The tech world is buzzing about wearable tech, like the Apple Watch. But what does this mean for responsive and adaptive web designers? It means simplify, simplify, simplify.

Check out Thomas Bogner’s “iWatch” concept (below) designed for Mashable last year.  I think you’ll see just how simple web design for wearable tech is going to have to be.

iWatch-concept-910x512

Now, that’s just a concept.  The real Apple Watch won’t be released until April 2015.  Nevertheless, web designers need to be thinking about how to overcome the obvious challenges of designing for a brand new screen resolution now.

Here’s our thinking…

Use Popular Responsive Frameworks

We’re in love with Twitter Bootstrap as a responsive framework.  Designers should be using popular responsive frameworks like this–particularly their helper classes.  That way, when the change does happen, all you have to do is update the framework.  You won’t even have to change much in the way of the actual structure.

Simplify or Die

Whether you’re on a desktop or a tiny screen, simple is beautiful.  Keep your design and layout simple and clear and your fonts large and sans-serif.  Even if your audience are young, your font choices and layouts need to be simple and clean.  We’d highly recommend you ditch your sidebar while you’re at it.

Stay Mobile-First

Historically, most web designers and their clients approached the design from the desktop-side first and left the mobile part as a secondary goal that gets accomplished later. Even with the rise of responsive web design (RWD), many of us begin with the “full size” site and work our way down.  However, a new design trend around designing for mobile FIRST and then scaling UP your design to desktop is taking over.

Design for wearables and scale-up if you want to delight your visitors.  Get that backwards and you’re fighting an uphill battle.

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