Wearable Data

As the data we collect on ourselves increases and becomes more important, it’s time to challenge assumptions about wearable devices.

Networked sensors and human social networks magnify the power of data captured and how it is consumed. Sensors capture visible and invisible biometric and behavioral data which users find both empowering and overwhelming. We work to envision unlimited systems and we often design to limit them. The push and pull of private and public data is a fascinating space, and one in which we as designers must keep privacy and security front of mind.

We design both devices and the way they connect to systems, networks, and other devices. The power in digital ecosystems and the potential for valuable data and information service design is limitless. But it all starts with users, their needs and desires, their interests and capabilities, and the relationships they want to have mediated through wearable devices.

As more and more devices collect raw data, designers and product owners are looking for ways to make the data more personal, actionable, and contextual. Fitness trackers that just spit out numbers reflecting one’s activities are not nearly as constructive and compelling as data that has been processed to represent relationships, comparisons, and trends that aid in changing behavior. Increasingly, our devices speak to a range of ecosystem participants: sending a patient’s stress levels and brain activity to his or her doctor, an athlete’s hydration levels and muscle stress to their coach, for example. Data needs to be scannable and consumable for a user to desire to keep using the device.