Feminine Gamification Viewpoint: Wearable Tech

Friday Feminine Gamification Viewpoint: Wearable Technology

Gamification is often facilitated in the health arena with wearable tech options, hence I have decided to dedicate a blog post to the topic, but also to show what isn’t cool for women and what is. When it comes to design that women want to wear, take a leaf out of the fashion houses book, what most of them have worked on for years is to profile their kind of lady. They appeal to particular women and are often not at all trying to appeal to all women in one segment. Typically they know what their kind of lady likes, dislikes, uses the clothes for and most importantly how she wants to feel wearing them.

In Gamification we say you should definitely have a clear profile in mind of your player and when it comes to wearable solutions, you also want to make sure all the feelings you want evoke for people wearing your devices are accounted for, especially for women. So a number of questions to always consider asking your female target audience:

  • Why would you use it or why not?
  • What do you want this kind of product to do?
  • How do you want to feel while wearing it?
  • What feeling would prevent you from wearing it?

Imagine a sports device that I can wear to the gym or whilst running outdoors. When a woman enters a gym and I will go from my own personal perspective, I have always attended mixed gender gyms and there are times I have felt self-conscious and even intimidated to go into the weights area for example because it is very strong male dominated. Generally speaking I would consider myself confident. So when I am wearing tech gadgets, I want them to give me an air of confidence too and reflect that I am serious about my sport.

Typically speaking wearable gadgets have been designed by all male design team and the female version of the product tends to come as an after thought to the original male version. The stereotypical design idea is to make it smaller so women  can wear it and bring it out in pink. As much as a I love pink, I would very rarely if ever wear pink to the gym, ironically I do have pink suits I wear to work. The colour pink in this setting accentuates based on gender biased colouring the fact that there is a weakness, it is subtle but it doesn’t give me confidence. In fact I would prefer neutral colours such as black or white over pink for the gym any day. When it comes to size of the device, it still needs to be functional and readable. Often when you make items smaller their functionality also decreases. Imagine running with a wearable device but having to stop each time you want to find out some statistics.

Here is an example of what Nike’s early designs from the all male design team looked like in contrast to what the design looked like when they brought in female designers from Femme Den to help them make it more appealing for their female audience. I challenge you to ask any lady in your circle of friends to point out which version she would prefer to wear to the gym. Ask her specifically how would the pink watch make her feel and how would the other one make her feel. Let me know their answers.

The designers asked the athletic women targeted by Nike how they felt wearing the pink watch and most of them answered weak, which is not how they want to feel when exercising in fact they want to feel confident. I can tell you us ladies already go through hoops in our mind in order to set foot into the gym, so the last thing we want is a smart device that makes us feel less confident.

When you are designing for a feminine audience, make sure you involve some of your ladies in the design process. They are a choosier customer, but when you design for their underlying value such as confidence for example, you are in a better position. Break down your female segment further into relevant sub segments for example young executive, athlete, working mum, active grandmother, just married, etc. The young single executive may prefer sleek design, whereas a working mum may also need the sleek design to be break resistant in case children get a hold of it. Women’s needs will vary significantly during various life stages and their demands on wearable technology will be different.

If you have seen other examples of wearable tech for ladies let me know, I am always looking for great examples to feature.

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