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Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 1
A Punchcut Perspective
Wearables are creating an
unprecedented intimacy between
people and information.
Now people want to better understand
t that information and be able to act on it.
Wearable devices, always on the body, go beyond
smartphones by collecting information as well as
distributing it. Wearables can perform the most
accurate tracking of personal activity and
behavior, plus they can provide real time
observations and information to users. Creating
a model where the user is always aware of
contextual and ambient information allows
people to put down their phones and once again,
start living in the moment.
SMARTPHONES MADE IT POSSIBLE
FOR PEOPLE TO BE CONNECTED WITH
INFORMATION ANYWHERE AT ANYTIME.
Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 4
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Nymi Heart Sensor
The current body of devices:
Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 5
Physical Health &
Emotional Health &
Today’s wearable devices are being
used in a diverse set of ways:
Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 6
Punchcut has created three classiﬁcations of wearable
devices based on levels of connectivity.
Those that are not connected to the internet but
generate output, like ﬁtness trackers.
Satellites: Those that rely on another device for
connectivity, like the Pebble Watch.
Stand-Alones: Those that are independently
connected, like Glass.
Wearable devices are leveraging old
behaviors to create new and novel
Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 9
User needs are constant, though
Many user needs related to wearable devices, such as wanting information
delivered when it’s convenient or wanting to track their daily actions, are not new
needs. They’ve existed for as long as humans have, but technology is constantly
changing the way those needs are met. Look to analog experiences to identify
current user needs and behavior. Find opportunities for wearable technology to
extend existing metaphors in a way that augments and improves these
experiences, not just replaces them.
Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 10
New devices create opportunities
for new paradigms.
A wearable device is not just a smaller smartphone - these devices come
with their own set of optimized use cases and design challenges. Users are
often distracted and on the move when they interact with their wearable
device, and interacting with a device on the body creates an entirely
different set of needs than interacting with other devices. Build on existing
gestures and behaviors to create new ones that target these special user
needs and tailor to the unique capabilities of a wearable device.
Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 11
Informational output is just as
valuable as physical input.
The key to successful wearable devices is making them easily understood.
More than with any other device, the user needs to be able to glance at
their wearable and immediately understand the information displayed.
Physical inputs cannot be solely relied upon to achieve this goal. Consider
other methods of screen design. Information hierarchy, color and contrast,
and shapes and patterns are just some of the methods than can be used to
convey importance or make information more quickly understood.
The role of the wearable technology
extends beyond the individual device
to affect the entire device ecosystem.
Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 13
In today’s world, no device
Today’s users are always connected and interact with several devices
throughout their day, sometimes using multiple devices at once. The most
valuable wearable experiences will be compelling on their own but will become
even better in the company of another device. Consider ways to enhance the
wearable experience when the user is interacting with another device. The
capabilities of multiple devices can provide more value to the user, as can
interesting relationships between multiple wearable devices.
Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 14
The future of wearables devices may
not be wearable.
Wearables are the perfect device to become the talisman of a user’s identity,
providing credentials for and unlocking other devices to see personalized
information. Devices like Nymi are already trying to deliver on this vision.
Consider the possibilities of forms wearable technology can take in the
future. A device that maximizes convenience to the user, while remaining on
them at all times, may not actually be wearable, but perhaps embedded,
implanted, or something new altogether.
The design and capabilities of
wearable devices brings people
together in new ways.
Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 16
Wearables technology is creating
Wearable devices that can constantly track a person’s behavior and actions open
the door for better relationships between people. For example, in healthcare,
wearables can give the doctor and the patient access to the patient’s up to date
information, making the patient more accountable for their actions and the
doctor more accountable for their diagnoses/prescriptions. Both parties are
united in the common cause, improving conﬁdence between them and leveling
the playing ﬁeld.
Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 17
Wearables are reaching new users
with previously unmet needs.
Wearable technology is extending to user groups previously
overlooked by technology. Consider children, who have long been a
difﬁcult group to gain access to. Children often don’t own expensive
devices, but wearables have the opportunity to ﬁt the lower price
point and become ubiquitous with users of all ages. Also consider
people with disabilities, who are often excluded by more physically
demanding technology trends. Wearables may provide easier, more
Punchcut Perspective: Wearables 2013 18
Designing for wearables brings
together cross-functional teams.
Designing for wearables requires a collective effort across disciplines, from
engineering to fashion to design. These cross-functional teams are already
starting to form, for example, Apple has hired the former CEO of Yves Saint
Laurent to work on their rumored iWatch. The challenges of wearable devices
and technology are complex and the most successful products will be a
collaboration of efforts. Establishing these relationships can lay the
foundation for a more collaborative future.
Punchcut is a human interface design company
specializing in mobile, connected products and
services. We provide strategy, design, and development
services – from user research to the complete design
and development of custom interfaces and
Contact us at: