Lyrics on Apple Watch Music

Lyrics on Apple Watch Music

2023 · 1 month · Wearable

Lyrics on Apple Watch Music

Expanding the immersive music experience through Lyrics on Apple Watch Music.

This case study on the redesign of Apple Music is solely a conceptual exploration, and I have no affiliation with Apple or any associated entities.

The Problem

The Struggle of Memorizing Lyrics.

When listening to music, do you focus on the melody or the lyrics? Many prefer melodies and struggle with lyrics, especially at concerts. Singing along enhances the immersive and communal experience, but unfamiliarity with lyrics can hinder connection with fellow attendees and the artist.

Imagine yourself in the concert. Wouldn't you want to join the artist and the crowd? But without knowing the lyrics, how would that make you feel?

Many struggles with memorizing lyrics for concerts and uneasy about looking at their phone for lyrics.

Posts and comments on Reddit about being self-conscious about not knowing lyrics and looking up on their phones during concerts.
Posts and comments on Reddit about being self-conscious about not knowing lyrics and looking up on their phones during concerts.

Project Overview

Find Music. See Lyrics. On Your Wrist.


Feature #1

Lyrics on the Wrist.

Users can effortlessly access lyrics on their Apple Watch without needing to use their phones. This approach is not only quicker but also frees up the phone for other tasks like taking photos or videos, especially useful during concerts. Additionally, since concert-goers often have their hands raised, reading lyrics from the Apple Watch becomes convenient and natural, as it is already near eye level.


Feature #2

Join Concert and See Setlist.

When users are at a concert, the app, leveraging the Apple Watch's GPS sensor and microphone, prompts them to join the event. Once they join, the app displays the concert setlist, enabling automatic transition to subsequent songs without the need for manual selection for each new track.


Feature #3

Rotate for a Raised Hand.

People frequently raise their hands during concerts, which often results in their watches being oriented at a 90-degree angle, making them difficult to read. To solve this, the app utilizes a gyroscope sensor into the watch to detect the watch's orientation and automatically adjust the display, ensuring that users can easily read the lyrics on their watch face regardless of the position of their hand.


Design Consideration #1

Works on All Devices with Different Screen Sizes.

Ultra (49mm), Series 8 (45mm), and SE (40mm)
Ultra (49mm), Series 8 (45mm), and SE (40mm)

The design is considered to work on multiple Apple Watches with different screen sizes.

Based on ISO 24509 (Accessible design: A method for estimating minimum legible font size for people at any age), minimum legible font size is 11.7px. The smallest font for the lyrics on the smallest Apple Watch SE is 20px which is around 170% of the minimum legible font size.

The minimum legible font size is calculated based on the following assumptions:

  1. User is 40 years old. (Average Apple Watch Users’ age is 41 years old: source) As the age of concert participants is influenced by multiple factors like genre, artist, and location, I've generalized the age to align with the average age of Apple Watch users.
  2. The screen brightness is 1,000nits (Apple Watch SE).
  3. The viewing distance is 0.3m (distance between the wrist to the eyes).

Design Consideration #2

Maintaining the integrity of the original user interface.

To accommodate 'lyrics' and 'playlist' buttons on the Apple Watch's limited screen space, the 'previous' and 'next' buttons were removed; however, their functions are still easily accessible via music cover taps and swipe gestures.

Current Interface


New Interfaces

Tap to forward/backward
Swipe to forward/backward


1. Small details matter.

Designing a small smartwatch interface is challenging in many ways. One of the biggest things that I struggled with was that every little detail matters more because there is no room for waste.

2. Understanding and leveraging the existing design pattern.

This project is not about creating something entirely new, but instead suggesting some features for the existing product. I had to really understand the existing product well enough that the new features did not feel alienated from the existing ones, so I had to look for patterns and try to understand the design intentions which was a great design exercise. Coming up with UI design was actually quicker than expected because I could leverage the design system, and it reminded me again how important the design system is.

3. User feedback & research.

This project is a personal speculative project in which I did not work with other people, so many of the decisions are based on my assumptions. I was not able to conduct intensive user research, but showing the design to my music enthusiasts was very helpful in learning and gaining insights.

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