Fang Nan: AI design is transforming the traditional digital world

Fang Nan is a New York based interdisciplinary designer with 6 years of experience working in the design industry. She has worked with Lenovo, PwC, and Alibaba before, and did many multi-disciplinary design projects relating to AI-generated art platforms, electric vehicles, strategic design research reports, game design, branding design and so on. Fang Nan has honed her skills in designing and delivering exceptional digital products and services that meet the needs of users while achieving business goals.

Throughout her career, Fang Nan has worked with cross-functional teams to research, ideate, and prototype solutions that address complex user problems. She was well-versed in using a range of design methodologies, including user research, user-centered design, and design thinking, to inform her design decisions and deliver products that delight users.

Exploring the underlying logic of AI game design

In 2020, Fang Nan joined Ali Entertainment under the Alibaba Group as a Senior Game Designer (UX) in Guangdong in China. Fang was involved in the game design and development of casual games projects on Taobao App. Ali Entertainment is a part of Alibaba Group’s Entertainment sector, which includes various business brands such as Lingxi Interactive Entertainment and Jiuyou Game. They have released several famous game products like “Three Kingdoms: Strategic Edition,” “Three Kingdoms Fantasy Continent,” “Travel Frog,” “Land of Wind,” and many others.

However, what brought Fang Nan’s recognition was her leadership in the “Savings Matching” game project with leading a team of five members in Alibaba Group. During the November 11th, the biggest shopping festival in China, Fang Nan, as the project team leader, and the senior game designer assisted the project team members and colleagues in helping Taobao App to develop a strategy solution for seasonally updating the game. Fang Nan and the team members together optimized and improved the game’s overall UX and UI design through game character’s skin, game levels’ strategic design, and game major character design, enhancing the gaming experience by creating new characters and effects in the GUI.

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At that time, she had already realized that implementing AI-generated characters in the metaverse world would enhance the value of the gaming market, attracting a significant amount of capital and investors. The research findings from her team in the southern region were applied to optimize and iterate on game products, leading to the launch of a new generation of AI-based iOS and Android game applications.

Reflecting on this experience, she mentioned dedicating more time to building more authentic and user-centric interactive applications and related user experience design. She believed that this effort would contribute to the future of the gaming industry and the development prospects of AI, potentially triggering the next technological revolution and prosperity in the Web3.0 era. 

Breaking through key points in AI Design and Strategic Research

In 2022, as a Senior UX/UI Interaction Designer and Visual Design Engineer at Lenovo Group, Fang Nan led a team of five members to propose and complete the design output for the frontend scenarios of Lenovo’s AI Education Cloud Platform. This included the design for Lenovo MVIite Toolkit tutorial videos, enhanced UI guidance design, as well as the MVlite Intelligent Annotation System, Smart Education Display System, AI Chat Studio, and other series of interaction design outputs. She also participated in and designed the logo for Lenovo Le Eye, and organized and summarized the presentation slides for the design conference event.

Due to Fang Nan’s exploratory research capabilities and professional performance in the field associated with the AI industry, the Lenovo Design Research Institute has entrusted her with numerous important and urgent projects to conduct forward-looking research.

This includes a series of strategic design reports specifically tailored for the Lenovo’s Metaverse app: XIAOHUI. In the field of smart automobiles, Fang Nan’s work has encompassed various projects and dimensions, including research on NIO, Xiaopeng, and Lixiang, strategic research in new technology areas for the Intelligent In-Car Application Online Mobile App Store, sketch design for Lenovo’s smart car, and research reports on new technologies in smart automobiles.

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For the efficient progress of this project, Fang Nan conducted extensive research on academic documents and research articles, providing the group with an overview of the potential market development and prospects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) education for K12 children in China.

In the report, Fang Nan presented a significant amount of preliminary and quantitative research documents on this technology, along with the initial application outcomes of AI education in the Chinese market. In her analysis, she predicted a substantial market for developing AI into on-site classroom infrastructure. Fang emphasized that terminal products combining 3D interactive touchscreens and intelligent virtual assistants would be crucial.

At Lenovo Group, Fang Nan’s comprehensive abilities and exploratory spirit in in-depth research and interdisciplinary collaboration were showcased through her involvement in advancing the AI-generated art platform, the Metaverse Xiaohui (XIAOHUI) project.

In the initiation and development of Xiaohui.AI, Fang Nan not only participated in the later stages of UI architecture system design but also, through collaboration with software engineers and machine learning experts, conducted research on relevant articles using quantitative data. She compiled a research report including AI generator codes, helping colleagues promptly access the information and tools they needed.

Ensure everyone has the “digital identity” sovereignty

“In the past two years, there has been rapid development in the field of metaverse offices. For instance, platforms like Gather Town, Accenture’s Nth Floor, and even PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) introduced an online office application called ‘AC Campus’,” Fang Nan explained. In metaverse offices, users can choose different identities for their virtual characters, including skin color, appearance, attire, and customize various aspects.

However, Fang Nan believes that a long-standing reality will gradually change: users’ identities and labels on different platforms do not strictly belong to them. For example, a user’s identity and resources on the WeChat platform may not be mutually recognized on other platforms.

With the development of AI technology, as WeChat and other platforms become interconnected, future users will have a unique identity across all platforms. Similar to the real world where everyone carries their ID and passport, users will have a unified identity, enjoying their rights and benefits across various platforms.

Fang Nan is confident that the future brought by AI technology is something worth striving for.

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