Recently I was invited by Google to become a Glass explorer (which means you are invited – after signing up – to buy a pair of quite expensive Glasses from Google). As an interaction designer I love to design things for new interfaces and devices.
Google Glass did not disappoint. They great thing about Glass is that’s it is designed from an always-on-in-front-of-your-face perspective. This makes a big difference. If you want to design for a device that has the control to take over your attention in the real world, at any time, it better be really useful.
From a design perspective the Glass technology is best when you’re moving. A mobile phone is a mobile computer, you can use it to “compute” everywhere you want. You just stop, start a program (app) run it and figure out what to do next.
Glass is designed to be used in the moment. It’s always on, like a service. Glass is at it’s best when it’s about what’s happening right now, or what’s going to happen with the next minutes or seconds.
These type of wearables are like a companion. They have to know who you are, where you are and what you’re up to. These devices invade your privacy like no other technology. The only way to serve you is by knowing you. And this makes all the difference. It’s the most personal computer device on the market.
And yes, Glass is really awkward, wearing it makes you look silly (major understatement), and using it with the godlike voice commands makes it even worse.
When I just got it my 4 year old son asked me why I was calling him and his brother “Glass”.
“OK Glass, take a picture”, “OK Glass, record a video”.
This awkwardness is something we’ll have to overcome, probably by design, or a killer-app. I’m sure we will. Will Glass make it? I don’t know. In the short run it can really have a purpose in a B2B environment where you need both hands.
Using contextual technology is really exciting and designing for it feels like adding another dimension to design. It’s like a complex game of variables you have to solve.