Wearables can be considered to be an extension or advanced technology which enables the smart mobile devices that have become an integral part of our lives. Wearables help in filling up niches that our smartphones, currently, cannot or do not adequately and properly address. Wearable technology has gained prominence and regarded as more sophisticated than the hand-held technology in the market today.
Apple’s introduction to its first Macintosh to the world is considered to be a revolutionary move. The entire concept about hardware and software got changed at that time. After that, there was a dramatic change that took place in the field of technology, both in terms of hardware and software. When talking about software, it evolved from MS DOS & Unix to Windows 10 and Yosemite. In terms of the Mobile OS, J2ME and Symbian have been replaced by iOS, Android and Windows Phone. So, the Mobile OS and hardware are becoming smarter. Eventually the designs and user interaction will also reach the next level in each platform.
Now it’s time for the wearable computers and they have already started functioning as smartwatches. Smartwatch is simply a mobile device with touch screen capability and is made to communicate with the smartphones. It is designed to be worn an example where technology meets fashion.
Some of the benefits of wearables are:
- It has improved capabilities for the remote workers. It can keep track of all the facilities that are being provided to you.
- Like any kind of technology, the wearable computing extends the reach and capabilities of an individual. Wearables have the ability to provide enhanced communication, memory, sensing and recognition.
- Wearables can filter your calls, provide you with a reference, monitor and check your health and also, remind you of someone or a name.
- Wearables are able to consolidate the functionality of multiple devices into a single, integrated system.
- You can get app notifications and nearby notifications- it is always with the user.
Designing application for a particular platform is actually quite different for a desktop version in terms of screen size and form factors. However, designing the application for wearables, the designers need to carefully consider the level of micro-interactions. Designing for wearables requires a meticulous approach to be followed. It’s all about identifying the exact modules of the application and bringing them into the wearables.
An application with a lot of features, when ported to the wearable, should only display what is necessary. In this application, only the alerts and notifications are shown. This makes it easier for the user to know, at a glance, what has to be done.
I’d like to share my experience of designing a field service management mobile application, in which there are several features in the application such as task management, service management, inventory, invoice generation, real-time GPS tracking, smart scheduling, etc. But our engineering team did a detailed study about what is the exact thing that we need to bring it into wearables.
One of the primary feature that we enabled into the wearable is task notification. The possibilities are more like navigation, alerts, inventory, but we refined it into a task status/notification. From a field technician’s perspective, the main key feature in this application is the new task and its status. We have to assure that no task is being missed, and he is able to prioritize the tasks accordingly. It is always kept in mind that the features shouldn’t be annoying to the user.
Wearables – Enhancing and Extending Functionality
Now the competition among wearables is cut-throat, as Google, Samsung and Apple enters into the fray. It is now the turn of the third-party developers to prove that there are endless possibilities that can take wearables to another level. Applications in wearables are always a companion app for your main application that work together to make your product even better and smarter. So, people are waiting with bated breathe to experience the excitement when the designers and developers come up with some beneficial and useful applications for wearables.
As a UX/UI designer, how has your experience been to implement application on wearables? It will be interesting to know your thoughts.
Front-end Developer, RapidValue Solutions