Our app of the week comes from ex-Facebook designer, Nicholas Felton. It’s called Reporter and as the name suggests, it’s a journaling app for reporting on things you do on a daily basis. In 2012, Felton spent almost 100 hours documenting his life, then on New Years Day 2013 he made a book of his findings. Fair play to the guy, I can remember what I did New Years Day 2013 (it mostly involved pizza and cleaning my house) if he had the energy to make a book – well done! From this book he learnt quite a few things, for example, he was productive 49.3 percent of the time, and was most productive on Wednesdays, when he was 57.8 percent productive. He spent 32 percent of 2012 sleeping. In 2013, he built a custom mobile app to make documenting his life easier and now he’s decided to make it available to the masses.
Reporter will send you a Push notification with a new survey to fill out at random points during the day. These surveys will be a combination of Yes/No, multiple choice and text box answers. Questions range from things like ‘Where are you?’ and ‘Who are you with?’ to ‘Are you happy?’. There’s also an awake/sleep switch to time how much rest you’re getting on a daily basis, when you select an option you’ll be prompted to answer more questions, ‘how did you sleep?’ or ‘how was your day?’. Reporter will track how many steps you take in a day too, letting you see how much exercise you’re getting on a daily basis.
Once you’ve input all of this data over a period of time, Reporter will display small, mobile infographics to track how you’re doing. The majority of the information isn’t available until you export it though, where the data will be made available in a .csv or JSON file, letting you map out the results as you see fit. This is probably one of the strongest and weakest features of the application. Not everyone will know exactly how to map out their results from a .csv or JSON file and considering the app is charged at £2.49, I would expect access to some kind of online tool that would make this simple to do.
One thing Felton learnt from his time designing Facebook’s Timeline was that people weren’t too keen on documenting their entire life publically. It’ll be interesting to see how this takes off and if people are willing to document their whole lives for private review. People do keep journals and journalling is quite a therapeutic process but I think people may be less inclined and find it less therapeutic when they will essentially be turning their lives into a set of statistics.