Expereal: iPhone app to rate/analyze your life via data visualization

Expereal is a free iPhone app developed to help people better understand themselves, to feel even more connected to the world, and to, hopefully, make more informed decisions about their lives. The marketplace has social media platforms, physical measurement products and mood apps and sites, but nothing that simply helps answer the question: "How's my life going now compared to other time periods (and people and places)… and WHY?" A useful personal life quality tool.

The app was inspired by Daniel Kahneman's book Thinking, Fast and Slow, specifically his discussion of the Experiencing and Remembering Selves (also, subject of his TED talk). Kahneman describes that as we recall past events – whether past relationships, jobs or vacations -- we typically remember their totality in how they ended, NOT how we actually experienced them, regardless of their duration. Interestingly, this cognitive bias also impacts how we think about our lives in the present. For example, if someone asks how our lives are going right after a great date or incredible meal, our response tends to be positive. It's difficult to counterbalance this "peak end bias" to view our lives more holistically. Expereal aims to help us in this endeavor, simply and beautifully, by essentially allowing us to remember our “experiencing selves”.

To this end, Expereal reminds us to “actively” rate our lives on a 1-10 scale at particular moments across time via an interactive color wheel, though people can enter ratings as often as they like. It also offers the option to describe a rating with a location, description and people. On the Profile screen, the averaged ratings are displayed as data visualizations, along with anonymous aggregated average ratings of Facebook friends and all app users. Moreover, on the Visualize screen, people can review their personal past monthly and daily average ratings and can dig deeper by tapping on specific days to recall that day’s individual ratings and associated details.

Expereal hopes to bring the emotional, mental and psychological quantified self movement to a global audience - to help people live better, more fulfilling lives. Future paid iterations will include improved data visualizations and correlations (e.g., “Your ratings at home tend to be higher when you ‘watch football’ and ‘play with kids’.”), as well as a Global Index, whereby people could compare, for instance, how the US rated their lives this week with other countries (or with cities, regions and continents).

Also planned are Android and web versions, as well as the ability to share across additional social networks, such as Facebook, Path and Twitter, and to login with an Expereal-specific username and password.


  1. Interesting concept. Though I’m usually loathe to turn over my own info to apps, this has me interested enough to give it a whirl. 

    I like that their Twitter account shares the current global average “score.” Reminds me of We Feel Fine, in a way:


  2. Side note: it’s worth mentioning the author of this post is also the author of the app. This shows up in the author’s bio when you click his name… but it wasn’t immediately clear to me from the post.

    Not a huge deal, but I’m used to seeing disclaimers on BB whenever a relationship exists between an author and a topic.

    1. You mean like it says at the bottom of the post in italics:

      “Jonathan Cohen is the creator of Expereal, a mobile app that allows you to rate and analyze your life through data visualization and analytics, and anonymously compare your ratings with friends and other users.”

      1. It’s possible it was there all along, and I missed it at the bottom (but I swear I looked).

        You know what I mean, though, right? Usually if a BB staffer plugs their own thing, everyone’s cool with it and it’s addressed directly in the body of the article in some way. Perhaps since this was written in the third person, it didn’t lend itself to that as easily as a first person piece.

        As I said, it didn’t stop me from downloading and checking it out. The texture and style of the visualizations pulled me in. I’ve recorded one instance so far, and it’ll be interesting to see whether this is something I maintain.

      2. that info does not show up on the main page of boingboing. You only see it and the additional pics if you look at the individual article.

  3. I installed it, then uninstalled it when I saw that the first page requires me to log into my facebook account.  Sheesh.

    1.  I don’t even have a FB account. Why would they tie their whole business model to someone else’s product?

  4. It’s based on the premise that one’s interpretation of hir quality of life is skewed based on hir perspective and there is some “true” quality of life that ze doesn’t know about. What difference does having this app make if we still view our quality of life based on this “peak end bias?” “Well, I *feel* like my quality of life is pretty terrible right now, but at least Expereal says I’m enjoying it!”

      1.  The article tells us that what we feel at times in our lives and how we feel about our lives overall can be vastly different, and that it depends more on the most recent events. So, if I go to five Flaming Lips concerts in a week (awesome) but then I have to miss the opportunity to see the Flaming Lips two more times, I’m gonna feel bad about life because of the most recent events (the number of Flaming Lips shows is arbitrary and used to demonstrate a point). But, if I’ve been Facebooking and tweeting and messaging about all of these Flaming Lips concerts and the wonderful things that happen at them, Expereal will actually tell me I’m enjoying them. Similarly, if I miss five shows but then go to two in a row, I’ll feel like my life is great when actually, Expereal will tell me it’s this living hell of constantly not seeing the Flaming Lips live.

        1. Well, you seem to have it all figured out and you haven’t even used it.
          Here’s a thought: don’t use it if you think you know how it works and you don’t like it. Personally, I think you’re mistaken in how it works.

  5. Giving facebook even more personal information – no thank you! Comparing my subjective view of my life with others, useless. Why on earth would it matter that everyone else is having a great day and I’m in a shitty mood? Great way to feel even worse. Or to the contrary if I’m having a great day and “all” is not then I get to either feel superior or guilty? Again, no thank you. I honestly don’t see the value in this sort of thing. Taking a look at my own quantifications in my life, yes – comparing myself to others? no. Sorry but this app seems supremely narcissistic.

    1. My reaction was something like yours – I actually wondered why someone would limit themselves to expressing the quality of his/her life through color codes & numbers, when they could spend 5 minutes and actually write about what was actually going on in a journal (or blog). I’ve always found this method to be a good way of looking back over how I was feeling in the past – I can’t see how the kind of infographics illustrated would offer much that was meaningful.

      Plus, of course, I wouldn’t touch something that required me to login via Facebook.

  6. For those who want a similar experience, based on scientific research, that doesn’t use Facebook. Can I recommend Moodscope (www.moodscope.com). 
    You score your mood based on 20 cards, on a range of feelings, and it correlates them to give you a daily score of your mood. You can note specifics about that day, and over time gives you a great way to chart your mood. I would recommend this for anyone going through CBT or other therapy, as I did. Was really great to be able to see not only what was improving my mood, but what was bringing me down, and being able to predict and expect those turns a bit better, and also see that – with evidence – that bad moods come and go, and that you can’t expect to be happy always, more a happy medium (which we all know really but nice to see over time)…

  7. Wait. .. What? Seriously?
    Anyone actually using this for realsies should smash their iphone right now and go outside and perform some volunteer work.

    1. Yes, very true.  Or, you could just practice living mindfully and in the moment.  No tech needed.

      1. Practice? Egocentrism relies more on immediate gratification.

        I think it is cool in a tech/psychology type of way, but I’m uncomfortable believing that technology is a gateway to spiritual harmony.

        “the ability to share across additional social networks, such as Facebook”? PUKE! Tyler Durden is rolling in his figurative grave.

  8. Beautiful visualization, good concept. I think this kind of apps will populate the market in a near future. I`m using vibe.me though isn´t exactly share the same aproach.

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