Hello Pebble - experience about wearable technology

Goodbye to watch

When was the last time I wore a watch? Probably in high school. I was wearing the watch my dad gave me as a present. It was a Swatch. I still remember clearly how it looks, and the feelings of how the leather touched my wrist. When I was not wearing it, I put it in a transparent watch box deep down in my drawer, where other people would not find it. 

As you know, I stopped wearing a watch after I got my first Nokia. Two years after I graduated from college, I got another present, my first iPhone. My life has nothing to do with watch anymore, but I still miss the watch my dad gave me.

Watch is back

That was my watch story, how about yours? Whether you are still living in 19th century or you are a tech-geek, it is undeniable that the the technology is expanding to every corner of our lives. Not too long ago, I just swear to my boyfriend that I don’t see myself wearing apple watch or any smart watch, because my wrist is too tiny and skinny. A watch just doesn’t quite fit me. However, last week, a watch is back in my life. I found a San Francisco startup - Lumoid, providing wearable renting service. It is such a great news for a poor user experience designer. Even though I haven’t wore any watch for years, from curiosity I immediately ordered five wearables to try on. What’s in my inventory? There are Nikefuel band, Pebble watch, Jawbone, Garmin Vivosmart, and Fitbit surge.

The first interaction

They all have a cool looking, sportive, high-tech, and kind of smart look. It took me more than an hour to set up two bands. You would have to download an app on your computer or phone first, then typically you need to register an account online, the last step was to synchronized the wearables with your phone. 

Experience

Pebble watch will send me notifications when I got email, text messages and social media messages. Every time I got a notification, it slightly shakes my wrist. It kind of feels like having a trained pet, you will have to take care of it (charge it regularly), and your pet needs some attention when his is lonely. When he needs attention, he comes beside you and scratches your knees (vibrating). Of course, he will reminds you your tracking goal, count your steps and sleeping quality as returns. So, it’s nice to have a well-trained pet like this. 

If you have experience with puppies or any other animals, having one pet is great, but having three pets, things become out of control. Here is the story of my try-on experience. One night I was working on my laptop, using the laptop to charge my phone, and at the same time, I was wearing pebble. My friend Dave texted me through iMessage. Suddenly, all three devices send me notifications almost at the same time. “Ting! Ting!” from my computer and phone. “Zzzz” from my watch. One message multiplied into three. I was so surprised and didn’t know which one I should respond first! My point is, with the proliferation of smart devices, designer is not only dealing with a single device anymore, we are facing systematic issue.

How great it would be if my pets/devices could talk to each other, and know which one I’m on, so that it can reduce energy waste and mental burden. In another perspective, it when our living environments are full of smart devices, objects, channels, information-overload seems unavoidable. What happens when the whole smart environment yell and nag at us just like my three pets (devices). It also raise the question of in what kind of environment or situation people would like to receive notifications or reminders from multiple smart devices.