Product No. 2: Tether, a Wearable Ring Accessory

Product No. 2 in 100 Products, 100 User Journeys

In the second installment of my product development project 100 Products, 100 User Journeys, I’ve chosen to focus on a pain point that the more forgetful of us can empathize with.

2015 was a great year for me from a personal standpoint. However, it wasn’t a great year from a cellular standpoint. In May, my cellphone was stolen at a company conference at the Marriot in New York City. This past New Years, I left my phone in a taxi, forcing me to buy another new phone. AT&T ended up cancelling my mobile insurance for making too many insurance claims within a 12 month period.

Every time someone loses their phone, there’s a massive personal upheaval that occurs. Passwords are changed, data is deleted, device managers are opened. This pain point got me thinking about a safety product that would help users lower the risk of losing their phones.

Introducing Tether.

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Name: Tether

What is it?: Tether is a wearable computing ring accessory that helps users stay within reaching distance of their mobile devices. Tether comes with a reusable lucite box for storage and recharging.

What does it do? Tether alerts users when they are more than 4 feet from their phones by vibrating and flashing for a 10 second time period.

Why it user friendly? Unlike most wearables, Tether actually integrates into the jewelry you already own rather than making you wear an accessory that doesn’t fit your style. In the case of rings, you could attach to any band including your wedding band.

Possible Use Cases:

  1. In Cases of Theft: If your phone is removed from within hand’s reach of you, this product provides an immediate alert system for recovery.
  2. In Cases of General Irresponsibility: If you’re simply being irresponsible this product provides an immediate notification when you are exiting a vehicle (Uber, cab, etc.) or leaving a location and your phone is in danger of being left behind.

One User Journey: Given the above possible use cases, let’s map out one potential user journey for Tether in an instance a user is out and about and leaves their phone in an undesired location.

Assumptions:

  1. User wears a ring
  2. User remembers to connect the device with their ring
  3. User will not remove device from their rings over the course of using the device

Given the assumptions above, I will attempt to map out a complete user journey for the Irresponsibility use case with Becky, a nice but forgetful 20-something year old who enjoys going out with friends and drinking.

  1. Beck walks through her front her door after a long day at work. It’s a Friday.
  2. Becky has an hour to get ready to go out with her friends.
  3. Becky takes off her shoes and pauses for a moment to think about what she wants to accomplish within the next hour before she has to leave.
  4. Becky hops into the shower to begin getting ready for her evening out.
  5. After the shower, she blow dries her air, applies makeup, and picks out the outfit she wants to wear for the evening.
  6. As part of getting ready, Becky put together her bag/ clutch for the evening complete with makeup, her cellphone, and her keys.
  7. Becky connects Tether to her  ring and turns it on. As long as her phone is within her purse, Tether will not alert.
  8. Becky puts on her heels and gets ready to walk out.
  9. Becky looks up directions to the bar her friends are meeting at and begins make her way to the nearest subway train.
  10. Becky arrives at her destination and enjoys a dinner with her friends filled with good food and drink.
  11. As Becky eats, she texts from her phone at the table and leaves her phone right next to her plate.
  12. As the night goes on, Becky’s friends decide to pay the bill and leave. Becky stands up and accidentally covers her phone with her napkin.
  13. As Becky begins to walk away from the table, Tether begins to vibrate, letting Becky know that she’s walked more than four feet from her mobile device.
  14. Becky runs back to the table just as the waiters begin cleaning it up for the next party and retrieves her phone.
  15. After returning to her apartment after a night out, Becky disconnects Tether and returns it to its charging/ keepsake box.

Takeaways From User Journey: Probably the biggest drawback of this design is that user would have to keep the accessory connected to themselves at all times and which could either be 1) inconvenient to keep track of (aka what good is a product that helps you not lose things if you lose the product itself?) or 2) simply uncomfortable given the device fits squarely on the inside of your finger which would make doing things like making a fist an awkward user experience.

Additionally, from a market competition standpoint, devices like the Apple Watch could easily replicate the same processes. The time it would take to develop and bring to market a device like this, Apple will have already released its latest Apple Watch complete with a a device finding alert system. If Becky had an iPhone and iWatch, why would she need a device like this? She wouldn’t.

Finally, there was one potential use case that I had thought about including that seemed relevant but realized was orthogonal to the product and this was in instances where a user misplaced their phone in their own home. Ideally, if  a user lost their phone in their home, this product would provide a notification that you are within the general vicinity of the item. However, this use case would require changing the way the alert system is programmed. Tether would have to be reprogrammed to go off when it is comes within 4 feet of the cellular device vs. alerting when it leaves a four foot radius of the phone.

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