Get Quick Snapshots of Your Life with Interactive Visuals
Make your data and digital information easy to scan—and put to use—with convenient visuals
How do you prefer to digest lots of information: Pages of text and numbers, or a colorful, interactive visual?
If you chose the visual, you’re not alone. Easy-to-scan visuals can be helpful life hacks that let you spend less time sifting through numbers and more time on the important things. Not to mention, visualized data can make it easier to spot trends, patterns, and outliers you might otherwise miss.
These shortcuts give you more than just a summary of your stuff—they’re interactive features that can help you understand your bills, manage your time, keep an eye on your money, and even improve health habits.
Know How You’re Spending Time on Your Device
Visual data can lead to surprising discoveries—especially when it comes to how we spend the minutes in a day. Smartphone manufacturers have added features that give us visual insight into just how we’re using our devices, and how much we’re using them.
Apple® Screen Time and Google’s Digital Wellbeing both log your activity, then compile that data into colorful charts and interactive dashboards that give you a glimpse into how you’re spending time on your device.
Drill down into the data to see where minutes are spent on a by-app basis, or get overviews of which categories you use most. From there, you can set up proactive “time checks” or app limits to enforce a little less screen time.
Stay Accountable with Health & Fitness Overviews
Wearables and fitness trackers can log all of your activity, right down to the quality of your sleep—but all of that data is useless if it’s not served up in a meaningful way. That’s why devices like Fitbit, and the Apple iWatch and Health app, visualize how you sleep, stand, exercise, eat, and more. They can even pull data from multiple sources to give you a better overall picture. So, for example, visually stacking this up against your water and calorie intake can help explain why the scale isn’t changing—and identify areas for improvement.
Counting calories alone won’t tell you everything you need to know about your health, either. A meal tracking app like MyFitnessPal visualizes the nutritional content of the foods you log, so you can better gauge the protein, carbs, fats and more that you’re getting.
Get a Clear View of Your Credit Card Spending
Your finances are always going to be a numbers-driven part of life, but they don’t have to be tedious and time-consuming. Many apps and features strive to take the time and effort out of keeping an eye on your money and credit cards with helpful visuals.
What about those recurring charges that can be easy to forget about, or tedious to track down? Rather than having to list all of these merchants, subscriptions, and sites yourself, Capital One created an easy-to-scan page that gives you full transparency into all of your card’s recurring charges. This feature gives you one less thing to worry about by keeping an eye on your money for you. And, if your card number ever changes, it’s easy to see everywhere you need to update your number online.
Get a Snapshot to Help You Plan Your Day
Personal assistant, calendar, and to-do apps can help you project manage your day, but visualizing how all of those appointments, reminders, and tasks take up time is even more powerful. Day planner apps can really dive into where your minutes go, from commutes and calls to your a.m. routine and time at the gym, so you can see just how wisely you’re using your time.
Google Assistant launched a new visual overview feature that gathers calendar events, weather, and location data from your apps to give you a snapshot of your day. Visualizing where your time commitments are—whether it’s your commute into work or a scheduled phone call—can help you plan your day and reduce surprises.
Monitor of Your Home Energy Use
You probably get detailed energy use reports from your power and utility companies, but smart thermostats like Nest, ecobee, and Insteon take that a step further by showing you exactly how climate control is affecting your energy use—down to the degree. These aren’t just usage stats; these reports pull comparative data from previous months’ use and log outside air temperatures in real-time to give you a more complete picture. That kind of visibility can be powerful in taking steps to change habits—and improve energy use.
The ability to spot drastic changes month-to-month or outliers is another helpful feature in maintaining your system. For example, if a monthly report shows a drastic increase in running hours, it might indicate an equipment malfunction. Want to improve your use based on what you’ve learned? Nest gives you the option to turn on energy-saving settings that activate when you’re away from home.
Visualizing data isn’t new, but it’s not just for businesses any more. All of these features are proof that having snapshots of your information is more than convenient—it’s an empowering way to run your day-to-day life smarter, faster, and easier.