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Prototyping OS-level virtual collaboration tools

In the wake of global lockdowns during the COV-19 pandemic, it became abundantly clear the tools and methods the workforce had at their disposal were insufficient to maintain certain levels of collaboration and productivity. To address this, we were retained by the Advanced Engineering & HCI Team at a large global technology company to seek novel ways to build virtual collaboration into their suite of hardware and software products.

an illustration of a business woman with a laptop surrounded by virtual avatars of her colleagues

Leading a small research and design team, I facilitated a series of rapid ideation cycles, to design, build, and test prototype concepts for each of our partner's mobile, laptop, desktop and tv systems—carefully evaluating user scenarios that spanned a diverse taxonomy of collaborative contexts. 

From enabling seamless multi-user collaboration found in other popular apps like Figma and Miro, to accommodating a mix of in-person and remote team members, our prototypes were designed to facilitate smooth communication and teamwork between diverse devices, locales, and working styles. 

We also tackled the often-daunting task of streamlining complex distributed file storage schemas, permissions, and edge-cases—making it easier for teams to access, share, and manage their work without getting bogged down in wrangling tedious technical management. 

a photo of concept sketches on screen
product exploration demo illustrations
product demo illustrations
a photo of people using two tablets pushed together with a connected interface
a photo of a person using a laptop with connect UI
a photo of people using two tablets pushed together with a connected interface
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Throughout the project, our design and research work led to the production of more than a dozen high-value patents related to the scenarios and operating system features. The work also serves as a strong foundation for interaction design in the world of collaborative OS tools, resulting in groundbreaking interactions and features that A) redefine the way teams work together, regardless of their location or setup, and B) don’t yet exist in any other current operating systems. We eagerly look forward to the day these are finally unveiled in well-known consumer operating systems. 


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