As a designer, I’ve always loved infographics. There’s something about the way design and data come together to make information understandable. (If you’re unfamiliar with infographics, they’re essentially illustrated data, a way of making large amounts of information readable or more easily understood. Like this and this and this and this.)
I have long admired the infographics of designer Nicholas Felton. Each year, he puts together an ‘annual report’ of his life, documenting how he spent his time, with whom he met and how many cups of coffee he drank. Last year, he came out with the Reporter app, a new app that allows you to design your own infographics about your life.
Reporter lets you track practically anything you could possibly want to know about your life, all in one place. The app lets you know a few times a day when it’s time to report. When you launch the app, you’re prompted to answer questions of your choosing and saves the data for you to download later.
It uses your phone’s technology during these random samples to track where you are, how loud it is, the weather. You can also design your own topics, such as what you’re wearing or what mood you’re in. And the result is pages of beautiful graphs about your life.
Perhaps I’m a nerd, but I find it fascinating to see the trends appear over time. For example, I wear a lot of black (which I could also probably tell from my laundry basket) and I usually have a Nashville song stuck in my head. I’d love to create a report for myself like Felton’s, so I’m trying to be better about reporting a few times a day as well as before I go to bed and first thing in the morning.
I love to peruse others’ questions to get ideas for things to track on the Reporter app. I prefer to keep my reports short and sweet so they don’t take up too much time throughout the day. Here are a few of my own daily questions that I’m tracking right now:
- Are you excited about today?
- What colors are you wearing?
- What tools are you using?
- What song is stuck in your head?
- Did you have a good day?
- What typeface did you use most today?
- How many cups of coffee did you have today?
- What did you learn today?
If anything, Reporter is a fun way to monitor and track your daily activity, and it’s a good one to take into the new year. It was also rated one of Gizmodo’s Best Apps of 2014. If you’re a nerd like me, what would you track? // susannah