When we think of mobile technology, our minds go to phones and tablets. Yet the wearable technology market is growing. How do devices such as watches and glasses impact how we use technology? More important, how will it impact how churchgoers consume content? The announcement of the Apple Watch has pushed these questions to the forefront of our minds. So what are you going to do today to prepare for tomorrow?
Your website may be the foundation of your web ministry, but it is not the only place your content can live. It should be obvious that you will not read an eBook via your watch. Smaller screens demand smaller interactions. So find a way to get smaller chunks of content to your users. Short updates via social media platforms, such as Twitter, make the most sense. Also, text messages are another small interaction easily read on your watch. Notifications and reminders are great for this format. They join the traditional watch alarm as a way to nudge people to attend upcoming events.
We established that viewing content on wearable technology will be difficult. So instead many will use a service like Siri, Cortana, or OK Google. These services could use some help deciphering your website. For example, you want to advertise a Christmas Eve service. How do you display the time? Is it at 8:00 PM, 8pm, 2000 hours, 8 o’clock, or just 8 at night? How about addresses, dates, and other data points with many formats? Semantic tagging removes the ambiguity from your text. I mentioned this in a previous article on the semantic web. Please encourage your developers and/or content writers to add this extra data. It will take the guess work out of these voice services, and help avoid confusion for potential visitors.
You can easily put aside phones and tablets. Something strapped to your wrist is a more difficult to disconnect from. With this more constant connection to the web, users will have more noise than ever to sift through. I am not asking that you bombard your audience with a constant stream of content. If you are always shooting out Bible verses, event announcements, and other constant chatter. That is more likely to annoy your visitors than entice them to interact. Strive for timely event reminders, consistent ministry updates, and habitual inspiration. This could mean a morning devotional, weekly update after Sunday service, and reminders shortly before events. These intentional updates will be more meaningful for your audience than simply spamming them.
Get ready for wearable technology now. Android devices are already ahead of the curve and are getting considerable traction. Yet in early 2015, about four to six months from now, it will be out for iOS products as well. This new product will profoundly impact the wearable technology adoption rate. Rather than reacting to the movement, get ahead of the curve. Your site should have more modular content, inserting semantic data, and a regular rhythm to your updates. Given these three updates, your church website and social media updates will efficiently and accurately tell them how to make it to your next service or event.
Image courtesy of 20-20 Vision Graphics