in design, Jawbone

Design at Jawbone

I’ve been remiss at updating my blog. On the day after my last post, I joined Jawbone to help lead the product design team. And today is a special day, because Dan Saffer, my former colleague from Adaptive Path, and most recently Director of Interaction Design at Smart Design, joins our growing team (in his inimitable style).

I was drawn to Jawbone because I could work on problems that I hadn’t yet tackled, except in conceptual hand-wavey ways at Adaptive Path:

  • hardware/software
  • Internet of Things
  • health/fitness

One thing Jawbone groks is that “the future of wearable technology is not about wearables, it’s about analyzing the data” (Guardian article), and we’ve done some remarkable work on the UP platform in this regard, specifically around what we call Smart Coach. Whereas other tracker systems seem focused on charts, graphs, and dashboards, Smart Coach presents your life in more human ways, with natural language, and prompts and encouragement to live better.

Actually, wearables is not even about the data — it’s about you. Our CEO Hosain Rahman refers to our approach to the Internet of You, where we take in all kinds of signals (from our wrist trackers and from partner’s apps and hardware), draw correlations, and provide insights and feedback across all manner of things. It’s hard work, and we’re only at the very beginning, but the promise is huge and inspiring.

From a strict design perspective, this is easily the most fun I’ve had since Adaptive Path. We’re involved in interactions with hardware, software, mobile, web, watches, and more. We have to balance between hard data and engaging copy. We have to make very hard tradeoffs (battery life versus displays; battery life versus size; battery life versus sensors… you get the picture). On my third day I played with a demo that was a legitimate “Wow, this could be the future!” moment. Just last week I wrote up specs for hardware UI.

In future posts, I’ll write more about my experience in designing at Jawbone. In the meantime, welcome, Dan – we’re going to have some fun!