The latest buzz-worthy gadget that's aiming to change how we interact with our environment needs no introduction. It's called Google Glass and it's exactly what it sounds like - a pair of glasses that you wear.
Google Glass has a built-in computer that lets you do all the things you would do on your smartphone or computer, but through swiping the handle along with voice commands instead of touching the device screen directly. This is a revolutionary concept and not surprisingly, it didn't take long before its potential in the fitness industry was explored by various start-up companies.
Google engaged with third-party Google Glass developer Acorales to create an exciting new personal fitness app. Acorales are an ambitious start-up company focusing on developing health and fitness applications, specifically for Google Glass. Google decided to develop the front-end of the app while Acorales would provide their backend technology and data.
I started off by collecting everything that was already in Google's head in a scoping session. I began talking to users of some of Acorales' existing fitness applications to figure out what resonated with people who use these types of personal apps. There was also a plethora of other competitor fitness apps to explore and learn from.
Sketches were eventually turned into high-fidelity wireframes, which helped to more clearly define the functionality and various use-cases of the app. Designing for Google Glass was challenging as it is a brand new way of interacting. Generic wireframe templates from older projects could not be recycled in this case, so we created brand new graphical assets. Motion prototypes were created in After Effects to visualise how the interface may work and to test various animations and transitions.
We mounted cameras on helmets and shot POV videos of fitness enthusiasts carrying out various activities such as running and going to the gym. This was useful for imagining some typical use case scenarios and helped us decide where certain interface elements should reside.
As we iterated, we explored clever ways to integrate ads (Acorales' main source of revenue) as well as explore other new sources of revenue (promoting gym memberships, sunbeds and therapeutic massages).
Projects advance best when working side by side a backend development team. In this case, we worked with Acorales' developers as well as an external development agency. We all worked in weekly sprints, going from concepts to design to functional prototypes in a matter of weeks instead of months.
Our front-end code used fake temperature and heart rate data to mimic what the fully developed application would look like. For the purposes of the prototype, there was no need to tie into a real database yet. That type of work would only take up more of our precious time.
We finished the prototype app in ten weeks and passed it off to Google. Google were very pleased with the results and are now considering folding Acorales into their services.
The application has evolved based on user feedback and Acorales has continued to help iterate on the product over the past year.