To design is to make an argument. Design is rhetoric; not packaging.
Good design keeps asking questions. Good design tells the truth.
Culture is a collective design ritual. Detonate culture to recreate it.

Design is code. Code, Decode, Recode.

About

Semantic Foundry forges a visual framework to communicate through multiple channels creating a holistic customer experience. We organize and give form to conversation in a way that adds context & power.

Design plays a primary role in the interpretation of your message. It creates the crucial persistent impression. It encourages examination and generates interest. Accessible, findable, understandable information and beauty of form can engage observers and arrest their development.

Our expertise in research, information architecture, interaction and social experience design functions to organize, clarify, and add drama while engaging in a conversation with your customers.

Ideas

Shades of Gray:
Thoughts on sketching
Shades of Gray:
Wireframes as Thinking Device
7 Steps to a Kick-ass User Experience Design Portfolio
Introduction to Design Studio Methodology
Intro to Design Studio, Part 2:
How to Design a Design Studio
Intro to Design Studio, Part 3:
Design Studio for AgileUX

Expertise

Research

Let’s get this straight - content is not king. The design of a compelling product always starts with context and people. Innovative companies find that direct contact with customers is the key to creating an experience that generates measurable business results. We ask these questions: How do you ensure that your digital product actually gives customers what they need? What are the best ways to understand your customers’ goals, behaviors and attitudes, and then turn that understanding into business results? The principle idea of good user experience design is: "You are not your user!"

Personas bring customer research to life and make it actionable, ensuring the right decisions are made based on the right information. At Semantic Foundry, our approach to persona development draws from an array of quantitative and qualitative activities including internal stakeholder interviews, contextual inquiry, ethnographic research, site analytics andusability testing.

With a full set of analyzed data, we synthesize the findings into crisp personas based on behavior trends. These realistic character sketches document the specific goals, behaviors and attitudes of each customer, and are used to guide decision-making throughout the product design process.

Information Architecture

Information Architecture is the foundation of all great design of complex information spaces. All other design aspects: form, function, metaphor, navigation, interface, interaction, visual, and information systems - build upon the groundwork laid down by information architecture. Initiating the IA process is the first thing you should do after finishing design research.

Typically, we begin with the business needs and organizational goals. After listing and discussing these aspects, we address the needs, expectations, and goals from the customer’s perspective. This is referred to as the “Top-down” information architecture — beginning with the abstract, and slowly narrowing down to clear objectives to drive the implementation.

The next step involves a content inventory: cataloging of all your existing content as well as all the content which needs to be garnered from the Top-down IA process. Correlating the underlying relationships in the content with people’s expectations and behavior, we develop a new information structure. This is typically referred to as “Bottom-up” Information Architecture.

Finally, we document the new site structure by sitemapping, flow-diagramming, and wireframing, so that there is a solid roadmap to guide product design.

Interaction Design

We believe that to design an interaction we must commit to writing a narrative of human behavior mediated through time and space.

Interaction design is a set of skills within user experience design that illuminates the relationship between people and the interactive products they use. While interaction design has a firm foundation in the theory, practice, and methodology of traditional human-computer interaction and user-centered design, it’s focus is on defining the complex conversations that occur between people and objects of many types—from computers to mobile communications devices to appliances.

Our practice of interaction design is grounded in an understanding of real users — their goals, behaviors, experiences, needs, and wants. Approaching design from a user-centered perspective, while endeavoring to balance users’ needs with business goals and technological capabilities, we have designed and launched some pretty awesome products – products we’re proud of – products that have created customers and delivered results.

Biography

Will Evans is Manager, Experience Design for TheLadders.com with 15 years industry experience in interaction design, information architecture, and user experience strategy. He also leads The Semantic Foundry, a boutique social experience design consultancy. His previous experiences includes directing UX for social network analytics and terrorism modeling at AIR Worldwide, UX Architect for social media site Gather.com and UX architect for Kayak.com. He worked at Lotus/IBM where he was the senior information architect, and for Curl - a DARPA-funded MIT project when he was at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science. Prior to Curl, Will was an interaction designer for Dataware working on various search (Northern Light) and KM related product suites including KM Suite II and QueryServer.

Will’s passions include design and critical theory, information architecture, information visualization and philosophy. He lives in New York, NY, drinks far to much coffee, wears only black. He was Design Co-Chair for the IxDA’s Interaction 10 conference in Savannah, Georgia in February. He also served on the board of directors of the Information Architecture Institute.

A distinguished speaker, Will provides lectures and seminars on such topics as social experience design, strategic design, innovation, and findability. Will's work has been featured in numerous publications including Business Week, The Economist, Fortune, MSNBC and the Wall Street Journal.

Will's current activities include

  • Founder, Social Experience Designer at Semantic Foundry
  • Former Director,Information Architecture Institute
  • Design Co-Chair, IxDA's Interaction 10 Conference
  • Founder, IxDA DC Local Group
  • Kahuna Emeritus, Contributing Editor, Johnny Holland
  • Member: ACM SIGCHI, UPA, IAI, IxDA , AIGA