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The wearable technology industry is evolving rapidly with designers expected to keep up to speed with the latest trends on all platforms. The Consumer Electronics Show 2015 (CES 2015) was dominated by wearable technology as it is expected to take this year by storm. It is an increasingly hot topic with the Apple Watch rumoured to be released in Spring 2015. This is in contrast to the recent rise and fall of the Glass by Google.
So, what key factors are to be taken into consideration by UX Designers when given the opportunity to design wearable products? The shortage of UI Designers, especially with experience within the new technology market is an important factor to consider as the potential opportunity to design wearable technology increases. This new trend has a knock on effect in the App market, with a number of organisations set to adapt towards wearable technology.
The Google Glass was introduced to the UK in 2014. The Apple Watch is expected to be released in 2015 in the UK.
The new challenges UI and UX designer’s face begins with the device size, with the Apple Watch screen measuring in at just 1.5” or 1.7”. Controlling functions on a smaller interface and different environmental conditions creates complications for the users’ experience. However, the benefit of the Android Smart Watch is its ability to customise the display image and create your own design. In contrast to the Apple Watch that will synchronize with the iPhone and features touch navigation. It will be controlled by the handset's mechanical wheel which allows the user to scroll, zoom and browse through the watch's user interface.
It is argued that Google’s halt of the Glass this week is not due to its UX/UI experience. Critics and early adopters alike argue that the issues associated with the product originates from its product design and aesthetics. With information and notifications given in the blink of an eye, designers face challenges working on a completely new platform with the complications of the user’s vision being disrupted. This, coupled with its £1,320 price tag, has been its barrier to the mass market.
It may be back to the future for the Google Glass as the company recently brought in Tony Fedell (former Senior Vice President of the iPod Division at Apple) with the aim of working on the products faults and re-launching it for the mass market. However, these are exciting times for UX and UI Designers. We already know wearable devices are becoming increasingly popular and it looks like they’re not going anywhere – who knows what the future holds!
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