When your mom tells you that she thinks about buying an activity tracker and would like you to tell her if the Jawbone UP is better that the FitBit, it is clear that the wearable revolution is here to stay; Millions of wearables have been successfully shipped and used during the last couple of years and it seems that the big wave is yet to come. Our body is the new real estate and all the big players want a piece for themselves. Here are 5 things you must consider before you begin working on your next wearable project:
Using a device is one thing, putting it on your body is a completely different story; we need a really good reason to do so and this reason usually comes with a great value we have to provide our users. In fact, the wearables that actually stay on our body are quite scarce. It seems that when most of the wearables are seriously examined they do not provide true, unreplaceable value. In other words, there is no need to actually use them. You want your users to put something on their body? You better have a good reason.
When you use a pen and it doesn’t write well you usually throw it away and do not use it anymore. One of the first emotions we develop towards the products and services we use is trust; when this trust is broken or unfulfilled we detach ourselves from the “thing” that hurt us and move on. Wearables, like every other new product category, suffer from this imperfection but since the relationship we have with things that are literally on our bodies are very close we are not willing to forgive as easily as we do in other cases. Our products therefore should better do exactly what they suppose to – users expect this, and everything less than that will lead our wearable back to the nearest drawer.
People want to feel different and unique but at the same time they eager to be a part of a community or a tribe that makes them belong to something bigger – “different like everyone else”. A wearable device is not only a product; it is a fashion statement, a jewel, it is something that I tell about myself and something that I am willing to put on my body. It has to be special, it has to be unique and it has to empower our users to feel that they are one of kind while being a part of a unique community.
A physical device is only one building block of the product eco-system that defines the product. What happens when we turn it on? How do we see the data it collects? How does in interacts with our smartphone? Does it have an interface? It’s very tempting to put all the effort on the design of a wristband or a head mounted device but the real challenge is to create a holistic, seamless experience that binds together the physical and the digital and creates a bigger whole.
Yes, you’re wearable device has a great use case, it’s reliable, unique and provides state of the art user experience in each and every touch point. But how does it connect to other devices that we use? Does it share insights and data with your smart home? Is it a part of the IoT grid? Our “things” have to know and speak the same language, empower each other and learn one from another. A system that wouldn’t have the ability to grow and to learn will be left behind in a matter of weeks.
There are thousands of wearable devices out there and tens of thousands on their way. Following those guidelines might just help your product to be one of kind.