Tag Archives: design

How to Design for Behavior Change

How do I quit smoking, or start a running program? Drink tea instead of coffee, or eat more vegetables and less sugar? What about focusing on one task at a time instead of checking my RSS reader every 20 minutes?

If you are facing questions like this in your life or as part of your company, self-tracking can help bring awareness to patterns that you want to change. But what happens if awareness on its own is not enough to alter your behavior?

That’s where this guy comes in.

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What’s your idea to BodyShock the Future?

I’m working on this project with Institute for the Future – calling on voices everywhere for ideas to improve the future of global health. It would be great to get some Quantified Self ideas entered!

IFTF BodyShock the Future entry idea:
Shock Your Body
from Institute for
the Future
on Vimeo.


“What can YOU
envision to improve and reinvent health and well-being for the future?”
Anyone can enter, anyone can vote, anyone can change the future of
global health.

With obesity,
diabetes, and chronic disease rampaging populations around the world,
Institute for the Future (IFTF) is turning up the volume on global
well-being. Launching today, IFTF’s BodyShock is the first annual
competition with an urgent challenge to recruit crowdsourced designs and
solutions for better health–to remake the future by rebooting the

See more info after the jump…

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When Games Invade Real Life

What happens when self-tracking and games are pervasive? Jesse Schell, author of The Art of Game Design and instructor at Carnegie Mellon University, gave a shocking talk at the 2010 Dice Summit. With dark enthusiasm, he explored the question: if passive sensors become ubiquitous in the world around us, will everyday life turn into a game?

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Future of Personal Informatics Design

BiosensorVestSanches.etal.jpgOver the weekend some of the most interesting designers working in the field of personal informatics gathered in Atlanta in advance of the ACM conference on human-computer interaction. At a workshop called “Know Thyself: Monitoring and Reflecting on Facets of One’s Life,” they presented research proposals and tentative conclusions about the future of personal informatics design. I browsed the paper proposals, and was struck by the difficulty of the problems the designers were taking on.

The conference was organized by Ian Li, who has also compiled an excellent catalog of self-tracking resources on his Personal Informatics home page. One of the issues that I was glad to see the designers thinking hard about was the challenge of using quantitative data for qualitative reflection. From a paper by Pedro Sanches, et.al.:

When designing Affective Health, a mobile stress  management tool using biosensors, we gradually understood how severely limited inferences can be when we move from laboratory situations to everyday usage. We also came to understand the strong connection between our subjectively perceived resources for dealing with stress and healing. Therefore, rather than employing a diagnose-and-treat design model, we propose that designers empower users to make their own reflections and interpretations of their own bio-sensor data. We show how this can be done through encouraging reflection, alternative interpretations and active appropriation of biosensor data – avoiding a reductionist, sometime erroneous, mediation of automatic interpretation from bodily data to emotion models or, in this case, stress diagnosis.

A full list of presentation materials, with links to this paper and others, is here.

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Reframing Health: Design Your Own Well-Being

QS is not going to become another health care blog, but I wanted to promote these excellent slides out of the comments section from the previous post on Quantified Self business models.

Rajiv Mehta and Hugh Dubberly gave a talk recently that will be
valuable to anybody thinking about QS in the context of health. If you are a health sector reader of QS, these are worth reviewing.

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Results of the Personal Informatics Survey

In the summer of 2009, I posted a survey of personal informatics tools on The Quantified Self, Flowing Data, and forums at personal informatics sites like Slife and MoodJam.

Many people participated describing their experiences using existing tools to track and reflect on personal information. The survey helped us develop a model to describe personal informatics systems (Figure 1).

The model is a series of five stages: Preparation, Collection, Integration, Reflection, and Action, with four properties: problems in earlier stages cascade to later stages; stages are iterative; they are user-driven and/or system-driven; and they are uni-faceted and/or multi-faceted.

From these properties, we suggest that personal informatics systems should:
1) be designed in a holistic manner across the stages;
2) support iteration between stages;
3) apply an appropriate balance of automated technology and user control within each stage to facilitate the user experience; and
4) provide support for associating multiple facets of people’s lives to enrich the value of systems.

In the rest of this post, I will talk about our findings in further detail and discuss how the model can guide the evaluation and design of personal informatics systems.

stage-based model of personal informatics systems
Figure 1. The stage-based model of personal informatics systems and its four properties.

(Full report after the jump.)

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Top 38 Data Blogs to Watch

Nathan Yau at the FlowingData blog has compiled a list of “37 Data-ish Blogs You Should Know About.”

His list includes blogs on statistics, visualizations, maps, design, and “others worth noting,” a category that includes our own Quantified Self blog. Thanks Nathan! (Adding Nathan’s blog to the list makes 38.)

Happy RSS-ing!

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