When I recently told my kids I owned wearable technology thirty years ago, they thought I was the coolest dad in the world. Then, I showed them my old cassette style Sony Walkman. Needless to say, opinions changed quickly.
Today, wearable technology is yet again one of the fastest growing industries and we are just scratching the surface with its potential. From fitness-focused devices such as Nike FuelBand to Google Glass and Smart Watches, consumers and analysts all over the world are anxiously awaiting what the future holds in wearable technology.
There are five key product elements that are paramount in determining the success of a wearable technology devices moving forward. Those key elements all revolve around the user experience design of the products. These elements, in no particular order, include the following:
- Style (Fashion)
- Physical Size and Comfort
Style and Fashion
Technology junkies in general are very emotional buyers. A large part of that initial purchase is often based upon visual appeal alone. This is even more so true when it comes to wearable technology. These devices become an expression of interest, a fashion statement. Without strong visual appeal, the adoption of wearable technology will have a very difficult time reaching its full potential.
Size and Comfort
The physical size of these devices, generally speaking, still leaves much to be desired. With a large percentage of these devices being worn on the hand and wrist, having a lightweight device is critical. Same applies to the size. This is a tricky challenge for wearable technology developers, because they are trying to squeeze so much functionality and design into such a small device.
An imperative feature is compatibility with Android, Windows, and iOS. Consumers often upgrade their phone every one to two years. Consumers want that cross platform compatibility so they have the freedom to change if they desire.
Durability is a very important element when it comes to wearable technology. With tablets and phones, the majority of consumers protect their investment with expensive covers and cases. With wearable devices, the majority of the protection has to be built into the design of the product without compromising the physical characteristics and appeal.
Last but not least, cost is a key element and obstacle. The tablet manufacturers all understood this when they started designing entry level solutions at a more affordable price. This is no different with wearable devices.
For Google Glass to truly appeal to the masses, they must find a way to bring this option into a lower priced market. We have seen this evolution with virtually all of technology over the years, from laptop computers all the way to high definition televisions. They all reached a point where lower cost options were a necessity for the market to continue its growth.
With wearable technology there will be no shortage of apps that will perform all sorts of very cool tasks, but these five key elements are essential for the mass population to adopt this technology long term.