Nature’s Notifications: What technology can learn from a buzzing bee and a thunderclap.

Every day, apps vie for your attention. Someone retweets, sends a message, or texts you. An app wants you to know that it hasn’t forgotten about you and sends a push notification. Every time, your phone lights up, your Apple Watch taps you on the wrist, and you lose focus on whatever it was that you were doing before getting distracted.

Right now, notifications are all or nothing: your options are to receive them, or disable them altogether for any given app. Within the notifications you do receive, there is very little sense of hierarchy. What is relevant right now? What can you ignore? How can you tell the difference?

We want to propose an alternative to the current system. By taking inspiration from the principles of soundscapes and information landscapes found in nature, we are exploring a way to make notifications less jarring, more adaptive and, ultimately, less distracting but more meaningful.

Emmi Laakso

Emmi Laakso

As Potion’s senior designer, Emmi Laakso relishes in discovering what an experience wants to be through rigorous research and concepting. Classically trained in print design, typography, and design-thinking at the Rhode Island School of Design, Emmi began her career as a freelance game designer working at Hasbro. She was drawn to the challenge of creating “fun” experiences and interaction design has been a passion of hers ever since. Her work at Potion, such as the Richard Avedon App, has allowed her to follow that passion further than she could ever imagine.

Phillip Tiongson

Phillip Tiongson

Phillip R. Tiongson is the principal and a founder of Potion. Drawing on his training and passions as an artist, software engineer, and storyteller, Phillip leads the studio in creating its groundbreaking interactive experiences. Potion’s signature installation projects, which merge physical and digital elements, reflect his belief that digital interactions can foster a transformative experience of the physical world. Phillip believes that the blending of computation, design, and storytelling creates a new medium of expression. Always curious, Phillip is cultivating new areas of Potion’s design practice, including mobile app development and strategic consulting.





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