Location-based ecosystem

Interaction Design

Umeå Institute of Design

Year / Duration

2009 / 8 weeks

In collaboration with



This project proposes a way to visualize the mood of the people in a specific place and in a specific time. By knowing in advance which are the areas where the people have a specific mood at the moment, the user will be able to decide where to go according to his/her own preferences.

The user is also able to input information and share it with the other people in the City through the same mobile application. The final mobile service proposed is based on the ethnography research done about the behavior of the people while traveling and arriving to a City as a visitor.

Location based eco-system

An eco-system contains all needed components for a sustainable system. A nearly complete eco-system also pulls participants into it and it has a network effect. After several sketches about the eco-system and the way it would work, the components of the location-based eco-system were defined like this:

- People
- Mobile Application
- City Municipality
- Events and place of Interest in a City


Application on use

This video shows how the ecosystem works when a person visits a city where he/she hasn't been before.


Ethnography and design

Ethnography informs design by revealing a deep understanding of people and how they make sense of their world. It is a research method based on observing people in their natural environment rather than in a formal research setting. When ethnography is applied to design, it helps designers create more compelling solutions. 

The research stage of this project was made together with Amid Moradganjeh and Pierre-Alexandre Poirier.

Ethnographic research methods

A variety of methods for conducting the etnographically-informed research were utilized such as:

- Interviews on the field
- Participatory observation
- Questionnaires analysis
- Photo diaries
- Fly on the wall

Some findings

1. People rely on other people for making decisions in different levels.
2. Getting advices from local people or people who have been to the place before it very important for the visitors (sharing experiences and information).
3. Some information is just locally accessible.
4. Connecting feelings, comments and memories to the location.
5. People not only like visiting tourist places, but also small and traditional ones.
6. Travelers always want to be aware of the surroundings (events, places).

Thinking about the big picture

In systemic design it is necessary to define the elements who are taking part of the system and define the role of each of them on it.

Sketching scenarios

To generate ideas around the selected direction, it is everyday more usual than interaction designers use the development of scenarios which show how the service would be used in a real situation.

This practice helps to identify the particular areas on the experience, we need to focus to design better solutions.


Phone application to access the service

The mobile application is fundamental for the functioning of this system. The final proposal allows the user choosing between getting advices from the residents of the City or from the visitors.

The aim of showing the information through these two different filters is to give the user the control of what kind of places he/she wants to visit.

By the usage of these options, the user can easily identify where are the touristic areas are and where are the areas where the local people usually hang out. Some visitors are more interested in visiting the local and small places rather than touristic and crowded areas.

On the botton part of the screen, there is a time indicator. It indicates the time is being visualized on the screen. It is possible to slide this black bar in order to check the mood in the past, present or even plans on the future.


In order to show the concept of this project in an understandable manner, I developed, apart of the GUI, a few graphic design concepts for the tag, service logotype and posters.


Umeå Capital of Culture

By means of collaborative work between the people in Umeå and the Municipality in Umeå , it would be possible to achieve the goal. The people will comment, suggest and complaint about cultural events and places, and the Municipality will take more control of all the cultural aspects in Umeå in order to improve the cultural aspect day by day from now until 2014.