The Wearable Banana

I am Emily Keen, a new UX Strategist at User Insight. I am an Atlanta native and completed my Master’s degree in Industrial Design at Georgia Tech (Go Jackets!). My graduate research has been focused on user centered design and wearable technology. I was drawn to the field with my background in traditional Industrial Design and classical ballet, therefore, developing new wearable tech challenged my design skills and my knowledge of the human body in motion.

Much like the philosophy of User Insight, my work at Tech has been driven by an iterative, user centered design approach utilizing observatory research methods, one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and service design tools to better understand user needs and test proposed solutions. With this background, User Insight has been a great fit and it has been exciting getting to know the rest of the team and expanding my knowledge.

Since I’ve been at User Insight, I have been noticing how the work here relates to the development of successful wearable devices. Right now it seems like wearables are everywhere. There are dozens of smart, wrist worn devices on the market today, and a short browse on the web uncovers dozens of devices that promise to free you from your phone, track muscular activity, and even improve your mood. Earlier this month, Dole released promotional material for a “wearable banana” for the 2015 Tokyo Marathon:

While this ad offers a humorous perspective on the wearables “fad,” it highlights factors that must be considered in successful wearable product design. Fit is critical, from the shape of the device to the data and notifications it pushes into your life.  For wearables to continue to grow, it is essential that they provide Users with the right information, at the right time, in a simple yet meaningful way.

At User Insight, we work to make sure that our client’s products don’t become the next “wearable banana,” but are relevant and useful by focusing on the user experience as a whole. We believe companies should drive innovation but the best leaders are in touch with those they are leading.