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Wearable designers challenged by lack of info on consumer usage

16 case studies reveal the early challenges in the development process for wearable technology.


Two-thirds, or 10 out of 15, of wearable app developers said that the most prominent challenge they faced as first movers was the lack of information and research available on how, when, and for what consumers would use wearable technology, according to Clutch, a Washington, DC-based research firm. Despite these difficulties, unique insight about the ideal use cases for and interactions with wearables emerged.

The research is based on 15 interviews with businesses that embraced wearable technology in its early stages.

“Designing for the Apple Watch is not an easy task,” says Andrew Garkavyi, CEO of Stanfy. “Because user patterns are totally new, there is no known and established interaction model for the smartwatch user interfaces that works. We tried several designs and interactions models until we found the right fit.”

Other development challenges included platform technicalities that limited application capabilities, the process of developing an application or software without the wearable device on-hand for testing, limited screen and memory space, and the necessity and frequency of troubleshooting.

“We ran into a lot of issues that had nothing to do with actually building the app or the code but rather with poor tooling or documentation,” Bobby Gill, founder and CEO of Blue Label Labs said of the first version of the Apple Watch. “It’s a great model. It works, but the tooling and everything around that is really primitive right now.”

The interviews also explore related topics, such as the trends shaping the future of wearable technology, the motivating factors for engaging with wearables, and the lessons learned from the design and development process. Clutch also provided 16 in-depth examples of how these businesses applied the new technology to accomplish specific goals.

Infographic - Developing for Wearables (PRNewsFoto/Clutch)

Infographic – Developing for Wearables (PRNewsFoto/Clutch)