My attention span is pretty short. If I need to find a café to meet a friend, track a bike ride or see how many calories I’ve burnt off in a day, I find that information in 3-5 seconds using Apps on my iPhone. If it takes longer than this, I usually find alternative Apps that do what I need better and quicker. Research shows I’m not alone – we’re a pretty impatient bunch.
So why is that? How did our patience wear so thin? How did we get to a point in time where a matter of seconds can lead to frustration? I think it’s living with the effect of five key driving forces:
1. Technology – it’s smaller and more accessible.
2. Information overload – Google says that every two days that go by, we create more information online than since the beginning of time.
3. Connection – the internet is faster and more accessible.
4. Usability – accessing information is easier and more integrated than ever before.
5. Social Acceptance – using a smartphone is part of our social fabric.
The combination of these five points has not only put the internet in our pockets, but created an expectation that information should be available to us immediately.
But what if our existing devices can’t meet all of our expectations? I mean, what if you’re on your bike and you need to access some information? The next step is to wear our technology. Do a quick Google search and check out ‘Glass’, ‘FitBit’ or ‘Nike Plus Sensor’ and you’ll get a good idea of what’s on offer. However, wearable technology seems like a solution looking for a problem. For example, should a phone be squeezed into a watch, ring, wristband or headset, just because it’s possible? Will wearing technology make our experience better, or just wear out our patience? Any technology that’s going to move from our pocket and onto our arm, hand or face will need to exceed our expectations, not just be a duplicate offering.
Current data tells us that we will probably only wear a device if it makes life easier. But it will have to look fantastic, be super comfortable and be crazy simple to use. What do you think?
Matthew Radford is a Digital Strategist at BCM