Mastering Design for Wearable Devices

Wearable technology devices have become an integrated part of everyday life. From smart watches to health monitors, devices worn on the body can gather important biometric data for further use and analysis.

The FDA has approved a wide variety of devices that can measure cancer cells, inform athletes of electrolyte loss, or help carry out dialysis, and wearable technology allows users to carry out important tasks in unobtrusive ways.

But unlike the process of designing a typical electronic device, the nature of a device worn directly on the skin or body must account for a wide variety of different factors. Materials, ergonomics, and environmental factors can play a major role in the success of a wearable device and must be accounted for during the design and prototyping phases. Without proper testing, even the best-intentioned wearable device can turn out to be uncomfortable, ineffective, and ultimately not worthy of being worn.

Here are some important factors to keep in mind when designing wearable devices:

  • Body location. It’s important to accurately identify the area where a wearable device will be placed on the body. Whether a device is intended to conduct continuous monitoring or carry out auto injections, the design of the wearable should conform to the unique surface of specific anatomic sites.
  • Comfort. Any device that’s placed on a body, even that of a thoroughbred horse, must take into account how it will feel. Obtrusive devices that are large, uncomfortably, or awkwardly placed can result in a product nobody wants to wear. Designers should take into account the size, shape, and lifestyle of its intended wearers.
  • Power and communication. Wearable devices are often made from miniaturized components, including batteries, graphic overlays, and membrane switches. Because these components are smaller than a standard device, implementing low-power consumption is important to help ensure that always-on, always-connected devices remain functional.
  • Interaction. Using a wearable device may require a variety of different interactive methods, such as a visual display, tactile feedback, or physical keys. Devices should be designed with the right materials and interaction methods in mind to ensure a seamless and comfortable user experience.


Since 1960, JN White® has solved complex design problems for brands around the world. As a full-service brand partner from start to finish, JN White® carries out manufacturing and assembly of labels, graphic overlays, membrane switches, and other components for products like wearable devices. For help bringing a wearable product to market, contact JN White today.

Posted on July 7, 2020. Categorized as .

More from Ken

Trade Show Advantages for Engineers

As an engineer, attending trade shows can be an excellent opportunity to meet companies like JN White and learn about the latest technologies and innovations in your field. Trade shows provide an excellent opportunity to network with other professionals. You…

dead front panel

Dead Front Panels: Expectations vs. Reality

One of the most common and useful graphic overlay components is the dead front panel. A fully customizable and versatile user interface solution, dead front panels can be printed to accommodate virtually any type of design supported by backlighting, embossing,…

Tactile Feedback Design

Tactile vs. Non-tactile Membrane Switches: Which Is Right for Your Product?

  Membrane switches are affordable, customizable, and highly functional user interface components. Custom built for a wide array of products throughout the consumer electronics, medical, and industrial markets, membrane switches are durable and reliable tools that allow users to easily…

JN White is an ISO 9001:2015 and ITAR-certified manufacturer of membrane switches, graphic overlays, and custom labels. All of our products are Made In The U.S.A. We specialize in the design and manufacture of complex graphic overlays, complex membrane switch keyboards, assembly and membrane switch testing. Our supporting products and services include: rapid prototyping; electronic shielding (ESD); backlighting (including addressable LEDs); design & development; vendor managed inventory (VMI); and medical device, UDI and UL label constructions. JN White works with global brands in the aerospace, medical device, medical instruments, industrial electronics, consumer appliance and defense (or military/DoD) industries. Made in America. Made in the U.S.