on being bored of dashboards

Something that I’ve been thinking about for a bit this year is making things that serve you data with a behaviour. Data that you can love.

The idea sort of emerged because I realised how many more dashboards we’re going to have in life, and how sick I am with dashboards already. I’m not talking about Daytum or Mycrocosm or any of those quantified self services that enable you to measure the fun stuff – although using the same set of interpretive tools as conventional dashboards makes me alternately feel very excited and very dismayed.

For most people, the numbers and charts on a dashboard are useful. Know more, understand more, behave accordingly.

But dashboards experiences freak me out, big time. There’s too much information stored in too many things that I need to interpret (I am rubbish at maths, so bars and charts don’t really help me). It all adds up to an experience that at best I don’t love, and at worst, reinforces my instinct to avoid it like hell.

Being alive in 2012, I like doing many things that call for a dashboard. I want to know things about myself and my behaviour, so I can understand and correct it if I need to. I want a way of getting a quick read, plus the ability to access more granular info, but without the intimidating feel of another logged-in-state dashboard. Whether it’s for banking information, physical activity, energy use, how much I’m spending on Amazon or anything else. An interface that has feelings. One that gives you lots of fun, juicy feedback on things that feel sort of serious and important.

And that’s why I would love to have something or other like a Tenori-On on my phone, getting more discordant or harmonic depending on whether I’m doing good or not.

Data with a behaviour. Data that I can love.

That’s all.

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