What To Consider When Designing Apps For Wearables

Wearables can be seen just about anywhere. They look cool, they do cool things. But the best thing about wearable tech, is the access to digital health. You’ve heard of FitBit, Apple Watch, Google Glass, outfits that monitor your movement, and so on. There are so many wearables out there that provide data to the user about their health. They monitor heart rate, sleep cycle, caloric intake, and everything else about your body helping you achieve your healthy lifestyle or weight loss goals. Many have wondered how user friendly these wearables are, however. As the sales of wearables - particularly health & fitness trackers and smartwatches - continue to increase (take a look at this statistic), the user design needs some improvement. As a developer, there are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself about the experience and functionality of wearables - specifically when it comes to digital health.

Keep it simple

User functionality is important when designing wearables. Performing too many functions in the wearable or too many tasks - a busy interface, etc. - can clog up the wearable and make it hard for users to enjoy the experience while receiving helpful information at the same time. The wearable should essentially be an extension of a smartphone - not in place of it. When it comes to digital health at your fingertips, it’s good to know that the wearable can perform for your health. Of course, we also don’t want to wear five different smartwatches that each have a specific purpose - we want one thing to do several things. But in such a way that the function is simple. Too many people, both young and old, have difficulty in understanding the functionality of an app. Have a wearable perform simple tasks with simple notifications to get your users to complete them.


Environment and Physical Design

Let’s be honest, wearables are a fashion statement. We want them to look good on our wrists, our faces, and our bodies. No one wants something that’s bulky, and can’t perform its desired function. Think in minimalist terms. Flashy lights and colors are okay, but I think it’d be better if it incorporated the fashion of the demographic you’re aiming for. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but let’s face it, no one will buy your smartpants, smartwatch, etc. if they don’t look appealing. Keep in mind where consumers are using your wearable. Outside? Inside? Or both?

Be innovative

Come up with better ways for a wearable to maintain the user’s health and fitness goals. For instance, inputting your own food and drink each day is just another task we don’t want to do. If our wearable can detect what we are eating and drinking during the day, and it lets us know, that eliminates daunting tasks to complete (or we’re really just lazy). Be user-friendly and have a better design. As more and more people invest in tech startups, it’s a good idea to live outside of the box. There’s always risk associated with every good idea, but technology is ever-growing and with that, so are ideas.

Health & fitness wearables have been slightly on-target with user interface and design. The experience that it can offer could be improved, keeping in mind the things I’ve stated above. Simplicity, design, and functionality is required to make an innovative wearable. And if you can think it, it can be done! There’s always room for more wearables as demand and investment increase. Health is important to us all, and so is technology.

Tech blogger with a creative side. She loves to write and contributes on a freelance basis. When not writing, she can be found at various comedy venues in Chicago.