Elements of an effective embedded GUI framework for wearables

Nowadays, smart devices and technologies have extruded all the manual work in our lives. Long gone are the days when people used a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure or a Pedometer to count the steps taken or underwent ECG to measure heart rate.

Smart wearables have effortlessly superseded these manual devices. They monitor internal or external behavior and enable functions like voice calling, health tracking, music, navigation, and much more. In the near future, wearables will increase in functionality and sophistication along with people’s hiked-up expectations.

Wearables have some extra limitations like tiny screen space and less battery life. So to compensate for these problems, the embedded GUI framework must be highly effective. An excellent graphical user interface goes a long way in increasing the efficiency of wearables.

Embedded GUI is a solution that incorporates software into target hardware devices and enhances the graphics, functioning, and user-friendly experience while saving power and resources at the same time.

Various structural, interactional, and visual elements that make a framework worth using are:

1. Menu

The menu contains a list of choices and allows users to select an option. Hamburger Menu: It is in the form of three small horizontal lines placed one below the other. They represent a list menu.

Doner Menu: Doner menu is a variation of the hamburger menu. While a hamburger menu consists of three lines of equal length, a doner menu consists of a vertical set of three lines of varying lengths, First one is the longest, below it a shorter one, and then the shortest line below it.

2. Icons

An icon is an image, text, or intuitive symbol to help users navigate on the screen. They are hyperlinked and provide a quick way to access any information.

For Example, a heart icon will show the heart rate, and a battery or cells symbol will indicate the battery percentage of the wearable device.

3. Notifications

Notification is an update or a message to let you know any new information such as the target of steps completed, low battery, any error, or a warning message.

Pop-up notification is a widely used format of notification.

4. Text/Font

The primary purpose of embedded GUI in your wearables is to make the screen glanceable and readable. The screen should contain minimal information and clear-cut instructions.

There shouldn’t be any unnecessary images or instructions for any task which can be done without the additional information. Long lists should be avoided. It is advisable to use easy-to-read and straightforward typography.

Font style like Simple Sans Serif is recommended for a neat presentation.

5. Button

A button indicates any action upon touch. It is labeled using text or image.

There can be various types of a button on wearables like:

Dropdown Button: This button, when clicked, displays a drop-down list.

For example, there may be a button on your screen to set a daily goal of steps. When you click the Choose target button, a dropdown menu will be shown indicating various numbers of steps or kilometers from which you can choose any option.

Radio Button: It allows users to select one option at a time from two or more two options available there.

Toggle Button: It allows to change the setting between two options.

For instance: If you want to switch on or off a particular setting, this button can be used.

Apart from using proper icons for various buttons, adding sufficient space between the buttons is also very important. There should be an ideal space for all sizes of fingers to select any button.

Adding too much space will leave no room for important information whereas, adding too little space will make the text appear clumsy and unreadable.

6. Colors

Colors play an irreplaceable role in any user interface. A vibrant, creative user interface makes your wearable screen easy on the eyes. But,  adding too many colors will ruin the look of the screen. So a sufficient amount of white/black/blank space is crucial to provide a minimal and readable interface.

While you are out in sunny weather, it is complicated to read what’s being displayed on the screen due to bright sunlight. So colors and contrasting shades that can stand out even in sunny conditions should be used.

7. Sliders

Sliders are also known as track bars or progress bars that allow users to set or adjust the value ranging between a minimum or maximum value.

For example: To increase or decrease brightness levels or sound levels of notification, etc.

8. Checkbox

The checkbox is a small square box on the screen that can be checked or unchecked. A checkbox allows users to select one of the many options from a list by ticking or unticking, with each option having a checkbox of its own.