The wearable device market is booming. It’s not new. Maybe it just seems more cool now than it used to be. The coal miner’s headlamp was wearable technology that Edison invented in 1914, and admittedly, it was a great innovation at the time.

But now we are looking at things that can evaluate your perspiration to search for disease, sleeves that can translate sign language into spoken English, and soft flexible batteries that can be sewn into clothing.

Pretty cool. But now most of it is meant to be used at home, by the patients, and not by trained healthcare professionals. Can my dad, with his banana fingers, properly operate your wearable device?

If you have a technology that you plan to turn into a wearable device, please do yourself a favor. Before running pell-mell down the roaof development that will make your cool new technology a product, consider the following suggestions first.

  1. Keep the user in mind. Controls and interactions have to be simple, and should make daily tasks easier, not more complicated. Check out this handy chart that Delloitte University put together here.
  2. Don’t assume physicians have a lot of extra time on their hands. They don’t. If your device is going to add hours of time for them to pore over tons of data coming in from a myriad of patients … think again.
  3. Home healthcare is driving this trend. Right now, fitness gadgets are all the rage, but soon the largest user group will be our aging senior population caring for themselves at home. It has to be simple enough and easy enough to use for my dad (with banana fingers) to use it successfully.
  4. Getting accurate data is difficult. The placement of sensors, accuracy of sensors, and user error diminish the accuracy of data. Data needs to be properly interpreted in order for a good diagnosis to occur, and this is often difficult—even with good data. Bad data makes it much worse.

So dive in!

Develop your smart wearable device and get it on the market. We need these products to alleviate the burden on our healthcare system. Just make sure that if your idea is a smart sock, you keep my dad out of the hospital by making sure he can put it on with his banana fingers. Because, guaranteed, he will twist it around in unimaginable ways, and he might displace the sensor in the process. I wouldn’t want him to begin his day fooling himself into thinking he is fine, when he actually… who knows?