Google Glass offers new ways to start a dialogue with users. It gives an opportunity to reach people right in front of their eyes when they need it. As an advanced Nike+ user and interaction designer I am using the Nike+ products very consciously. While my phone and Fuelband are close to my senses, they are not close enough to get my attention and keep me focussed all the time. What if Nike+ could be present in my field of view?
I have been using the Nike+ Running app for two years. It kept me going by making my achievements visible. I saw progress and every time I ran, I felt rewarded. What really motivated me to run, was having a goal and beating my best results.
A consequence of having an office job is that I am sitting most of the time. I wanted to stay active and move enough during the day. When I heard about the Nike+ Fuel Band two years ago, I tried it immediately. I had a daily goal to reach and badges to win. It works pretty fine for me! It motivates to move frequently and I started using the Nike+ Training Club to earn extra Nikefuel points. However, I also see some opportunities for improvement.
A gap in the Nike+ experience
Nike+ already provides great services to make us more active, conscious and to perform better. I can see the progress of my daily movement and sport activities. I can compare my results, compete with friends, share results and challenge myself with a program.
However, I feel there is a gap. Sometimes I don’t reach my goal because I didn’t have the time due to daily bustle. Or because I simply didn’t notice the reminders to start moving as my phone or Fuelband were out of sight.
When I am running, the Nike+ running app provides some pre-defined audible updates on my progress during the workout, but if I want to know more, I can’t because my phone is strapped to my arm.
Glass can add value
The Nike+ services are not able to interact with us instantly. We have to grab a phone or click on the Fuelband to actually see what is going on. Google Glass is able to do this kind of instant interaction. I imagine it to be useful especially during the moments when I need to be active. Glass can trigger me to move and show me live progress data, directly in my field of view.
First, some user testing
First things first: is it possible to move, to do fitness and to run with Glass on my head? I’ve put Google Glass to the test during one of my workouts and the answer is: yes! Running, shaking your head, hanging upside down: its snug fit ensures Glass stays on your head perfectly!
And what about wearing it all day long? Well, it’s like wearing prescription glasses for the first time: you are very aware that there is something on your head at first, but after a few days it starts feeling normal. Soon it will even start feeling odd when you are not wearing them.
However, Glass has to be improved before it is really ready for the everyday use. The screen goes off due to heavy movements. It does not recognize when I am moving. You still need to connect to your phone over Bluetooth for GPS and cellular data, which easily disconnects during outdoor workouts. Also the battery isn’t very capable yet; you will get a few hours out of Google Glass at most. No panic, it is still a beta product and it will get much better over time.
What would Nike+ Fuelband look like on the Glass?
Let’s take a look at the Nike+ Fuelband app. It tracks your daily activities with the Fuelband and you get rewarded for these activities with the Fuelpoints. You can set a daily goal by yourself. Eventually, you can challenge yourself with other little goals. Like ‘win the hour’ by moving constantly for five minutes within a hour. Or reach 30 ‘active minutes’ a day. When you are doing a great job, Nike+ will reward you with fun badges to keep you motivated.
There are plenty of goals to reach which Glass can give a helping hand with. For example, I came up with three daily scenarios using Nike+ Fuelband and Glass:
Google Glass will try to motivate you to get moving when you are inactive
When you are not moving for a while, Nike+ can trigger you to move.
When you start walking you get to see feedback: time and upcoming fuel points.
Google Glass will try to motivate you to reach your daily goal
Nike+ can activate you to reach your goal before it is too late.
You can decide by yourself to accept the help of Nike+.
Nike+ can help you out reaching fuel points with small workouts from the Nike+ Training Club.
After the workout you get rewarded with reaching your goal before it is time to sleep.
Google Glass will try to motivate you to win badges during an active day
When you already had an active day without any help, Nike+ can stimulate you to reach more.
Nike+ can open the right app for your workout and show feedback.
During the workout you will get rewarded and see when you won the badge!
Based on the tracked data, it is possible to see which parts of the day the user is active and when he needs help to move more. Glass can show directly how to keep on track, and with elements of gamification it is more fun actually doing it.
Detailed visualisations and charts are not suitable for Glass, but these are already well supported by the Nike+ apps for the phone and desktop website. When you want to design for Glass, it is very important to apply smart rules and learn from the behaviour of the user. This is necessary so users won’t get bothered with messages all day.
Smartwatches like the Android Wear and the Apple Watch will replace the Fuelband. In this case, Nike+ can interact through a screen on my wrist. It should be easier to get my attention on a watch than on the Fuelband. Also, unlike my phone, he is always there and closer in my field of view to show me information.
Similarly to the Glass, these smartwatches introduce a new type of micro-interactions on a small screen, which brings along interesting new use cases and behavior design challenges. It is not in your direct field of view like Glass, but it is always there within one’s reach. I am looking forward using a smartwatch. We already thought up a few use scenarios for the Apple Watch.
Google Glass is not as ready for the daily use as the smartwatches are. But this new way of interacting has got a big potential to coach us in the future. Perhaps the Glass will look like a normal prescription glasses in the future and it will be possible to see information through the real glasses. I would definitely wear it to improve my health and lifestyle, would you?