Interaction design & quantified self


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Slides from talk given in CS547:

The proliferation of tracking techniques & methods today reminds me of reports of the Homebrew Computer Club, which began meeting in Menlo Park in 1975. The current state of the QSelf field seems analogous to the early stage of personal computers, before the incredible potential of the technology was liberated by progress in interface design.

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Interaction design & quantified self

  1. 1. Interaction Design for The Quantified Self CS547 PCD Oct 14, 2011Paul Whitmore
  2. 2. What is the Quantified Self?Initially, it looked like “Lifelogging”Wikipedia even today redirects from Quantified Selfto
  3. 3. Quantified Self ≠ Lifelogging Amazing range of sensors/tracking mechanisms Topics quite diverse Medicine (illness) & also Wellness Biohacking (e.g., personal genomics) Productivity (RescueTime) Social Dynamics (Rypple) Mood, Money, More Collaborative (PatientsLikeMe; Asthmapolis) Experimental slant rather than just logging data
  4. 4. Quantified Self, a Brief HistoryFirst meetup: Kevin Kelly’s home in Pacifica Sept ’08 28 people (I wasn’t there)Each meetup has drawn a larger crowdThe community’s mojo has been worked on byhosting in diverse spaces (IDEO, The TechShop, IFTF)Brilliant community director: Alexandra CarmichaelQuickly spread (NY, Boston, now 20+ in US, Europe,Australia, S. Africa)1st Conference: Computer History Museum May ’11It seems to be quite sexy
  5. 5. Sensors Available to the CommunityActivity Trackers (FitBit, Nike+, and others) Bodymedia: a fairly sophisticated device retailing for ~$150
  6. 6. A Few Additional Examples of Tracking DevicesDedicated Sleep Trackers, such as ZeoHeadband + Display.Tracks REM, deep sleep, disruptionsWithings WiFi Bodyscale Measures weight & body fat/BMIGreenGoose RFIDs in stickers that can measure arbitrary movements, such as whether you move your toothbrush back and forth6
  7. 7. Smart Phones are becoming scary SmartInstant Heart Rate7
  8. 8. Smart Phones are becoming scary Smart part II Apple Patent Application from 2009“An earbud could include infrared photodetectorsto measure body temperature, heat flux& heart rate” 8
  9. 9. Range of Tracking Devices and MethodsFood 50 203 Web appsFitness 118 166 iPhoneMedicine 48 77 AndroidSleep 30Mood 54Location 55 Free 315 $1 to $10 90 $10 to $100 101 over $100 619 source
  10. 10. QSelf primarily dominated by focus on tools &techniquesIt’s worth noting that currently, most QSelf participants are:Exceptionally motivated - “Narcissism of All My Bits”Engineer-ish & Entrepreneurial in outlookData NudistsFrequently managing chronic conditions
  11. 11. Tools & techniques are raw material forInteraction DesignMany QSelf toolsremind me of theAs Seen On TVexercise productswhich promise to“completelyreplace your gym.”(i.e., just add motivation)
  12. 12. Behavioral economists view Designers/Product Managers asCHOICE ARCHITECTS Opt ion A Opt ion B “Many features, noticed and unnoticed, can influence decisions. The person who creates that environment is, in our terminology, a choice architect.” (Thaler & Sunstein)6
  13. 13. “Framing” is the Psychological Bridge to Behavioral Economics Contextual cues, situational aspects, environmental associations shape/structure perception 4
  14. 14. Channel Factors Persuasion not as important as removing behavioral barriers WWII sale of bonds (Cartwright, 1949) Tetanus shot messaging Biggest impact (10X): providing a map to clinic + specifying appt time Once this was seen to be “applied,” psych research stopped. Now this work takes place as “behavioral economics” Well-chosen defaults (opt-out vs opt-in) Reduction in choice overload 14
  15. 15. Psychological principles for Interaction DesignSheena Iyengar demonstrated that increased choicereduces action! Draeger’s Experiment with 6 vs 24 jams! Action when only 6 choices 10X higher than 24 choicesEldar Shafir has shown that irrelevant information can stillparalyze decisionmakers! Willingness to pay to delay choice - 62%Roy Baumeister’s research shows that deliberating, makingchoices, and resisting temptation lead to “decision fatigue”
  16. 16. Complexity Reduction is Interaction DesignEven good sites (e.g., front-load cognitivelydemanding & emotionally challenging tasks
  17. 17. Asking people about their goals is trickyWhen asked to describe personal priorities, people provide more articulate & explicit goals for lower priorities Delmore Effect -
  18. 18. Eliciting Goals that Matter Recalling past successes just makes it worseDistracting peopleby asking them to think about irrelevant topics doesn’t help either15
  19. 19. Recalling a success, not connected to most important goal,can help Relevance to Interaction Designers: 1- Accumulate information without deliberate action 2- Enable answers to “quiz”-like questions to create small successes that can build greater engagement w/o triggering anxiety16
  20. 20. Don’t Assume Participants Know ThemselvesChoosing for tonight Choosing for next Choosing for second Thursday ThursdayNext week I will want things that are good for me… 20 slide adapted from Prof Russell James III, "Texas Tech U
  21. 21. Understanding PreferencesBuilding a better Eliza (1966 computer program)ELIZA mimicked a therapist by returningwhatever user typed with a question> How does that make you feel?> Tell me more about … 21
  22. 22. How to get people to talk about themselves? Hunch isexemplary at playing “the question game” 17
  23. 23. Beware that Q&A can just be pesky Eliza tricked people into thinking that we are talking about me Microsoft “Clippy” had much more computational intelligence, but it only directed attention to Clippy 23
  24. 24. Automating Choice Subscriptions reduce friction of decision-makingTheater tickets / Gym membershipAmazon reduces cognitive load in multiple ways! PRIME! 15% off when you agree to transform a one-off to a subscriptionMedical insurance –Seems irrational to choose high premium, lowdeductible, yet many don’t want to make repeated calculations abouttrade offsQSelf, to the extent possible, needs to intrinsically capture trail ofinformation without requiring any deliberation 24
  25. 25. Sublime Example of Intrinsic CaptureEquanimity, a precisely vague meditation timer! Supports tracking w/o crufty visual detailSimply by using the timer for itsutilitarian function, you getLesson: Couple data collection to an action that is automatic 25
  26. 26. The crux of QSelf is Experimental InterventionSociology-style correlations can endlessly proliferate, but all thelogging in a life can’t tease apart confoundsThe key requires combining streams of tracking data withexperimental manipulationsCreate conditions that evoke the behavior you want to seeA key dependent variable should be “compliance with theinstruction”28
  27. 27. “Copernican revolution” in my own thinkingabout the QSelfCraft scripts that intervene to manipulate pre-existing patternsof behavior Shift away from placing monitoring at the center Don’t just track ambient behavior Move toward methods that deliver an instruction29
  28. 28. How Decision Fatigue Can HelpConceptualize your self as two parties: Commander/controller is the “decider” at T 0 Executor/actor of script is the “follower” at T 0+NSet up a stream of decisions in your longterm self interestSend those instructions to your future selfObserve the success in implementing those ITERATE(Compare this to Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto)
  29. 29. Mindful Eating ExperimentInspired by Robin Barooahs Mindful Attending Exercise (QSelf Silivalley Meetup 8/11)Robin’s experiment went from WORN (Write once, read never) to WOWA (Write once, with attention) ! Experiment: noted how he felt, 3 hours after eating 31
  30. 30. Apps that Support Tracking Food Intake Meal Snap Affiliated with DailyBurn Appears to use Mechanical Turk to guess Thin-Cam Affiliated with ThinSite Premium product sends 3X/week emails $ from Supplements, etc
  31. 31. Experimental Design as a ChallengeResearch exposes tendency to delay in face of uncertaintyMany QSelf attendees collect, but never take next step to xptIt seems reasonable that people want a cookbook, not justcomponentsGenomera hosts a platform that has enabled Eri Gentry torecruit people who can directly enroll in pre-designed A-B-Aexperiments (Orange You Sleepy is running now)
  32. 32. Motivation and Self-ManagementLoop of sending instruction to future self, & then using QSelftech to monitor compliance.! Still sounds like I’m being bossed around (by me)Parallel with Flores’ ActionWorks Business Process System?! Each communication was an explicit commitment! While it may work, it’s reported to be greatly resistedDesign mechanisms that support aleatoric degrees of freedom