A Study of Interaction, Digitalization and Motivational Affordances of Wearable Systems

This study draws from Activity Theory and affordances to examine wearable systems. Affordances are articulated at the operational and action level and applied to the two components of wearables (device and software). The integration of these components into a unified system is evaluated with respect to whether the system satisfies the wearer’s need (motivational affordances). This approach is applied to a wearable fitness tracker with a minimalist wristband design using data from a sample of online reviews. The theoretical and empirical analysis of wearables while-in-use helps bridge the gap between low-level interaction challenges and high-level quality of use considerations regarding digitization of individual data and its effects. Given the focus on the different components of wearable systems and their examination in realistic contexts, this study develops a richer analysis tool for wearables and paves the way for future research in this area.