Reporter. Nicholas Felton's latest project. / by Natashia Tjandra


Designer Nicholas Felton has been reporting various metrics of his personal life since 2005 in the annual Feltron Report. In 2012 alone, he spent 79 hours collecting data. The avid self quantifier launched an iOS app, Reporter, with friends Drew Bruenig and Friends of the Web.

At random times of the day, Reporter asks you to fill in a mini survey, questions such as “What are you doing?, Who are you with?, How many cups of coffee did you drink today?, How did you sleep?”. You can also customize the questions. This allows for monitoring broad trends in your lifestyle. Reporter is an activity-tracking app that aggregates your responses into visualizations and charts of the user’s life. 

The app is really easy to use, intuitive and only 2 effortless gestures are needed: tap and swipe. Some of the questions are can be answered with a yes or a no, while others allow you to type in. Each time you report, the app also pulls in various pieces of information like the current weather, current location (FourSquare API), how many steps you’ve taken today (iPhone 5s’ M7 motion coprocessor), and how noisy it is around you (iPhone’s mic).

I am a big fan of Felton's, and I got the app at $3.99. Reporter requires plenty of manual tracking – the creator argues that it’s the best way to answer the most interesting questions. Part of me wishes for Fuely, the little Nike Fuel cheerleader who gives you a little dance when you completed your goal, and the other wishes for automatic data inputs. The no non-sense questions left much to be desired after a while, unless like Felton, you are a data nut. And yet, there’s something appealing about the simple, purist graphics with 5 customizable color schemes. 

Of course, you can export the data visualizations and print the 'posters' out for you to admire.