Smart watches, fitness bands, hearables, implantables, virtual assistants, augmented reality glasses, have all, in some form or another, been around for a while. Growing the Connected Devices market into the mainstream has proved challenging for many early entrants. The Quantified Self community and millennial fitness enthusiasts served as welcoming initial adopters. However, we are just on the cusp of seeing how networked technology can transform entire industries from healthcare, entertainment, transport, sports, manufacturing, and permeate our lives altering how we communicate and work. Technological improvements and the growing number of platforms (such as virtual reality, augmented reality, audio devices) means that product owners are now only limited by their imaginations.

Context of Use

People use products differently on various devices. Many products in this space fail because they do not understand the environments in which their users are engaging with them. Products must be designed to be useful based on context and situation. Deep understanding of those contexts can highlight features or use-cases that work on a task, or device, basis.

Companion Apps

To reduce costs, and in the case of wearables to make products more aesthetically fashionable, many connected devices are released without a interface. This means that the companion app is an essential component of the product offering. Data visualisation is important, but across the industry, there is a realisation that these apps need to do more than communicate data, they need to provide actionable insights and effectively provide the user with system control.

Securing Peace of Mind

Systems are becoming more complicated, and securing these personal networks is becoming increasing challenging. Add to that the confusions that can exist in a ‘no-UI’ world, it all poses quite the design challenge. Users still need feedback and reassurance when using the product. They require to have visibility of the system status on the device to understand what it is doing (without loading them with irrelevant information). This communication should not be just about making the product more useful, but also add reassurance to those who are concerned about security and privacy concerns in this new digital world.

 

A Frontend.com team member smiling at his desk in the Dublin studio.

 

Frontend.com Connected Devices

Our multi-disciplinary connected devices design team is based in our studio in Dublin, Ireland. Unlike most design consultancies, our research is conducted by professional researchers while our design team have two decades of experience in complex systems, software programmes, healthcare, usability, psychology, data visualisation, computer science and business process improvement. We engage with all stakeholders, understanding their environments and creating solutions that work at every touchpoint. Contact us to collaborate on your upcoming connected devices project.

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Design Principles for Wearable Devices
Designing for wearable devices offers novel and exciting challenges.
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