Are your user manuals (and any other content) ready for Google Glass?

Google_Glass_detail from WikipediaGoogle Glass, a wearable computer with a screen above the right eye, goes on sale in 2014. Glass is almost certainly going to be used to support maintenance and repair calls, providing technicians (and other types of user) with the ability to access manuals and discuss situations with remote colleagues.

So are your user manuals, and the other content users might need to access, compatible with Google Glass?

Google glass textGlass provides a new kind of interface, providing both new opportunities and new design challenges. The key to providing a great user experience for Glass users is to avoid overwhelming them with information.

Google states the easiest way to create beautiful and legible content on Glass is to simply to provide text:

“You provide the Glass API the content that you’d like to display in the form of text and optional images, and Glass makes sure it looks great.”

As the Glass software will, by default, decide how to best present the content to your user, you’ll find it easier to publish content to Glass where the text and the formatting (the “look and feel”) are stored separately.

google glass help screenWith a screen resolution of 640 x 360 pixels and a need to follow Google’s style guidelines (so your content is consistent and presents no unexpected surprises), you’ll need to be able to break your content into topics containing just a few lines. Your content will probably work best if you’ve followed the rules of minimalism – providing the essential information and no more.

For procedural information, it’s likely you’ll need to create paginated content, and you can do this through Glass’s “bundles” feature. Bundles have a page curl at the top right corner as a visual cue that more information is available to the user.

If your content is written in DITA (or more accurately to the DITA standard), publishing to Glass should be pretty painless. If you’re not using DITA, you may need to review how your content is structured, and consider a “Glass first” content strategy. Should you need help and assistance in creating content for Google Glass, remember Cherryleaf can help.

Have you created any content for Glass so far? Do you look forward to creating content for Google Glass with fear or excitement? Please share your experiences below.



Isn’t this going backwards? I mean, we came from plain text, decided formatting was important, then graphics for visual learners, then video and audio, and now … back to text?

Anyway, is Google Glass relevant yet? And, more to the point, shouldn’t apps for that medium be designed so you don’t have to access a manual on the device to figure out how to do something?

Colour me skeptical.


Ellis Pratt

You can display images and videos as well. Its use will be in situations where you are using your hands to do something and so cannot hold a manual or a device. This could be repairing a car, being on a roof, fixing in a printer etc.

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