The Isarwasser mobile app

... provides information for river surfers in the area around Munich. In designing for such a local, tight-knit, but also rapidly growing community, the aim was to strike a light-hearted tone that would poke some fun at the 'serious business' of surfing river waves, while also support social connections within the community. To further this objective the concept followed a storytelling approach.

BA exhibition BA exhibition

"Interface design [is] aimed at creating representations of worlds that are like reality, only different."
— Page 16, Brenda Laurel: Computers as Theatre, 2014

The Isarwasser app does not only show real time data – it is itself a representation of the river surfing environment. The interactor navigates with swipe and scroll gestures.

Sensor data and the interactor’s input directly affect the virtual environment and influence for example the water level or the color of the river.

Water level animation Tilt animation

Figures: Water changing according to real time conditions. Tilt animation triggered by phone sensors.


Illustrations provided the required flexibility and were used throughout the app.

A storytelling approach to
interface design

Narrative structures can be found in all forms of human creativity. During the evolution of the computer, previous representational formats were translated into digital form. Today, the medium has long developed it’s own unique language. Yet we can still learn from comparison with the other arts. Drawing from Brenda Laurel's new 2014 edition of her classic Computers as Theatre, this project wants to further explore the use of narrative techniques in interface design.

Theoretical part of the BA thesis as a book BA exhibition Exhibition info text Different app screenshots