Abstract: Personal tracking technology has made it easier for people to better understand themselves and their routines around exercise, eating, finances, and more. This self-knowledge can serve as a first step toward changing behaviors, increasing awareness, or simply satisfying a curiosity. Though some people succeed in achieving their goals, most encounter a fundamental barrier: the design principles used in tracking technology assume people are highly motivated, unwavering in their diligence, and have the expertise necessary to analyze their data.
In this talk, I will demonstrate how the design of tracking technology can be improved to help people overcome two challenges: (1) helping people find value in their tracking, and (2) helping people find support through their tracking. I will present generalizable opportunities for designs to overcome these challenges through a conceptual model and framework, and will describe four novel systems which evaluate design strategies that are uncovered by these opportunities. The novel systems demonstrate how designs can better surface interesting and actionable insights from data, support people after they have lapsed in tracking, help people create interesting shareable content from their tracked data, and scaffold an interested audience with which to share. I will conclude by discussing opportunities I am excited to explore in the future, including supporting the decision to track and the tool selection process, enabling opportunistic storytelling through tracked data, and developing more inclusive tracking technologies.
Bio: Daniel Epstein is a Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he is coadvised by James Fogarty and Sean Munson. Daniel's research examines how people use personal tracking technology today, using this understanding to inform the development of novel systems and generalizable models and frameworks. In addition to publications and awards at top-tier venues for Human-Computer Interaction, his work has been featured in the popular press such as Cosmopolitan, the Atlantic, and the Wall Street Journal, and has been presented to product and development teams at Fitbit, Microsoft, and Adobe.