The Fine Art of Wearable Design

Wearable technology is fast becoming a part of our lives. Wearables come in the form of smart...

The wake-up receiver, the chip stack to the left of the coin, can cut down on IoT device power use and extend battery life. Photo credit: David Baillot/ UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Wearable technology is fast becoming a part of our lives. Wearables come in the form of smartwatches, hearables, smart wristbands, smart glasses, smart rings, and more. The global wearables market is estimated to reach US$97.9 billion by 2025, with an 11.2% CAGR from 2019 to 2025, according to Yole. While many companies want to grab a substantial share of this pie, designing them can be quite challenging. To precisely meet user requests and not risk to fade into oblivion one should take the following points into consideration:

Light-Weight Interactions

Light-weight interactions are very important for stimulating user experiences. In a wearable device, such as a smartwatch, the user session should not be more than 10 seconds. If user interaction requires more than that, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and redesign your interface. For example, when a user needs to reply to a text message in a smartwatch, they should be able to do it using a pre-defined template instead of typing. An option for using voice command should also be provided.

Read more: Designing Wearable Sensors That Are Suitable for Both Users and the FDA

Low power and energy-efficiency

Tiny batteries that run wearables should run for days without the need for charging them. As these devices become an integral part of a user’s life, it’s of utmost importance to increase battery life. Medical wearables like heart-rate monitors, multiparameter patches, blood glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters need batteries that are reliable and can last for longer periods compared to other forms of wearables. As the size of the battery in wearable devices shrink, the fabrication process for composite electrodes and the use of liquid electrolytes is becoming a processing challenge for microfabrication using conventional approaches.

Ensuring security

Privacy and security of data are a big concern for wearable users. While wearables provide the advantage of being connected to the world 24/7, they are also at risk of disclosing personal information such as health data, conversations, emails etc. to anyone because they are at plain sight. Using better authentication techniques, software protection models, and utilizing crypto engines could be a few ways in which data security in wearables could be boosted.

Read more: Energy Harvesting Nanogenerators Offer New Option For Monitoring Health

Fewer Interruptions

A buzzing smartphone in your pocket could be annoying, but it gets even worse when a wearable attached to your skin vibrates constantly. Alerts, incoming notifications can be disruptive. Interruptions should be kept to a minimum so that the user can enjoy their time while wearing a smartwatch, reports Adobe.

Minimalistic design

From color to typography, smartwatches should have a minimalist design. A minimalist design makes it easy for a user to interact while moving. The screen should have a sharp contrast, making it easy to read. When designing a wearable, a designer should keep in mind that it should provide enough information but it will look and work great on a tiny screen.

Sam Draper
February 23, 2021

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