As technology evolves and more and more devices are developed with new abilities and limitations, web designers must face new challenges.

The way we navigate through the Internet has changed since smartphones first appeared. In fact, it is believed that 50% of web traffic comes from these mobile devices. Along with the mobile web, the responsive design was created to adapt content to the device on which it’s going to be displayed.

Mobile design has been a revolution, and now designers are facing another new challenge: wearables. When we talk about this type of devices, we don’t usually think about their design and how their features may have an impact on the content we access. In a recent article, Benjie Moss talked about this new challenge for web designers.

The challenge of wearables

Taking the Apple Watch as a reference, Benjie Moss reveals one of the main weaknesses of wearables: the lack of a web browser. It’s impossible to visualise a great amount of content due to the reduced size of these devices. And this reduces considerably the benefits that users can obtain from them.

Webs are closely related to our lives and to our daily use of the Internet. A few lines on a screen cannot satisfy the demand of those people who are used to (and love) the several features offered by other big-size devices such as smartphones or tablets.

As Moss states, the main problem is the size of the devices, ‘we cannot produce bigger devices because then it would be difficult to carry them around but on the other hand, we cannot produce smaller ones as it would be impossible to use them’. To be honest, the web as we know it doesn’t work on a screen the size of a stamp.

Where is design heading to?

According to Moss, sooner or later, manufacturers will realise that providing users with a full web is a priority if they want to make wearables useful.

The future of wearables will depend on our ability to redesign the web, and finding a way to present great amounts of content will be the key. To many designers, the answer lies in the audio, which will shape what they call the ‘wearable web’. This involves putting the mobile-first approach aside and embracing an ‘audio-first’ one.

In the end, the future of responsive design will need for content to be accessible and independent from the screen. We only need to find the way to do it.

Translation by Pablo Velázquez.

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