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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSC)

Jingyi Zhang

Jingyi Zhang is a multidisciplinary designer with a background both in material science and design engineering. She explores a variety of areas related to human-centered design, human-wildlife coexistence, and human-product interactions. She aims to solve real-world problems through innovative technology interventions. She believes design is a subject that needs speculation through multiple perspectives.

In her solo project, she explored the scope of co-existence with urban wildlife in cities and considered ways to build better connections between nature and humans that could encourage more individual engagement for wildlife protection. 

Eco-protector is a gamified crowdsourcing observation application for supporting ornithological research in urban cities. It creates a unique discovering journey for natural lovers and individual birders to gradually reveal the world of birds hidden in our surroundings through a game. Eco-protector brings both social connections and entertainment for optimizing the user experience of participating citizen science projects.

You can contribute to science easily by submitting a casual sighting with essential information,exploring nature together with thousands of people who love birds, sharing new findings and stories. All of your contributions would be visualized as a digital ecosystem that can connect you with the real bird kingdom.


Avian species survival in urban cities is becoming more and more severe. Over 40 million birds have vanished from UK skies in just 50 years. Urbanization might be the main reason for the population decline. Avian species play an essential role in the ecosystem, the population decline will influence other species in the biologic chain and lead to biodiversity loss.

To find suitable habitats for birds in urban cities. Scientists need public data to support their research. The problem in existing data collection systems is lacking participants: Most of the users in citizen science projects are professional birders, making the participation limited in a small group. Potential contributors who love nature but be short of experience were excluded for the reason of lacking instructions and incentives. That causes mass data loss from the potential contributes.


Discovering wildlife in urban cities is a gradual learning process that needs time and effort. My objective is to break the barrier of supporting science and provide an engaging discovering journey for people to progressively get engaged in data collecting activities.

User Journey — Key features:Data collection/ gamification/ social connection
Step1: Provoke curiosity — Eco-protector provides a customizable ecosystem that can attract people at first to explore more about the app.
Step2: Contribute to science by a simple sighting — People can contribute to scientific research by recording the species with location, date, and species' name.
Step3: Explore through social connections — Use story-sharing format to enhance human interaction and emotional connections.
Step4: Connect with real world through digital interactions — The digital avatars emphasize the existence of wildlife in the real world and bring people the newest phenological information.
game mechanics