Initially, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for the ActivityWatch initiative. However, before everything, I must apologize in advance for my professional and research “incompatibility” with the ActivityWatch community. I am an architect and Ph.D. researcher who has no deep knowledge of how system and activity tracking works, plus my coding abilities are fairly limited to basic scripting and other methods related to design software.
Nevertheless, my recent academic ventures had me stumbling upon ActivityWatch and I can’t hide that I was quite excited about the potential value it could bring both for me and my research colleague.
I believe I shouldn’t enter now a broader discussion about the whole concept, goals, and methodology of our research but I can highlight our latest attempt and how we believe we could integrate ActivityWatch to our needs.
Therefore, what we are currently trying to do is to collect data about specific actions and commands that the subject/user uses in design software and then to qualitatively analyze it, based on our theoretical approach. The be more specific I will try to give an example:
- Suppose a design software (in our case we are tracing design activity in Autodesk AutoCAD).
- Let’s say that a set of designers/subjects have a task to design a specific chair.
- Each subject has a different methodology about how he/she will go through to achieve his/her goal.
- What if we could collect activity data that refer to specific commands of the design software
- The number of undo actions (Ctrl+z).
- The number of fillet command.
- The number of insert commands.
- Could we then collect this data and start making charts with preferred commands, the number of mistakes (undo), redo, copy, etc.
- Relate this data to generalizations and categories.
Since we are still going through the docs and trying to comprehend the mechanisms of ActivityWatch, please bear with the forthcoming questions.
- Generally, could this be feasible with ActivityWatch?
- Is it possible to emphasize the activity created on a single software/platform? (our future goal of course includes the activity monitoring of the subject’s digital presence, and how “distractions” such as a google search or Pinterest could be indicative of the subject’s idiosyncrasy).
- Is it possible to assign a theoretical “tag” to a command/action, so that the data we extract could indicate broader assumptions? (for example Undo = indecision).
We are aware this is no ordinary forum topic and we are grateful in advance to anyone showing any interest in our research problems. We have no greater expectations of someone solving everything on our behalf. We are willing and happy to learn but we strongly believe that even the slightest Interdisciplinary communication can be fruitful.
Thank you in advance and looking forward!