A Digital Guide for Self-Tracking Goes Online

Building an online self-tracking guide to advance the health and research potential of observations of daily living

    • August 22, 2012

Dates of Project: January 2011 through January 2012

Field of Work: Creating an online resource guide for self-tracking tools.

Problem Synopsis: A small but increasing number of people across the United States are developing and using self-tracking tools—chiefly spreadsheets and smartphone apps that allow individuals to measure and track their own health, wellness, fitness, habits, emotions and symptoms. But there had been no guide to these tools.

Synopsis of the Work: The project team created an online resource guide for self-tracking tools and services.

Key Results: Features of the Quantified Self: Guide to Self-Tracking include a list of some 500 tools, reviews of the tools, profiles of members, and a discussion forum. However, the project director thinks the guide was more a catalog of tools than a useful manual for people wanting to choose and use these tools. She offered a number of lessons from the project:

  • Provide users of self-tracking tools with clear instructions on how to evaluate their own needs, choose tools appropriate to those needs, and make sense of their findings
  • Create a strong editorial voice and identity to enhance credibility
  • Provide clear measures and objective standards for users who are assessing the tools

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