Daniel Epstein

Position Title
Assistant Professor, Informatics
portrait of daniel epstein. he is wearing a lavender collared shirt.

Professor Daniel Epstein’s area of research — personal informatics — examines how people use devices and apps to track things about themselves, from their health and fitness to their finances and productivity. In analyzing how and why people track, he has found that user needs often vary and can differ from the technology’s intended use. For example, a food-tracking app aimed at weight loss could be used by a dieter or someone trying to identify migraine triggers. “I prototype new interfaces and designs to suggest how developers can better support different individuals’ tracking needs.”

Professor Epstein’s overall goal is to be an advocate for the people using these apps. “There’s friction in aligning what users want and what companies want.” For example, users sometimes want a break from fitness tracking, while companies push for continued use. Epstein has explored how apps can let users revisit data after they stop tracking or change visual representations to highlight different aspects of the data. “A part of being a user advocate is understanding when it’s okay to stop tracking or switch to tracking something different.”


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