to consume news in his/her everyday life.We will investigate the news consumption domain and explore the existing practices of news consumption on a broad scale.

We will also explore the concepts and theories about smartwatches from a wearable computing perspective. The smartwatch’s (specifically the Moto 360’s) abilities for supporting the news use practices will then be analysed based on its wearable computing properties.

This thesis does not explore the realms of context awareness in relation to smartwatches however relevant it may be.Based on the analysis a framework for supporting news use practices using the Moto 360 is created. This framework is tested using a research through design approach with the development of the WatchNews application.

This application was tested and improved through workshops with journalists, graphic designers, interactions designers, advertisers, marketing-people and C-level executives from Berlingske Media (as well as other news publishers) and through actual field-studies with users. The results were presented and discussed on several workshops including Digital Media Europe, London 2015 and World News and Media Congress, 2015 in Washington.

The Thesis explores:

  • To what extent is personalisation necessary and if it is necessary, how do the users think it should be executed (active choice of categories or a personalised and learning stream of curated news)?

  • If there is a notification scare on the smartwatch? Does the user feel spammed by receiving news notifications on the smartwatch? If yes, what can a news publisher do about that?

  • What features does the reader want in the smartwatch news application?

  • What graphical format should news be presented in and why?

  • The relationship between Push (Breaking news) / Pull (curated news)

  • The level and duration of the interaction with the smartwatch and the news application?

  • The use of different interaction styles (voice, touch, gestures)

Mentors and partners:

We had some very dedicated mentors attached to this project. Geoff Tan (Senior Vice President & Head – Strategic Marketing at Singapore Press Holdings) and Mario Garcia (CEO Garcia Media and Hearst Digital Media Professor at Columbia University School of Journalism). Mario Garcia allowed us to use his Art Directors to design the graphical parts of the app. The project is run as a collaboration between Aarhus University, Berlingske Media and Stibo Accelerator.

Press coverage and events:

This is a list of all the workshops and media articles we participated in.

Journalism UK, podcast – 15.05.2015 https://www.journalism.co.uk/podcast/getting-personal-push-alerts-in-news/s399/a565138/ London Workshop, DME15 – Wednesday workshop http://dme.wan-ifra.org/ WAN-IFRA Wearables Report – 12.05.2015 http://blog.wan-ifra.org/2015/05/12/key-takeaways-from-wearables-report Mario Garcia, Symposium (Visionary workshop at Berlingske Media) News & Tech article, page 11, 20. http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/Launch.aspx?PBID=1cf3bf5d-8f28-4215-aa02-af50841c9116 Workshop #2 08.04.2015, Berlingske DMJX Copenhagen, Smartwatch “showroom” DMJX Aarhus – Entrepreneurship mentality Workshop #1 26.02.2015, Berlingske Mediawatch.dk – 24.02.2015 http://mediawatch.dk/Medienyt/article7478445.ece Berlingske Medias intranet, berlingskemedia.dk – 23.02.2015 http://www.berlingskemedia.dk/berlingske-media-med-i-projekt-om-nyheder-til-smartwatch/ GXpress article – 31.03.2015 http://digital.gxpress.net/watch-what-happens-leading-on-apples-wearable-cms-1116 GXpress article – 31.05.2015 http://digital.gxpress.net/wnc-moving-story-as-wearables-experts-report-cms-1164 Garcia Media, blog posts: http://garciamedia.com/blog/suddenly_the_media_quintet_is_a_closer_reality http://garciamedia.com/blog/the_era_of_wearables_is_here_as_apple_introduces_its_iwatch http://www.garciamedia.com/blog/smart_watches_enter_at_a_glance_journalism http://garciamedia.com/blog/smartwatches_a_symposium_in_copenhagen_and_research_results http://garciamedia.com/blog/smartwaches_and_news_symposium_some_takeaways

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