Smart-watches, fitness bands, hearables, implantables, virtual assistants and augmented reality glasses — all of these connected device technologies have been with us for a while.
Yet, growing the connected devices market into the mainstream has proved challenging for many of the early entrants. While the quantified-self community and millennial fitness enthusiasts served as welcoming initial adopters, products struggled to gain widespread adoption.
However, we are now on the cusp of seeing how such networked technology can transform entire industries – including healthcare, sports, entertainment, transport, and manufacturing – and permeate our lives by altering how we communicate and work. Technological improvements and the growing number of connected device platforms – such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and audio devices – means that product owners are now only limited by their imaginations.
Context of Use
People use products differently on various connected 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.
To reduce costs, and in the case of wearables, to make products more aesthetically fashionable, many connected devices are released without an 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 increasingly challenging. Then add the confusions that can exist in a ‘no-user-interface’ world, and 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 overloading 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 their digital security and privacy.
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.