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Get Ready for Wearables in Your Enterprise

Posted on: 28 May '14
Veena Sonwalkar
User Experience Architect

Are you ready for the next big thing in the workforce?  Wearable devices such as Google Glass and camera watches will be increasingly adopted by your users to capture and transmit information.  For enterprise IT managers who will soon be faced with this next invasion, it’s important to understand just how your employees can use these devices to improve their work lives. And which devices might fit the needs of your company.

For example, doctors might use Google Glass to document procedures for insurance companies or view patient information from a camera-watch.  Insurance agents might take pictures through Google Glass while accessing damages onsite.  Smart wallets could make life easier for the salesforce by directly submitting traveling expenses as they occur. With the foray of the Internet of Things, wearables can be connected to production lines and HVAC systems making them multi-purpose.

User Experience plays an important role in defining how to take enterprise applications on wearables just as it did for mobile few years ago.  It is important to understand how various users will use or ‘wear’ various devices in various scenarios. User Experience could also help identify the devices to be present on and the information to be displayed based on context.

Let’s go through the key steps which will help define the User Experience for wearables

Picture Personas
We all know how intertwined devices and use cases can become with user personalities.  So, it’s important to understand the personas in your company and their needs. Then you can identify the appropriate devices as well as define the optimal experience those users should have on those devices. For example, are your athletic employees more likely to sport a smart watch, and the more technical types likely to use Google Glass?  In addition, is it likely that different types of users will use their device in a different way depending on their work type, data needs and mobility context?  Just think about the range of personal mobile devices that you support now, and think about how wearables might fit into those same support structures.  Sometimes, wearbles may not be a fit as well for your users, and it’s important to keep that fact in mind.

Map User Journeys
It’s vital to involve users in your research by creating journey maps that help understand the process the users will go through to perform a task and the various devices and features needed to help accomplish the task.  We’ve found that journey maps also reveal the user thought process (concerns and expectations) during various stages of the work flows. This experiential knowledge helps identify opportunities as well as possible breakdowns. These exercises are crucial in choosing the right wearable devices with the right features for your users.

Display Concise Data
Journey maps can also help you determine the most useful information to display on the different devices. Wearables offer extremely limited display space compared to mobile phones and tablets. Prioritizing information and determining what to display are key steps in choosing the right tech accessories and developing the best support tools and apps for them. And of course, privacy concerns must be addressed carefully.

Let me know what you’re doing regarding wearables in your enterprise.  We’re always interested in finding out new ways to empower users and help IT support them.

Veena Sonwalkar

Veena Sonwalkar is a User Experience Architect at Mindtree. She helps clients define great experiences for their customers.