Following on from my previous (and first ever) blog post I thought I’d continue the theme of new starts for the New Year. As I mentioned I’m no good at New Years resolutions, I never know what to give up or change. This year I’ve decided to do something a little different.
I love a good stat and over the years have found them influencing my working more and more. When I started out as a designer statistics didn’t really play a massive part in my creative process, but after a short time I realised the importance of knowing all sorts of data from browser usage stats, to the uptake of broadband in the UK, through to the percentage of people who are colour blind.
As I’ve gradually moved into UX design over the past 3 years research has played an even bigger part. However, the sort of data I’m talking about can be very impersonal.
On hearing Paul Boag’s interview with Nicholas Felton, of feltron.com I found myself inspired. If you’re unaware Felton, or Feltron, has been recording multiple aspects of his life for the past few years and putting together visually beautiful ‘annual reports‘ which graphically represent the data he generates.
Run fat boy, run
Without really thinking about it I’ve done similar things, all be it on a much smaller scale, in the past.
After running the London marathon in 2006 I started training towards the 2007 New York marathon. I’d been pleased with my London result but wanted to improve on it, so being the geek I am I put together a small but perfectly formed micro-site that showed my training schedule. I updated it each day for 6 months, and was able to see how I was progressing overall.
A couple of months in I picked up a niggling injury that just wouldn’t go away. Unfortunately, when I started recording my daily mileage, I hadn’t thought about the negative affect a growing mileage deficit would have on me psychologically. It probably didn’t help that every time I missed a run the chart I’d built showed a picture of a greasy burger!
Having heard about the ‘Feltron Annuals’ it got me thinking back to the New York marathon and how much of my life is already recorded. My Flickr account shows a visual record of my life over the last few years, Twitter exists as a constant running commentary, I use Pennies on my iPhone to record expenditure and even Google Reader highlights what time and day of the week I spend reading blog entries the most, so why not push it one step further.
So for 2009 I’ve decided to pull all these elements together and then some. I’m under no illusions that I won’t take it any where near as far as Feltron but thanks to his new site Daytum I can at least make a start!
It took me a while to get my head around how Daytum worked but once it clicked I fell in love with its simplicity. So thanks to its creators, Nicholas Felton and Ryan Case, I’ll be recording small aspects of my life as of 1 January 2009. I’m starting off small but hopefully it’ll build over time so keep an eye on this blog to see how I’m getting on.