Wearables - A new set of design challenges


Wearable Technology

Wearables such as Google Glass, activity trackers and smart watches, to name but a few, are becoming the next big thing and a growing number of companies are beginning to establish a presence in this new, exciting and potentially lucrative market.

Indeed, research conducted by YouGov plc, a market research agency based in the UK, suggests that the wearable market is on the rise, and have predicted an increase in market penetration from 6% to 13%, over the next year.  That’s a jump from 2.8 million to around 6.1 million people in the UK alone. And, if the smart phone market is anything to go by, the popularity of wearables will be driven by the various apps people will be able to purchase.

Wearable technologySuccessful apps, those that people download, use and generate revenue for your business are likely to be those that deliver great user experience. Google has been quick of the block to provide developers with advice about the types of things to consider when conserving and developing a wearable app. The key message behind this advice is to consider people’s needs and the form factor of wearables. To quote Emmet Connolly a designer on the Android Wear team “Designing for wearables is not about shrinking a smart phone UI to a tiny screen instead, think about the problems your design will solve.

What is interesting about this approach is that it is promoting the human centred design process, a design approach that aims to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, by applying human factors/ergonomics, and usability knowledge and techniques.

In the forthcoming series of blogs I will be talking about aspects of the human centred design process and some of the advice provided by the Android Wear team at google.

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Article by Niren Basu, Workshop Developer, Software Alliance Wales

Email: n.basu@softwarealliancewales.com