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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSC)

Katt Zhang

Katherine ‘Katt’ Zhang is a maker-designer curious about challenging existing workflows and reimagining collective habits through phygital (physical-digital) interactions for a dynamic, inclusive and sustainable future. Katt’s diverse background spanning from craftsperson to project management and digital designer naturally engages her to draw inspiration from multiple perspectives and collaborate across disciplines through co-designing directly with relevant experts and users.



previously...


// NYC : Furniture + Architectural Hardware Project Management

// Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) : BFA Furniture Design + Manufacturing



// runs for fun

Today’s workplace is global, virtual and diverse both physically and intellectually as the complexity of problems facing today’s designers requiring unexpected ideas, divergent thinking and interdisciplinary creative collaboration.


Collaboration empowers more voices and perspectives to be explored but breaking the ice and bridging communication when bringing together a diverse group is often challenging as different disciplines have different values, experiences and skills.


PLAYSPACE is the most accessible virtual studio to spatially ideate, storyboard and present user experience with customisable 3D models in real-time. Empower any virtual design and creative team to explore unexpected ideas through improvised storytelling and easily bring that vision to life.

Home — Team enters PLAYSPACE
Start — Intuitively find and transform models on demand
Create — Spatially explore and navigate
Present — Interactively present your vision to various stakeholders

Entering 2020, the creative workplace was already rapidly trending virtual and remote thanks to Millennials and Gen Z preferring to work as creative freelancers collaborating from anywhere, embracing ‘digital nomadity’ and ‘location independence’.


Currently in 2021, there is an estimated 10.9 million digital nomads in the US alone with predictions of a billion globally by 2035 or 1 in 9 people due to lifestyle changes and tech advancements.


However, a continued top challenge to virtual remote working is engaged communication and collaboration with a 2021 survey conducted showing 41% citing the greatest change of remote working is how collaboration and communication is conducted (top factor of change) and 16% citing it as the greatest difficulty (top 2 factor of struggle).


This is the goal and value of PLAYSPACE - to enhance the creative collaboration experience for greater engagement and clearer visual communication to accessibly explore multiple perspectives and unlock unexpected ideas.

Create — Instantly edit and collaborate as a team in Creator View (3rd Person Omniscient POV)
Present — Interactively present to various stakeholders in User View (1st Person POV)

The current working prototype (as shown in the demo videos) is built in Unity using Multiplayer to allow multiple users to virtually engage in the same space simultaneously.


The video on the left shows 3 users creating a user experience storyboard together with the platform's customisable 3D models and adding notes and quotes to bring the scenario to life.


The video on the right shows them presenting the 'completed' storyboard alternating between Creator View (3rd Person Omniscient POV) and User View (1st Person POV) to various stakeholders - edits can be made in real-time creating more flexible and effective collaboration.

Design Thinking X Applied Improv — Both the design process and improv ‘involve reflecting-in-practice’ to form ‘new understandings based on things that arise during the process’.
EXP I
EXP II
EXP III
Group I
Group I
Group II
Validation + Feedback — A qualitative survey and questionnaire was conducted individually at the end of each session - survey results and analysis shown here.

6 participants (architect, fashion designer, industrial designer, digital product manager) from across the world took part in two workshops of 3 users each - none had previously worked with each other. Each group was given a specific design brief and asked to co-create together with the Unity Multiplayer prototype.


All participants were asked to screen record and the screen recordings were analysed for how users interacted with the objects and how each used specific features of the system (rotate, zoom, move etc) to validate how user behaviour adapted to spatiality, multiple POVs and integrated output.