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Term of the Week: Wearables

What is it?

A computing or electronic device that can be worn on your body and that helps you act on information and perform practical tasks.

Why is it important?

With a projected market of $53.2 billion by 2019 (, wearables are mobile 2.0. This brings opportunities to technical communicators with expertise in content for wearables.

Why does a technical communicator need to know this?

With the strong market for wearables, technical communicators have opportunities to develop content for wearable devices. It’s important to consider wearables as a subject of technical communication and as a content delivery system.

Wearable users have unique content requirements and use cases. For example, you can use an Apple Watch app as a camera remote control when taking photos with your iPhone’s camera. Content must be timely and concise on the tiny wearable display.

Practical advice: get involved early in a project. Develop wearable personas and use cases to understand customers’ needs. Create content prototypes for wearable interface text and notifications. Participate in usability tests and incorporate feedback.

As a technical communicator for a wearable project, be sure that content meets these guidelines:

  • Useful: help people complete a task or make their lives simpler, healthier, safer, happier, or more efficient.
  • Timely: provide messages that are pertinent to the time and place.
  • Unobtrusive: avoid distracting users with unnecessary content.
  • Relevant: provide content that pertains to the current task.
  • Concise: trim content to what is required for the wearable use case.
  • Straightforward: use a conversational style.
  • Visual: provide customization instructions; link to videos where it makes sense.
  • Adaptable: test to confirm that content displays well on the target wearables.
  • Accessible: ensure that content conforms to accessibility guidelines.

Provide wearable content that meets customer needs to contribute to an excellent user experience.

About Marta Rauch

Photo of Marta Rauch

Marta Rauch is a senior principal information developer at Oracle, where she participates in wearable design challenges and workshops. Marta provides wearable usability feedback and publishes and presents on wearable strategies to worldwide audiences. Marta holds a degree from Stanford University and a certificate from the University of California.

Term: Wearables


Twitter: @martarauch