An article in MedCityNews highlights an interesting point regarding wearable health sensors and the data they generate: how do users make sense of all the data they collect? This quote, from Catherine Calarco of Heartmath is telling: “People are still trying to figure out the design and presentation of the data. I’d like to see more user customization.”
That word – customization – is key. This is where most software fails. You get data presented the way the designers think you want to see it. That presentation might be backed up by a lot of user research. But it might not work for you or me. People have different reasons for accessing the data and they have different goals.
This drawback hit home when I recently logged onto a cloud application that tracks some business data for me. The screen had changed completely. Information I had found easily before (and the only bit of data I really cared about) I now had to hunt for. What used to take me one click to reach now took four. I would be much happier if there was a way that I could tweak how the data in this application is presented so I could organize it myself, with the data I find critical readily available.
I imagine this would be an especially popular and highly successful feature for personal informatics applications and health data trackers. Personalized medicine is the future. Personalizing medical data will be a big part of that future.