This is the last part of a 4 part series about wearable tech, written by our founder and wearables expert Liza Kindred, and was originally published in The Internet of Things Quarterly (get your copy here.)
When building (or buying) wearable tech, we should ask ourselves:
Would I Wear This?
Is this beautiful? Does it help people express themselves in an aesthetically pleasing way, instead of looking a tiny bit more like a robot? One of the most important barriers to adoption of these devices is that they be actually wearable. Don’t disappoint the world by building the easiest possible delivery mechanism for your technology–design your devices.
Would I Keep This Charged?
Once the novelty of a new device wears off, will my users be motivated enough by what it does to keep it charged? As Luke Wroblewski asks, “Is a particular piece of hardware important enough to me that I go through the effort of keeping a charger around for it, track it’s battery life, and plug it in over and over again.”
What a user gets from your device has to be more than they give–that UX rule is as true of devices as it is of websites. The long term prospects of a device depend inherently on our motivation to keep using them. We can inspire new customers, or we can inspire new users–and long term businesses are created by building for the latter.
Does The World Really Need This?
The world does not need more novelty. We don’t need more one-feature rubber bracelets, or trackers to obsess over for a few weeks. Our world needs joy, it needs real utility–and it is our responsibility to work to narrow, not increase, the digital divide.
So much of the technology that we need to build beautiful, helpful devices already exists. The true challenge is to find the right combination of wearability and technical utility–this is how we’re going to use wearable tech to make the world a better place.
Are you ready to build something? Ignore the hype, be inspired by what the world needs, and focus on what matters, not what’s meh.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.