“Good design is good business,” Thomas Watson Jr., second president of IBM, once told his students. In the 70s, this statement could still be argued, today hundreds of examples of successful companies serve as proof of this phrase. In its recent article we talked about the five most inspiring companies that, thanks to their successful industrial design, made millions of dollars.
We have been engaged in industrial design for a long time, and managed to implement several projects on the design of wearable devices. Some of them are sold in Ukraine, others in the USA and European countries. However, they all have one thing in common – competent, thoughtful design.
To help startups, we’ve outlined 8 industrial design rules for wearable devices. We built on experience and experience of successful companies on the development of wearable gadgets. Compliance with these rules, a drop of creativity and a pinch of inspiration will help you create a gadget that will become successful and profitable.
Rule # 1. Strike a balance between public and private
The screen of a wearable device often displays personal information of its owner, for example, health indicators or correspondence. Similar data I do not want to demonstrate to strangers. This problem can be partially solved. For example, provide vibration before information is displayed, or consider a simple alert system instead of displaying information directly.
It was about the observance of this rule that the developers from Orion Labs on the creation of the Onyx walkie-talkie. The purpose of the new device is to free your hands from your smartphone. The walkie-talkie allows you to listen to news, weather forecast and talk on the phone without using your hands. The idea is wonderful, if not for one drawback. Everything that the owner hears can be heard by the people near him. And the problem is not only in the disclosure of personal information. It’s also that sometimes it’s just inappropriate. Hopefully the creators will figure out how to resolve this issue. And we are moving on to the second rule.
Rule # 2. More useful – less collateral
Due to its specificity, it is impossible to make the screen of a wearable device of the size that we are used to, for example, on a smartphone. And if you enlarge the screen, the device can become bulky and inconvenient. The task of an industrial designer is find a middle ground. You can increase the usable space by using existing parts (for example, a strap) or by revising the geometry of the case.
We at KLONA also once faced such a problem. At bracelet design for the Ukrainian startup FORCEemotion, we figured out how to reduce the upper part of the gadget. We divided the electronics into two parts and moved one of them to the strap area. As a result, the bracelet itself turned out to be two times thinner at the top.
The creators of the Cicret bracelet approached this task creatively. They suggest using your own hand as a screen. At the same time, there are no unnecessary elements on the gadget itself. The bracelet has a built-in projector that outputs the contents of the screen to the user’s hand. Such an interesting solution made it possible to make the device minimalistic and versatile. And that brings us to the third rule.
Rule # 3. Less is Better
Minimalism is popular in all areas, from website design to packaging design. The reason is simple and clear: minimalist design is associated with innovation and new technologies … That is what wearable devices are.
It is important not to forget that minimalism is not a lack of design. Sometimes a product with a minimalistic design is much more difficult to develop than any other. This is especially true for wearable gadgets, where you need to find balance between functionality and convenience.
For example, fitness tracker Xiaomi Mi Band – one of the most popular and, at the same time, relatively inexpensive gadgets of this type. The bracelet is made in a classic style and has no unnecessary details. The line is presented in different colors, but the most popular is still the classic black.
Rule # 4. Look to the future
Technology of the future is another phrase associated with wearable gadgets. After all, a few years ago we could not have imagined that sneakers teach us how to play golf , and the bracelet will read the emotional state.
Futuristic design creates a halo of mystery around the new device, creates a sense of technology from the future. In addition, this design attracts fans of science and new inventions.
The original device was invented by the inventors from the Xenoma company. T-shirt with a futuristic design Xenoma Eski was originally developed for VR players. She reads the movement and transmits them to the game character. However, its side functions can also be used to control the main indicators of health: temperature, pulse and respiration.
Despite the fact that the shirt contains a large number of chips, this does not harm the convenience. It can be safely worn, washed and dried without discomfort and without damaging the thing.
Rule # 5. Be comfortable
Wearable devices, especially those worn on the hand, should not interfere with their wearer during the day. Therefore, they always try to make them small and following the contours of the body. Then the device becomes a part of a person rather than an independent device. With it, you can easily take off and put on clothes, do household chores, work at a computer without discomfort and without fear of damaging the gadget.
Until recently, it seemed that there was nowhere to shrink our gadgets. However, the guys from Microsoft thought that nothing is impossible and created smart tattoo. The tattoo design can be changed to your liking. While the functionality is not completely clear, but the idea is to be able to control your gadgets with a tattoo.
Rule # 6. Don’t forget about style
For many owners of wearable gadgets, a device is not only functionality and benefits, but also a means of self-expression. Therefore, the design of the gadget should reflect the lifestyle of its owner as much as possible, become a part of his image. If everything is more or less simple with fitness bracelets and smartwatches, then problems may arise with original devices.
An example of a successful solution to such a problem is portable air filter from American industrial designers Jordan Steranka and Ty Gan.
The fact is that classic air filters look intimidating and intimidating to others. The industrial designers of the Breathe filter have succeeded in reducing it to an acceptable size and make it attractive and absolutely not repulsive. The filter design is more like a whistle or a necklace that can be worn around the neck at all times.
Rule # 7. Be flexible
Wearable devices on the market share the same problem: rigid construction. And if this is not so important for bracelets, then for devices with a screen, for example, a watch, it may not always be convenient. because the larger the screen, the more inconvenient the device itself becomes.
Therefore, when developing a design, it is important to make the device more flexible not only in the strap area, but also, if possible, in other parts. New developments of scientists can help in this, for example, flexible nanomaterial.
It was invented quite recently and has not yet been mass-produced, but the advantages of the invention are undeniable. The new nanofilm conducts electricity well, does not deteriorate from a lot of bending, and will be very inexpensive. it excellent alternative to existing materials to create future wearable devices.
Rule # 8. Forget about frames
The target audience of smart gadgets is mostly young active people who follow technological innovations and strive for self-development. It is quite difficult to please such an audience, because the more they know, the more they want. Therefore, the last and most important advice is to go beyond the usual. Experiment, come up with new forms, look for non-standard approaches. People will love your device for its creativity and fresh look.
Samsung’s inventors did the same. Against the backdrop of countless smart bracelets and watches, they launched a new product – smart strap … The smart belt reads all the same indicators as the standard fitness tracker and adds another one – the waist circumference.
The belt is made in a classic design and is suitable for both men and women. And if a fitness tracker is not always appropriate for wearing at a business meeting or in the office, then with a stylish belt such problems will definitely not arise.
Here’s what we’ve learned doing industrial design and the development of electronic gadgets. We hope that our experience will be useful. And if you decide to develop your own wearable device, write to us. We we will help you create a design and develop a functional and marketable device.
And remember, wearable gadgets are only evolving, because the future belongs to them 🙂