John Lynch

Should I adapt my content for Google Glass or not?

I love new tech. Google Glass is especially interesting because it creates a notably different way to interact with the digital world. The concept of wearable computers is by no means new, and although Google have made the most promising advances yet, is it good enough? And should we be adapting our content for Glass?

First impressions are that wearing Glass feels intrusive, but just like wearing glasses, you get used to them soon enough. The real adjustment with Glass is in how you need to use it as a connected device. 

If you share and post on Google+, Glass is an amazing device that enables you to capture and share every second of your day. If you are in need of a device to browse the web, send a message or do many of the other things you are accustomed to on your phone, Glass has a steep adjustment curve. But not just for users, Glass also presents challenges for content creators and developers.

Navigation of webpages on Glass can be difficult, with no ability to enter text for search, plus drop-down / rollout menus that frequently fall off the screen. Unless the site you're visiting is mobile-optimised with a good navigation system, you will find yourself trying to aim the pointer at links and menus by moving your head in a slightly bizarre fashion, or become frustrated by trying to swipe up or down on your temple to get the link under the 'cursor'.

The best experiences on glass are apps such as Star Walk and Word Lens. Both of them have been successful on phones and tablets, but on Glass they truly come to life. The augmentation of data on the real world shows Glass's true potential. Navigation, translation, and augmented reality data sets are, in my opinion, the obvious and best choices for Glass applications. 

Unfortunately for Glass, most of the content we tried to view, be it app or website, fell short in terms of ease of use. Compared to the devices we all have grown accustomed to using (such as tablets and smartphones), Glass feels cumbersome and unintuitive at times.

As a digital agency we have to rise to the challenges presented by the wide range of devices out there. We have overcome these problems with solutions such as responsive design, native and cross platform apps, and in the past, dedicated versions of content such as the 'm dot' site. 

But glass poses a different kind of challenge. Principally, this is around how we structure content and provide interaction with that content for a wearable device with Glass’s input restrictions.

Do we build Glassware to be used as a native conduit to content, make 'g dot' optimised versions of sites, or do we ignore the device altogether? 

While the first generation of mobile-optimised sites required us to consider micro bandwidth transactions, and screen resolutions akin to the desktop displays of the late 80s, Glass's challenges are more esoteric, requiring a deeper knowledge of human nature to overcome them. In the absence of an established norm, this means a valid solution mainly comes down to personal preference.

So the question remains: When will a Glass-optimised version of our content be needed? As responsive layouts have killed the 'm dot' trend of a mobile-dedicated website, are we about to enter an era of 'g dot' Glass-optimised offerings, only to have them become obsolete with the next iteration of the wearable computer?

While Glass is a leap forward for wearable computing, there is a feeling that the price and limited scope for interaction means it will never truly be widespread enough to justify a 'g dot' site or even a Glassware application(s) as a conduit to content we usually consume via smartphones or tablets.


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John Lynch Digital Ministry John Lynch
Company: Digital Ministry
Position: Editor
Involved in the digital media and Marketing industry for many years, through working at the Economist Group (uk), Universal McCanns, Zivo, emitch, OneDigital, IBM (client side), & now TBWA NY Now in Bath, UK working as a consultant

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