Broad question given the nature of wearable technology (largely dominated by heads-up displays such as Google Glass and smart watches such as the Pebble), but what would the user experience guidance for such technology look like?

I would say they'd begin to take shape along the lines of something like...

  1. Ensure the device "fits" the wearer (user) and not the other way around. Do not require changes in established user task behavior (e.g., we know how to glance at a watch or to look through Glass).
  2. Design for an experience that is unobtrusive to wear and use in context (i.e., no scaring of the natives!).
  3. Assume multiple device integration for task completion (smartphones, wearables, desktop). In other words, an optimized UI for this context of use might be supplemented by other UIs elsewhere in the task flow.
  4. Use natural gestures and actions for operation (think the swipe down action on Glass for "back button", or the tapping of watches).
  5. Integrate technology for object capture, context, and sharing (QR codes, camera for images or video, voice-to-text, augmented reality, GPS).
  6. Use visualizations and iconography simply and consistently (LEDs lightups, Dashboards, info cards, drill-downs, and so on).
  7. Provide for important information display only, minimally.
  8. Enable personalization (think select notifications and alerts on watches).
  9. Allow for different modalities of use (voice or gesture on Glass, wink to capture images AND "OK, Glass..." voice command approach to capture too).
  • 2
    I think it's essentially the same as any usability heuristics list with the addition of "how dorky do I look wearing this?" Your list is good, but also not necessarily specific to wearables.
    – DA01
    Dec 31, 2013 at 2:13
  • To a large extent, that is true. The heuristics are informed by a lot of mobility, analytics (the influence of Quantified Self measurement from wearables) and general considerations. However, I didn't regard dorkiness as a consideration. Perhaps you mean personalization should be extended to the device itself as part of the overall UX - one that considers style? So, a heuristic of "fit and feel" rather than "look and feel"?
    – uobroin
    Dec 31, 2013 at 19:34
  • don't catch on fire or electrocute anyone (unless ordered)
    – obelia
    Jan 3, 2014 at 23:01
  • Don't forget suitability to a wide range of environments. Unlike a tablet which we use from the couch, a wearable device has to work in the rain, have a display which is readable in bright sunlight, and it may be sat on from time to time.
    – Rumi P.
    Jan 7, 2014 at 13:29

1 Answer 1


Your list describes the wearable tech very well. You missed one though. The Flexible screen smartphones, which were displayed by Samsung in 2013. So that can be modified on any other object.

And its for sure that UI will definitely get changed in coming years, may be in 2014!

  • Thank you, interesting observation. Would not this meet the "device fits the user" rather than "user fit the device" guideline (1st heuristic), perhaps it's more personalization? I am not familiar with the concept of the flexible screen, so maybe you could explain more? Thanks for sharing.
    – uobroin
    Dec 31, 2013 at 19:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.