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So You Want to Create a Google Glass App? Here’s What You Need to Know

Google Glass is a revolutionary mobile device that wears just like eyeglasses. Google Glass uses apps just like other mobile devices, but you can’t develop Glassware in the same way you develop other mobile or desktop apps. Before you get started in Glass development, you must take a certain approach and consider certain factors to ensure that your app is successful and useful.

Take Note of How Glass Users Work

if_area_work_237265It’s hard to understand how to create Glassware if you haven’t experienced Glass. The Glass SDK (software development kit) includes a Glass emulator, so you can create apps for the device even without owning a pair. However, it’s hard to get a feel for the way users interface with the device if you don’t wear it. There are some important factors to note before you get started with your app.

First, users can’t just relax and view an app in the same way they can with a tablet or smartphone. Glass users wear the eyepiece over the eye, but it hovers above the eye instead of in front of it. The user must look up when reading pages or understanding prompts, which isn’t very comfortable for long periods of time. Straining the eye is a critical consideration for Glassware design. You don’t want to create an app where the user must look up for too long. You should create pages with short prompts, limited content and use sound as cues instead of visual ones.

Next, Google Glass takes voice commands and requires minimal hand movements With a smartphone or tablet, you must create an app that works with fingers especially the thumbs With Glass, the user slides the index finger across the right panel to scroll through screens or signal a confirmation. Instead of coding for tapping movements, a Google Glass developer must code for sliding actions These sliding action screens are called “immersions”

Finally, voice commands are the main interface between the user and Glassware apps. Glass has an API to deal with these commands, but you must be aware that users will speak a command instead of type or tap a button. Commands must be short and require minimal speaking. For instance, you don’t want your users to speak long sentences when giving a command. Instead, you want to give your users the ability to say one word or a short phrase to use your app.

Glassware Screens

if_22_kitchen_glassware_824782Glassware screens are the slides that the user sees through the glass prism. The screens are somewhat translucent, so keep that in mind when you create your designs For instance, you don’t want to make a white screen with very light gray text. The translucent text can be difficult for the user to see. This type of design goes against some of the current website and mobile app trends with light background screens and gray text. Again, this type of design is hard to understand when you haven’t toyed with Google Glass yourself.

Text should also be short. Glass can be worn in the car, even though it’s a big controversial issue as far as it being a distraction. For now, Glass wearers can use Glass while driving, so they can’t spend several minutes or even seconds looking up at the screen. Your users should be able to look up very quickly and understand what must be done to navigate to the next screen. You can even add voice feedback, so the user doesn’t even need to look up while working with the app, which makes your app even more flexible than the competition.

Is Glass an Everyday Necessity?

if_question-circle_383085A decade ago, you’d probably say that a smartphone isn’t a necessity. However, some users tod ay refuse to leave the house without a smartphone or tablet. Tablets are even integrated to some people’s jobs, so they can’t travel without them. Is it the same for Glass, though? The answer is probably not, but that doesn’t mean it will stay that way.

When you design your app, you should consider if the user wears Glass frequently or if it’s something that is used occasionally. Glass comes with several integrated features including the ability to send email and instant messages and making phone calls. These features are a necessity for most people, but they can also use their phones if they forget Glass at home.

Obviously, every app developer wants their app to be popular and useful. However, it’s important to take everyday use into consideration. For instance, Twitter is not really a necessity, but micro-bloggjng is just as popular as updating a Facebook profile everyday. If you can tap into a user’s interests and needs, you can turn your app into something that people don’t want to live without. In other words, your goals should be usefulness and creating an app that users remember and continue to use.

What about Software and Tools?

if_business_and_technology_software_installation_2583133If you don’t want to hire a developer, you’ll need to know how to program an app yourself. You’ll need to download the Eclipse IDE, which is software you can use to program in Java. Just like Android, Glass apps require you to know Java. If you aren’t familiar with frontend design and usability, you’ll need a designer. The great part about coding a Glass app is that the screens are simple, so you don’t need a lot of the fancy designs that you need to pull off with website and mobile device apps.

After you install Eclipse, you need to install the Glass SDK (also called the GDK), which you can find at deveIopers.google.com/glass/deveIop/gdk/. This GDK is an add-on to the Eclipse IDE. Incidentally, Eclipse is also used to program Android apps, so you can install both SDKs to create an app that interfaces between Glass and Android.

Note that creating Glassware is different than creating software that interfaces with the Google Mirror API. Google Mirror is an API that lets you communicate with other Glass users. For instance, suppose you want to create an app that shares photos with Glass users. You would then use a Glass app to store the photo, send the photo to the Google Mirror API and then send the image to Glass wearers. Using the Mirror API, you can also share data with other users using a website application or mobile phone device.

The whole process of understanding the user, learning the language and creating a great design takes much of your time. Right now, you’re not even allowed to charge for your apps so all of your creative efforts must be to test Google Glass and use the app as part of your coding portfolio. It doesn’t mean you can’t create a viral sensation. It’s just that you need to be creative when you determine how your app will pay for itself in the end.

You can get around the issue by charging people for a premium service. The app cannot cost them money, but you can make up for your time and effort using a cost forthe service. Just like mobile apps, it’s probably best to offer a free version and upgrade that version to a paid account that has additional functionality.

If you’re a developer, you can get ahead of the development game and start learning Glassware and the Mirror API. Development is viciously competitive in some markets, so having Glassware apps on your resume can give you some advantage over your competitors.

As a business, having a Glass app as part of your marketing efforts will give you a head start in your industry. It might seem like a lot of money with little rewards, but as Glass starts to gain popularity, you’ll already be set in the Glassware app market.

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1 Comment

  1. April Kimbrell
    May 5, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    A detailed step by step approach for a beginner. I found this piece valuable and with greater potential in the future, with the wide adoption of virtual reality, sure the glasses would gain its relevance.

    Reply »

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