ConTXT: Visualizing Personal Digital Traces Using Mobile Phone Logs

In the Spring of 2011 I was asked by a friend to work on a project with the STAR group. I got into contact with David Nguyen, a PhD candidate at the time who was interested in analyzing the digital information that people have on their cell phones.

Because of their pervasiveness, cell phones have become major hubs for digital communication. In particular, smart phones allow people to connect to others using not only traditional voice calls and voicemails, but also text messages, e-mails, instant messages, social networking services, and video chat. As people use these connected, mobile devices to communicate with others, they are also leaving digital traces of their interactions on the devices. Call logs record all calls made, received, and missed. Text message logs record all messages sent and received. These traces can be leveraged to inform users of their patterns of communication.

In this project I was responsible for assisting in the brainstorming, planning and development of the Android application that would become known as ConTXT. This prototype showed potential for a more fleshed out application that could include even more data as mobile devices innovate as communication tools.

I always felt this concept held potential to be built into a modern smartphone operating systems stock messaging application. In August of 2011, Samsung debuted a chat service that highly resembled the basic ideas of ConTXT. Google Analytics also rolled out a similar type of messaging analysis with Gmail messages in March of 2012.

I presented a poster at the 2011 UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium highlighting some of ConTXT’s findings. That poster can be found below, as well as some additional screenshots.

Download Poster as PDF