You don't have to look far to see the digital transition in practice. Airlines, banks and retail giants are making their products available on various digital platforms to satisfy their customers, grow their business and compete in a challenging market. Wearable devices are the newest contributors to the "digital experience" and will continue making progress in 2016. According to an IDC report, basic wearables such as fitness trackers are growing by 76% year-over-year, while smart wearables like smartwatches are growing at a whopping 683%.In a similar vein, we're seeing some significant growth over the past few years in the adoption of IoT (Internet of things) devices in markets such as health care and home goods. But while IoT light bulbs and voice controllers for the home are intriguing, they have not yet seen the adoption of wearable devices.
Wearables are different from IoT devices in that they are essentially extensions of smartphones but with their own unique user interfaces that demand thorough testing, design and monitoring in the same way the smartphones and tablets do.
Another wearable app innovator, JetBlue, recently released an updated app for iOS and Android phones and wearable devices to "improve passengers' digital experience." The fact that a smartwatch app is now a major component of JetBlue's digital strategy says a lot about the progress wearable devices are making in the market.
More wearable apps in entertainment, banking and fitness being will be introduced and enhanced as the digital market evolves. And with leading vendors such as Apple, LG, Samsung, Motorola and Huawei releasing wearable devices, it's clear that this market will gain traction this year. The question now is: how to ensure continued customer satisfaction on wearables. To get there, keep these three themes in mind: Quality, User Experience and Value.
From a product perspective, the smartwatch experience is often an extension of a mobile app. However, from a testing perspective, they're quite different and simply applying smartphone app tests to wearables will fall short.
In the test matrix below for wearables, we highlight the different test methods that should be considered when extending mobile app testing to wearables. There are various features and functionalities that need to be tested on wearables such as installation methods, smaller screen sizes and resolutions, compliance with device models and OS platforms, security and more.
Key pillars for testing wearable devices (source: Perfecto Mobile)
Wearable devices may now be part of the digital landscape, but with this new status comes unique testing considerations. DevTest teams and product managers need to prepare for:
User Experience Is Key for Success
As is the case with smartphones and tablets, smartwatch adoption is a key part of the digital user experience, where to win over customers your app must work flawlessly on multiple devices.
Delivering a high-quality UX with every mobile app release isn't a new requirement, but today the stakes are raised because the mobile environments that users live in are more complex. They require DevTest teams to test their mobile apps under conditions that reflect the real world, including various network changes, user load spikes, multiple devices and platforms, battery constrains and apps running in the background. Wearable devices will face the same testing and quality scrutiny.
Receiving timely and accurate notifications is one of the most important use cases for a wearables app. If smartwatch alerts fail because mobile conditions were too challenging, the result may be deleted apps and revenue loss.
What's the Value?
The adoption of wearable devices and apps in 2016 will also depend on users getting something new out of the experience. That value can come in the form of more accurate smartwatch travel alerts based on users' locations or from using sensors-based fitness trackers to collect rich health data for analysis, research or treatment.
It's up to DevTest teams to invest time in the design, functionality and testing of wearable apps to make sure that the transition from a mobile device to a wearable gives users a memorable and valuable experience.