Daytum = Win

March 10th, 2009
Posted by Evan Rowe in Cool Stuff

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about a new service from designer Nicholas Felton called Daytum. It has been created so that the incredibly obsessive compulsive and/or anal retentive among us can pick out activities and habits to track very meticulously over the course of our day. I received my invite to the Beta over the weekend and I have to say that it has been a completely addicting experience, one from which I fear I may never be able to separate myself.

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Daytum sports a clean and smartly designed interface, both in terms of displaying the data you have tracked and entering new data. It is a beautiful merger of typography, grid systems and information design. Aside from the predetermined fonts and data display templates, your Daytum profile is 100% customizable. You choose what you want to track, you choose the items, units or increments, you choose how to display them, and you choose what shows up where on the page. You even get to choose what color your stuff shows up in, though you are limited to one. It ends up being the right balance of preset features with customizability.

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What’s also neat is that the front page shows off the recent updates of all the other sites users, which is both fun to poke around on, and useful for determining what sorts of things about yourself you might want to track. It can sometimes be eerie how many similar categories there are to yours though; a typical product of the collective consciousness.

Where Daytum currently falls short is in three major areas. The first is limitations. In the beta, all users are limited to 6 data sets and 6 panels for their page. This might sound like a lot to begin with, but after only a few hours of use you begin to realize just how many more you could be enjoying and making use of. When the site leaves beta, there will be free accounts with the 6 and 6 limit, and paid accounts which, for a nominal fee, would up that limit to 16 and 16, though it’s uncertain for now whether that will increase based on user feedback. The general feeling is that if there is a payment involved, a limit should not exist. While I agree, I suspect that in the short term, development and hosting costs need to be covered, and once the paid user base expands, so will the limits of the data tracking. The paid accounts will also provide enhanced privacy settings, which could be a plus if you decide to track things of questionable nature.

The second shortcoming lies in the lack of any sort of social networking. It would be very handy to be able to “add friends” or “follow” other people and get their data streams delivered to your dashboard. Eliminating the need for having to manually enter your friends’ Daytum URLs and consolidating your collective efforts into a hub of sorts would make life even better.

The third is the current lack of a mobile site or any kind of iPhone/iPod app. Right now if I want to add entries to my Daytum profile while not in front of a computer, I have to use the web interface on my iPhone’s browser, which works well enough, but it’s not as snappy and fluid, nor is it as awesome as it could potentially be. Thankfully, such an app is planned for release at some point; it is not certain yet just how soon (or not soon) that may be.

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Overall, Daytum is a fantastically fun (and potentially enlightening) service, one which I will gladly be paying for when the “Plus” version launches later this month. If you haven’t signed up for your beta account yet, please do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s easy to use, it’s beautiful to look at, and it’s not as though you have anything more productive you could be doing with your time, right?

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