Sean Landry Interaction Designer

CSS zealot and user experience maniac

In 2011 I took 4,060,208 steps.

This time last year, I decided, instead of making a big New Years resolution like “exercise more” I’d break it into small actions. That small action I chose was to take 10,000 steps every day or 3.65 million steps before the ball dropped ringing in 2012.

To keep track of all those steps I’d need a pedometer, or to be more precise, a fitness device. Over the last year I’ve worn or carried a bunch of different devices. I made my FitBit the device of record for the year. Each morning I would clip on my FitBit and each night I’d set it on the night stand. On the few days it wasn’t charged or I forgot it, I would use another pedometer as a backup (I wear an average of 3 everyday).

Fitness Devices

Things I've worn/carried to count my steps in 2011

To get my average of 10K steps per day, I needed to change a few behaviors. First, I started taking the train into Boston. Then, I stated walking to the station. This accounts for the majority of my steps. I also play basketball once a week which helps rack up the steps. I kept track of my daily totals in a Google Spreadsheet so I was able to see how well (or not) I was doing.

Here are some stats from 2011:

Average steps per day: 11,123
Miles: 1,845

After taking more than 4M steps, I’ve become more conscious of my mobility and know not everyone is so fortunate. Don’t ever take your legs for granted. They are wonderful things that can take you to some amazing places. Happy New Year!

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  • 1 Million Steps

    Sean Landry walking

    My New Years Resolution is to take 3.65 Million steps this year (10K per day). I just surpassed the 1 Million step mark and am less than 5000 steps behind on my goal. As the weather gets better, I’m hoping to get ahead of my goal so I have some wiggle room going into the winter months at the end of the year.

    For anyone interested, I have posted my tracking spreadsheet. I need to find creative ways to get more walking in each day to stay on track. I find it motivating to have a daily goals. The overall goal is year end so I don’t feel guilty if I miss the 10K mark for the day, I just need to walk more the next few to catch up.

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  • Designing email without images

    At MeYou Health we’ve send out a lot of email as part of our Daily Challenge. One of the things we struggle with is design constancy from browser to browser and with images turned on and off. While our emails are far from perfect, we’re learning and always trying to improve the experience. Here are a few tips we’ve discovered:

    • Try to design without images first and only add images to enhance the design
    • Never rely on images to convey the main message of your email.
    • Use background colors to effectively design your email
    • Use old school <table> HTML to code your email. No body likes this but it’s your best shot at getting something that is recognizable.
    • Use table borders to create horizontal and vertical lines.
    • Be conscious of how you use your “alt” tag

    Here is an example of a Hewlett-Packard email rendered in Gmail with images turned off:

    Hewlett-Packard email newsletter with images turned off

    Hewlett-Packard email newsletter with images turned off

    Hewlett-Packard  email with images turned on:

    HP email with images turned on

    HP email with images turned on:

    3,650,000 Steps

    That’s my 2011 goal. The math is simple, 10K steps every day and I should complete the goal. According to several websites and pedometer companies like FitBit 10,000 steps is the magic number to maintain a moderate to active amount of daily activity.

    To help track my steps I use a FitBit ($99).

    Walking to work in Boston

    My Walk to Work

    It’s harder than I thought it would be and January’s weather didn’t help. I’m currently a little over 30K steps off pace. I’ll need to make up some ground when the weather gets nice. I average about 40 minutes of walking during my commute to and from the train.

    Total Steps to date (updated via Google Docs)

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  • Why I love my job

    A little over a year ago I started a new job at a new company called MeYou Health. I interviewed with all four of it’s employees and happily accepted a job as a user experience designer at a company without any products or services. Most of the early months were filled with hiring passionate, bright and thoughtful people.

    As a designer, there is nothing more daunting or exciting than a blank canvas. Unsaddled with previous decisions and pressed with a complex task of building a consumer brand around health and well-being. Everyday brings new ideas, new hypothesis  and new designs to bridge the gap between accessible and effective well-being products.

    Over the last year we’ve built a portfolio of products:

    Daily Challenge – Everyday we email members a small action related to well-being. They have 24 hours to complete the task and mark it as done. We’ve added social and gaming mechanics to help efficacy and user engagement.

    Monumental – An iPhone application that uses the internal accelerometer to detect stair climbing and allow users to virtually climb buildings and monuments around the world.

    Well-Being Wire
    - Easily digestible health and well-being articles written designed to be quick and powerful reads.

    - An Adobe Air application that you install to your computer’s desktop. It slowly fills with water reminding you to drink water before it overflows! If you are away from your desk it will send you a text message.

    Change Reaction
    - A Facebook application asks users to do one small action for their well-being and they ask their friends to join them causing a change-reaction.

    Twitter Well-Being Tracker
    (coming soon) – Allows you to take a survey and get your well-being score. Connect through Twitter and you can get the aggregate score of your followers who have also taken the survey.

    Well-Being Bot
    (coming soon) – Each day we listen to over 2 million conversations taking place on Twitter. Each conversation is categorized into the six domains of well-being (Life Evaluation, Emotional Health, Physical Health, Healthy Behaviors, Work Environment, and Basic Access) and scored as positive or negative on a scale of 1-100. Each day the bot “tweets” the new score.

    Well-Being Tweets
    (coming soon) – An application that curates twitter conversations about well-being and puts them in one convenient place.

    In 2011 expect this list to be much longer…

    Each day brings new challenges, new opportunities to be creative and a great environment to develop ideas. Everyone at MeYou Health is a contributor, a supporter and a friend willing to embrace or challenge ideas head as we all discover the best ways to bring our products to our customers.

    The last year has provide me the opportunity to exercise my creativity stretch my curiosity and move with the speed of the market. I can’t wait to see what 2011 will bring!

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  • Yesterday morning while approaching the train stop, I noticed a soldier in full battle fatigues, boots laced and carrying a full pack. Undoubtedly headed off to Iraq or Afghanistan.  On the heels of hearing that July was the deadliest month of the Afghan war, I was compelled to walk up and say thank you.

    As I shook his hand I was struck by a few things. First was how young he looked. He looked like he could be right out of high school (probably was). Still had the roundness in his features that showed his youth. Second was how strong his grip was and the conviction of his hand shake. This kid, not more than 18 or 19 years old had nothing but pride and conviction not a fear in the world. Third was the fact that this soldier was about to head off to a war zone, put his life in harms way for me, my family and my country.

    Now, I don’t care where your politics are and frankly don’t care. The fact that this guy is willing to jump on a plane to some god forsaken place at the drop of a hat so we can all enjoy our lives deserves our gratitude.

    So as I looked him in the eye and said.
    “Thank you for your service to our country.”
    His response was:
    “Thank you for saying so.”
    Classy and humble response. Thank me.?

    With that he boarded the train. The next few moments I sat thought about my wife and kids and how fortunate we are that God makes men like him.

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  • Community Clash

    Yesterday MeYou Health launched a new health game called Community Clash. Our mission: Take Community Health Data (recently made publicly available) and turn it it into a fun engaging experience. After 6 weeks of code, coffee and beer this is what we came up with:

    After you play, you can share a replay of the game with your friends. Here are a few of my favorites: (these are all real cities)

    Troy vs. Athens
    Dogue vs. Cat Spring
    Partridge vs. Brady
    Angels Camp vs. Devils Lake
    Tornado vs. Hurricane
    Vader vs. Luke
    Hercules vs. Medusa
    Dorothy vs. Tornado
    Napoleon vs. Waterloo
    Mars vs. Venus

    Play your own cards!

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  • Difference between art and design

    Yesterday at MeYou Health we had an interesting interview with a potential new designer. The conversation included what she thought the difference between art and design were.

    It got me thinking about how I perceive them. Here are my thoughts:

    Art is an expression of emotion. It’s communication mechanism is feeling. A great artist makes you feel something deep inside or makes you think of the world differently by providing an alternate perspective.

    Design is creative problem solving
    . Taking a stated problem and forming a solution(s). The more elegant the solution, the better the design.

    What are your definitions?

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  • Happy 20th Birthday Photoshop

    Photoshop recently turned 20. One more year and it’s old enough to legally drink. Here’s a time line of it through the ages.

    20 Years of Photoshop

    I started using Photoshop back in the summer of 1992 with version 2.0. A work day doesn’t go by with out me firing up the application. I use if for just about anything you can imagine. I’m glad Adobe has stuck with the quality and usefulness of this flagship application.

    Happy Birthday Photoshop and here’s to many more!

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  • What’s going on at MeYou Health?

    Meyou Health logo

    As many of you know, I left Iron Mountain in November to join a new start-up in South Boston called MeYou Health. Since then, we’ve built a really solid core team and are jamming everyday on creating fun user experiences for the Web and mobile devices designed to help people improve their well-being.

    Spoiler Alert: Here are a few products in the works that will be available soon.

    Daily Challenge
    Small daily activities that wil lead to big healthy outcomes.

    Stair Climbr
    An iPhone application that alows you to virtually climb the world’s greatest heights.

    Health Tennis
    A Facebook game that connects you with your friends through small daily actions designed to improve your well-being.

    Twitter Tracker
    Real time tracking and analysis of the collective well-being of the Twitter community.

    Monday is a big day. We’re opening the private beta registration. We’ll allow friends, family and other interested geeks a sneak peak at our Daily Challenge application. We’re even working on a contest to reward one lucky private beta user for helping us out (stay tuned for that)

    In the meantime if you want to be know with what we’re doing you can follow us on Twitter or fan our Facebook page

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  • Filed under: Software Design, web development