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Designing for Wearables by Scott Sullivan

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Chapter 10. Selling the Invisible

One of the most difficult aspects about the wearables business is the business part. You must convince someone to buy an object that might not be all that interesting or sophisticated in itself, but is a crucial touchpoint that contributes to an ongoing service. In most cases, the device is completely decoupled from the value of the service, and if you’re doing anything new, it’s even more difficult. Selling wearables is a complicated balance of storytelling, finding your niche, and figuring out the right way to make money from a service. This chapter covers what I’ve learned from interviewing and actively working with wearables startups and resellers as well as a couple theories about how people might think about objects and how the design of these objects can have an impact on sales.

Convincing people of the value of a service is a difficult thing, even in purely screen-based services. People inherently respond to things that they can actually see. For products like smartwatches, the cool stuff is right there on your wrist, and what you’re getting out of it is more obvious. However, current smartwatches aren’t really all that great in terms of providing a service; they pretty much just show you your phone notifications on your wrist instead of your phone. With devices that are more oriented around providing an ongoing service, it’s significantly more difficult to demonstrate value.

Hammers and Memories

For an example, let’s look at a hammer. Hammers ...

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