Ian Li

UI Designer


I’m a UI designer at Google. Before Google, I was a Ph.D. student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. My advisors were Anind Dey and Jodi Forlizzi. I worked on designed and developed personal informatics tools that help people better understand their own behavior. My dissertation explored how contextual information can improve self-knowledge in personal informatics systems.


ianli [at] ianli [dot] com

Android UX
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043

Google Scholar


Using context to reveal factors that affect physical activity 2012
Ian Li, Anind K. Dey, Jodi Forlizzi
ACM Transactions on Computer Human Interaction, 19, 1,

Personal Informatics and Context: Using Context to Reveal Factors that Affect Behavior 2011
Ian Li
Carnegie Mellon University

Understanding My Data, Myself: Supporting Self-Reflection with Ubicomp Technologies 2011
Ian Li, Anind Dey, Jodi Forlizzi
Proceedings of UbiComp 2011

A stage-based model of personal informatics systems 2010
Ian Li, Anind Dey, Jodi Forlizzi
Proceedings of CHI 2010

Here's What I Did: Sharing and Reusing Web Activity with ActionShot 2010
Ian Li, Jeffrey Nichols, Tessa Lau, Clemens Drews, Allen Cypher
Proceedings of CHI 2010

Grafitter: leveraging social media for self reflection 2009
Ian Li, Anind Dey, Jodi Forlizzi
Crossroads, 16, 2, 12-13

Using Visualizations to Increase Compliance in Experience Sampling 2008
Gary Hsieh, Ian Li, Anind Dey, Jodi Forlizzi, Scott Hudson
Proceedings of UbiComp 2008


Personal Informatics & Context: Using Context to Reveal Factors that Affect Behavior

My Ph.D. thesis explores the use of contextual information in personal informatics systems to help users understand the factors that affect their behavior. Most personal informatics systems only show one type of behavioral information, which makes it difficult to discover the factors that affect one’s behavior. Supporting exploration of multiple types of contextual and behavioral information in a single interface may help.

Model of Personal Informatics Systems

This is a model of personal informatics systems that we hope would be valuable for research and development. It provides a common framework for describing, comparing, and evaluating the growing number of this class of systems. This model is composed of five stages (preparation, collection, integration, reflection, and action). These stages have four properties: barriers cascade to later stages; they are iterative; they are user-driven and/or system-driven; and they are uni-faceted or multi-faceted.


IMPACT, Improving and Motivating Physical Activity using ContexT, is a system that monitors and informs users about their physical activity and the context in which the activities happen. The system shows real-time information on a phone interface and historical information on a desktop and online interface. By contextualizing physical activity, the system increases users’ awareness of their physical activity.

ActionShot / CoScripter Reusable History

CoScripter Reusable History records everything you do on the web and captures a log of your web browsing activity. You can review your CoScripter history to find actions that you do often, convert sequences of actions into reusable scripts, and share them with your friends.


ES+Feedback extends the experience sampling method by providing feedback/visualizations of the users’ collected responses. During a one month study of the method with 25 participants, we found that participants who saw visualizations maintained the same level of participation, while those who didn’t see visualizations decreased.

My Agent as Myself

My Agent as Myself studies what happens when users interact with embodied conversational agents that look like them. Would users follow the agents’ advice? Users in the study created faces for agents, one that resembled them and one that is suitable for providing feedback. We found when someone else created the faces, users listened more to faces that resembled them. However, when users created the faces, they listened less to their own face.


Grafitter facilitates collection of personal information by leveraging people’s everyday use of Twitter. Users can explore their Twitter updates for patterns and trends using Grafitter visualizations.


MoodJam is a website that allows users to record their moods and share them with friends and family. Users record their moods with words and color combinations, which are visualized as color strips. The site serves as a mood diary for users to reflect on trends of their moods and on colors they associate with specific moods. The site also serves as an awareness tool for users to keep in touch with friends and family.

Office Activity Awareness

Keeping track of one’s activities detracts from actual work, but awareness of activities can help in managing productivity. I created a system that tracks activities around the work table and correlated them with self-reported measurements of productivity.


Integrating Visualizations with Innertube November 2011
Quantified Self 2011 Amsterdam

3 Design Considerations for Personal Informatics Tools November 2011
Quantified Self 2011 Amsterdam

Challenges of Self-Tracking (or Why I Spent 7 Years Doing Research June 2011
Quantified Self 2011, Mountain View, CA

Holistic & Human-Centered: Towards Making Better Self-Tracking Tools June 2010
Institute for the Future Health Horizons 2010, Sausalito, CA

Personal Informatics and HCI June 2010
Intel, Santa Clara, CA