Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 985–1000 | Cite as

SleepExplorer: a visualization tool to make sense of correlations between personal sleep data and contextual factors

  • Zilu LiangEmail author
  • Bernd Ploderer
  • Wanyu Liu
  • Yukiko Nagata
  • James Bailey
  • Lars Kulik
  • Yuxuan Li
Original Article


Getting enough quality sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. Many people are tracking their sleep through mobile and wearable technology, together with contextual information that may influence sleep quality, like exercise, diet, and stress. However, there is limited support to help people make sense of this wealth of data, i.e., to explore the relationship between sleep data and contextual data. We strive to bridge this gap between sleep-tracking and sense-making through the design of SleepExplorer, a web-based tool that helps individuals understand sleep quality through multi-dimensional sleep structure and explore correlations between sleep data and contextual information. Based on a two-week field study with 12 participants, this paper offers a rich understanding on how technology can support sense-making on personal sleep data: SleepExplorer organizes a flux of sleep data into sleep structure, guides sleep-tracking activities, highlights connections between sleep and contributing factors, and supports individuals in taking actions. We discuss challenges and opportunities to inform the work of researchers and designers creating data-driven health and well-being applications.


Sleep Health Personal informatics Self-tracking Sense-making HCI 



This study was supported by Australian Government Endeavour Research Fellowship and Microsoft BizSpark. We would like to thank our study participants for contribution. We also appreciate feedback and support from Dr. Kathleen Gray, Manal Almalki, and our colleagues in the Microsoft Research Centre for Social NUI at the University of Melbourne.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zilu Liang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  • Bernd Ploderer
    • 1
    • 3
  • Wanyu Liu
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Yukiko Nagata
    • 6
    • 7
  • James Bailey
    • 1
  • Lars Kulik
    • 1
  • Yuxuan Li
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and TechnologyTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Telecom ParisTech & CNRS (LTCI)Université Paris-SaclayParisFrance
  5. 5.Université Paris-Sud & CNRS (LRI), InriaUniversité Paris-SaclayOrsayFrance
  6. 6.The University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  7. 7.Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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