Exploring the Google Glass UX

As wearable devices enter the mainstream, UX designers must develop ways to maximize those devices’ potential while acknowledging the new limitations they impose. That’s what the software team at ELEKS concluded after evaluating Google Glass – an experience that allowed them to abandon their expectations about head-mounted wearables, adapt user experiences to tiny screens, and forget about keyboards altogether. For many UX designers, Google Glass evokes visions of an Iron Man-like interface with numerous controls and augmented reality features. Our team at ELEKS, too, fell victim to these assumptions. It was only after designing and developing multiple applications for Google Glass that we began to truly understand its distinctive features – and how to work within its limitations. In particular, we came across numerous technical and contextual challenges that few in the UX space will have encountered before. As the market for Google Glass, and thus the market for compatible applications continues to expand, we feel it is of vital importance for UX designers to share their experiences creating applications for the device. It’s in this spirit that we’re sharing our own. Photo Credit: lawrencegs via Compfight cc Technological limitations We began playing with Glass in August of 2013. Since then, our team of designers, analysts and engineers has worked on seven related projects, ranging from business concepts to fully operational applications. Most of the projects catered to unique usage scenarios and provided an application from which clients can benefit, either by opening new opportunities or by optimizing business processes. First, we discovered that the predominant way to interact with Google Glass was via Mirror API, which showed text...

Using Dark Patterns for Good

It was so frustratingly difficult to find the “sign out” button on Gmail that my father finally gave up and left himself signed in forever. Independent UX consultant Harry Brignull found the iOS ad tracking so difficult to turn off that he described it as “hidden.” And just last month, author Paul Brooks called out the company Twifficiency for neglecting to tell users that they were spamming their followers just by signing up. What do these all have in common? They’re dark patterns, an astonishing—but nonetheless surprising—way to learn more about good design. This situation actually affected me, recently. One day I received one of those chain emails we all receive—you know the kind. This one was from Goldstar. Having realized this was a chain email, I scanned along the bottom in search of an unsubscribe link. Fortunately I found one, but after clicking the link I saw that the page it linked to asked me to sign in. “Sign in,” I thought, I never created an account in the first place! I provided my email address to buy a ticket, but I never entered a password. So I clicked “forgot my password” on the next screen and was soon informed that there was no account linked to my email address. I was unable to unsubscribe. From an analytics perspective, this is certainly a smart decision—Goldstar likely has a very low “unsubscribe” rate—but as a user it’s beyond frustrating. Today, Goldstar’s emails find their way to my Spam box. How could the company have leveraged the same brilliance it took to fool me to instead make me a loyal...