Tinker.it is a platform where self-trackers can use various personal tracking devices to create, iterate, and share their"quantity- self" experiments

Understand this unique group of people.

While the self-tracking devices now are remarkably similar, the goals of the people using them are not. We created an online service for a segment of self-trackers, “Experimenters” who hack devices and data to satisfy their unique needs. Within this group of people, their interests of tracking are diverse and their knowledge of tracking and using the data is various. But they are having strong curiosity to mine personal data; being optimistic about future technology to make their data meaningful; and they open to share and eager to learn. Some of them would using half year to conduct a personal tracking experiment; driving 1.5 hours from Chicago suburbs to attend every QS Meetup; Spending time prepares presentation without monetary incentives. What's missing for these enthusiastic lead users? Tinker-it is planned so fit in this gap. Tinker-it makes an experimenter be an experimenter.

 

The challenge of being an experimenter is their lack of resource to gain help.

Those participants, we have interviewed, have different interests and skill level. The common attributes are their passionate about data and technology, being curious and motive to take action. We believe they represent groups of user tinker overlap with the trend of quantitive-self movement.

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Tinker.it platform gathering and nurturing the QS tinkers.

As early stage of a group, gathering and helping them grow and providing an opportunity to unleash their potential are the priority goal that Tinker. It needs to achieve.

Tinker. It is an incubating platform where self-trackers can create, iterate, and share those experiments. Unlike most self-tracking services, Tinker.it sustains a community of experimenters who build their own unique designs, providing online tools to have easy building experience and ability to iterate, like we are all able to use IFTTT to test our weird idea without coding skills required. This allowing the builder focusing on the most interesting thing - designing and conducting data tracking experiments. Tinker.it also facilitates sharing of their designs within the community in an universal format, which providing beginner level experimenters with opportunity to learn by doing.

Some thoughts after this project:

Wearable devices constrain vs Potential value of self-data.

For wearable device market, it has reached a limit of growing market share by increasing capacity of tracking data types. The competition target average consumer is shifting to hard ware differentiation and service innovation. But there doesn't define a significant value of this product category. A big opportunity would be taking one step further, creating actionable influence for users with this tracking process, breaking the boundary of different tracking devices, but helping users really benefit from using those device and self data. 

What experimenters develop and build could potentially inform the future direction of the self-tracking device and service industry. And thus there are possibilities to benefit more groups beyond this small group, like consumer products and service, healthcare, scientific research, and so on. 

Testing and iterating of the idea 

Building experiment is the first feature we have decided. But after testing, with more experiments, we found learning and communicating are more pervasive needs of entry level experimenters. Finally, we settle with 3 key features, build, branch and share. The builder will be the seeds in the community will be the first expert users to attract.