David Hindman

Designing for the Internet of Wearable Things

Wearables may be all the rage, but there’s no denying that widespread and long-term consumer adoption is still low. Many people try them out and then quickly abandon them, or they expect something beyond their current capabilities – longer battery life, better aesthetic, less intrusive, GPS … you name it. So while most of us can agree that, yes, wearables have arrived, there are still some hurdles keeping them from reaching “necessity” status belonging to smartphones.

While some shortcomings of wearables are still due to the technology and device capabilities (poor battery life, etc.), we believe there are key moments where design can truly make or break the wearable experience. Regardless of how fast, connected, durable or untethered a device, we think the wearable industry can do better.

That’s why we’ve created A Designer’s Guide to Wearables, to help make designing wearables an easier and more fruitful process (not to mention fun).

By observing a lot of wrongs and rights via our project work, we have come up with the following five principles to help guide the very best in wearable design:

  1. Balance public and personal
  2. Keep it glanceable
  3. Leverage non-visual UI (check out Andy Goodman’s thinking on Zero UI for a deeper dive here)
  4. Beware of the data avalanche
  5. Mind the gaps

Want to know more? Visit our microsite for more detail on each principle.

As time marches on, we will undoubtedly uncover additional points that will help guide wearable designs. This is just a start, and we look forward to putting these principles in place as we work with our clients to help shape their digital futures.

Special thanks to Fjord’s Zachary Eng, who brought the concepts to life via animation, and Peter Burnham, who collaborated on the design principles.

David Hindman

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