Will wearable computers impact website use?

Google Glass with prescription frames
Google Glass may coming one of the first move leaders in the wearable devices field

When mobile phones and tablets first arrived, the website design and development community at large did not immediately foresee an impact on in their field. However, by the start of the 2014, the landscape changed as people were spending more time using mobile apps than using their desktop web browsers.

Web developers adapted, increasing their creating of mobile specific sites. Later on, we saw the creation of ‘responsive’ websites that adapt gracefully to the size of the device they are viewed on. Now web designer are starting to look at a mobile-first approach, in which small screen sizes are targeted for design, with the idea that the website will dynamically adjust to fit larger display.

Website design can be tricky for smaller screen devices, such as mobiles phones, but with the up-and-coming wearable technologies such as Google Glass and smart watches, the screen real estate available is not feasible for current web design. We can see some evidence that the manufacturers of these device know this. For example, Google Glass does not come with a fully fledged web browser, nor do many of the smart watches currently available.

Not only is the screen size an issue for wearable tech., but the way users interact with these devices could also be a problem. With Google Glass, the only forms of input are via voice control and a series of touch sensitive controls on one side of the frame. With most smart watches, primary interactions are done either via buttons of the side of watch or via a tiny touch screen. These screens are usually only large enough to support basic taps and gestures.

This suggests websites are not a suitable form of media for most wearable devices, due to their low amount of screen screen and limited interactivity. It is also likely that wearable devices will continue to move towards an app only model. In this case, we will likely see more developers focusing on apps for these devices, as their market share continues to grow. Due to their nature, it is quite possible the increase in apps for wearable devices will reduce the need for people to visit websites as frequently as has occurred in the mobile devices market.

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