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Designing for Google Glass

Wearable computing is the next hot thing, whether it’s a smart watch or Google Glass. We are learning and adapting to design for mobile but designing for wearable computing requires more understanding. This post is an effort to capture some early thoughts to keep in mind while designing for Google Glass.

Google Glass

Google suggests these 3 tips for developers
Don’t get in the way
“Glass users expect the technology to be there when they want it and out of the way when they don’t. Do not annoy users with notifications that are too frequent or unexpected. Provide appropriate controls for your users, so they can interact with your Glassware when desired and ignore it when they don’t.”

Keep it timely
Glass is a platform that is most effective when in-the-moment and up-to-date. Always deliver fresh and relevant content to users. You also have access to a real-time notification system that can inform your Glassware about certain events, such as when users delete or reply to timeline cards. If your Glassware responds to these notifications, do so in a timely and expected manner.

Avoid the unexpected
Surprising the user with unexpected functionality is bad on any platform, but especially on Glass, because it is so close to a user’s daily experience. Always be honest about the intention of your Glassware and get explicit permission before you do anything on the user’s behalf.

So let’s look at some tips for designers to design for Google Glass

Remember the environment
When designing for the desktop we can assume that users would be in a predictable environment – home, office or coffee shop. However, since Google Glass is wearable, users could be sitting at home, walking or paragliding while recording their flying. Safety of the users come first so keep information density low and design so users can be in and out of your application as fast as possible.

Touch gestures
The premise is similar to touch gestures on mobile that includes tapping and sliding your finger on the touchpad. However, if your app requires too many taps and slides then it can get uncomfortable for the users. This is because users have to lift their arm and keep it close to the Glass and this creates physical discomfort. Secondly, too much sliding and swiping will move the Glass up and down causing the screen to jerk and feel blurry.

Really keep it simple
Google Glass is meant for in-the-moment experience and to consume small bits of information. Keeping your app simple is super important – you can do this by displaying minimal information and quick ways (less steps) to interact with your app.

Here are some resources that are helpful to learn more about Google Glass.
Google User Interface Guidelines and Getting started guide

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