Design For The Internet of Things
Technology continues to march on, and the world continues to become more connected. The next great wave of technology is expected to be the “Internet of Things.” What is the Internet of Things, you ask? Basically, it refers to anything connected to the Internet – a list that grows longer by the day. Soon, our appliances, cars, furniture and– who knows – maybe even our pets will join the endless potential of the Internet of Things. The best contemporary example of this phenomenon is wearables, like the Apple Watch. Wearables are a logical next step in technology. After all, why pull a phone out of your pocket to check your email when you can just look at your wrist! More than email though, wearables have the potential to house multiple applications. A restaurant, for instance, could alert guests that their table is ready, or their takeout order is prepared. A washing machine could be started remotely, or a lawnmower could automatically perform its duties with a tap on one’s wrist. Already, wearables like the Fitbit track your activity and monitor your sleep. Undoubtedly, the uses of wearables will continue to evolve.
Wearables pose a new challenge for web designers. While responsive web design will optimize websites for wearables like the Apple watch, designers must make additional considerations when creating designs and user experience for the “small screen,” including:
An important consideration for design is determining the utilization of the wearable platform. For instance, a business that delivers pizza may have a large portion of its customers interacting with them through the wearable device, whereas a B2B construction company might only require its phone number to be easily accessible through the device. Designers should set priorities based on the portion of expected use of each type of device.
Small screens – the Apple watch clocks in at about 1.5” – require very basic, simple and easy to use designs. Text is key, as even those with 20/20 eagle vision will have a difficult time reading text on such a tiny screen. The utilization of large text and readable fonts should be design priorities.
It’s All About U/X
When it comes to designing for wearables, user experience is by far the most important aspect. Creating a good user experience requires a deep understanding of both the intended functionality of the site/device and the preferences of its intended users. Users should be able to easily navigate and inherently understand how a design works. Optimally, there should be zero learning curve.
Have you considered utilizing wearables in your business? If you’d like to discuss, drop us a line!