Nicholas Felton can tell you what he was doing and where he was for almost every day of the past 7 years. He has a more comprehensive understanding of his life than most people, and as the key designer behind Facebook’s Timeline, he has an understandable interest in tracking social metrics. Every year since 2005, Felton publishes an annual report of his life, the ‘Feltron Report, quantifying his personal data into colorful and fascinating infographics, and has just released how 2012 went down.
While Felton used to manually log the minutiae of his life using iCal and taking extensive notes, for his latest report, Felton uses a custom app, Reporter (that he coded with friend Drew Breunig) to track his life, from every restaurant frequented (103 to be exact) to every iPhone photo taken (2,801). Every 90 minutes throughout the day, the app prompts Felton to answer a series of questions – how he is feeling? who he is with? what he is doing? etc – while also logging his location.
In considering how this year’s report differs from previous ones, Felton told PSFK:
I think that the biggest difference in this report was my reliance on the app. I knew that it would capture details of my life that I couldn’t track previously, but I didn’t know if there would be enough resolution to create an accurate chronicle of the year. Fortunately, this approach worked really well. I feel that it captures the patterns and idiosyncrasies of 2012 with only a few sacrifices.
Felton’s life-tracking habit began as a one-off experiment, but has become a way for him to push himself as a designer and thinker, innovating new ways to visualize and quantify his life. In fact, it was Felton’s annual report that inspired the Timeline layout, which enables people to see everyone’s significant life events in a more streamlined manner. But while Timeline is a carefully curated selection of life moments, Felton’s annual report is the unbiased truth of his everyday life, no matter how boring.
With improvements in technology, we are all becoming more and more obsessed with personal data tracking: how many calories we take in, how many steps we walk, how well we sleep, and when Reporter eventually arrives in the app store, we may soon all have annual reports. But before you get started on your own, check out the Feltron Report 2012, available for $28 here.
See some of his infographics below, and for zoomed in pics check Felton’s site.
Header Image: Nick Bilton/New York Times