MFA Thesis in Interaction Design

This individual and independent project was completed in spring 2023 at Umeå Institute of Design.


In the context of music platforms, playlists result from personal curation or machine learning algorithms.

Nectar breaks out of the screen and envisions the urban environment as a spatial browser for music discovery.


Topic: Enhancement of memories

Writing a diary entry, taking a photo or shazaming a song are ways of capturing a moment and enhancing a memory. Traditionally, we enhance memories explicitly, with our conscious attention to a thing or interface:

Picking up our diary, finding the right words and guiding the pen, finding the view and pushing the camera’s shutter or opening the Shazam app and pushing the button in the right moment.

What do a camera, Shazam and diary have in common? They are explicit means of enhancing memories

Opportunity: Implicit Interaction

Implicit interaction seems to happen without further attention. What if an app caught songs wherever you go? What if your diary wrote itself, based on the places you visit and the people you meet?

Process Part 1 – Exploration

Insights from Interviews

Nectar responds to the challenge to harmoniously integrate mediated interaction and navigation into the embodied activity of exploring a busy city by bike. For this project I interviewed citizens from Amsterdam, London and Copenhagen on how they relate to their city and how they interact through mobile and wearable devices.


Nectar enhances memories while the explorer fully immerses into real life: An experience that is guided by serendipity, rather than knowing a destination.

Exploring the scenario in a playful way. The sketch model helps to explore the form, composition and behaviour of components.

– I imagine to provide people with a glanceable and intuitive map.
– I imagine memories can be enhanced by collecting virtual pollen: By visiting vibrant places and meeting people.

Process Part 2 – Refinement

Layout: Compass x Vibrance Map

‘Compass’ maps social gatherings in real-time. I design the app for a smartwatch, a wearable device that does not need to be taken out of a pocket. This makes the map snappy and glanceable.

Combining the concept of a compass with a map

Type of interaction: implicit & embodied

The app does without a search query. Instead, it displays what is happening right now in direct reach. Without touch gestures, such as zooming or swiping, the interface is more robust for outside application on the go. With Google Maps the destination is the goal, navigating as efficiently as possible. With Compass the journey is the goal, finding value without searching.

Google Maps is based on manual search at global scale. Compass pre-filters based on personal taste-profile and constrains the display to the range of immediate reach.

Responsiveness: Scaling

In a less vibrant town, the view zooms out to a 15 min. range, in order to still provide options. In a more vibrant town, the view zooms in to a range of 3 min.

The scale of the map adjusts to the density of gatherings.

Feel: SwiftUI Prototype

I treat SwiftUI as a design tool, in order to get a feel for the panning gesture and evaluate the interaction model. The real-time sensor data from the device and low latency makes it feel second to nature.

SwiftUI requires me to think through the layout and behaviour of the interaction model.


Moment 1: Teaser

Similar to a sonar, the interface features a finder, which plays a teaser of nearby sound scapes. Compass maps out social gatherings in real time and displays them as sound scapes. They represent the particular music taste of a group.

Moment 2: Exposure

When the explorer joins a gathering, Nectar collects songs in a playlist from the current taste profile of the group.

Moment 3: Relive & Share

At the end of the day the explorer can revisit playlists in the Journal and share their memories.


Explicit vs. implicit discovery

With Nectar the cityscape becomes a space for music discovery.

Nectar acts as an extension to existing music platforms, as Spotify, that know a person’s music taste. Within the Spotify browser, the mouse movement, clicks and listening behaviour influence which music gets suggested to be discovered. Nectar expands discovery and treats the cityscape as a browsable space and includes other explorers and their tastes in the discovery.

Your playlist is forever linked to the memory of this day in May when you got to know your skater friend at the Red Square. It is your time capsule.