Intel, New Devices Group
One of the first wearables designed specifically for women, the MICA (“meek-uh”) smart bracelet was a 3G, untethered device released prior to Apple Watch. It's features included texting, calendaring, and searching for nearby restaurants or other types of venues, all on a discrete touch display located on the inside wrist of a beautiful bracelet.
In my role as an interaction designer, I produced UX and visual UI for the device and responsive companion website, provided front-end programming, concepted and helped test features, and supported development and launch, including training retail associates.
Collaborating between fashion and tech industries and working with new and untested technologies gave us several difficult spaces to navigate. Our goal was to deeply understand our users, who fit into a unique niche, and craft something that was not only beautiful and delightful, but genuinely useful. The design team worked extremely closely with research and engineering teams to iterate on design and technical feasibility, collaborate effectively with our white label partners, and maintain quality while sticking as closely to our timeline as possible.
We spent a significant amount of time learning about our users, conducting interviews and mapping out journeys to identify opportunities to deliver them something valuable. One such opportunity was a way to handle the decision-making paralysis our users experienced during and after busy work days. I created an easy way to pick a restaurant, grocery store, or anything else they might need to quickly find. I mapped the information architecture within Yelp, created a prioritized version for our users and platform, and designed a simplified interaction model. We proposed this to Yelp, who then came on as a partner to the product.
MICA was an experiment in the space: in it’s design with Opening Ceremony, it’s retail channel through Barneys New York, and also in it’s 3G capabilities, making it one of the first truly untethered wearable devices. While never intended to be a widely-released product, MICA was influential to future wearables and to Intel's ongoing engagement with the fashion industry, as well as to a small group of very enthusiastic users. However, post-launch user testing hinted at what become a very clear trend across most wearables: users found more value in the novelty than the actual product's features resulting in a very short lifespan for such devices (see the term "drawered").
Interaction & Visual Design
Sensors (IMU, etc)