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Traversing Power Structures – Will Evans

Date: June 2, 2010
Speaker: 
Will Evans — Semantic Foundry

Will EvansTo design interactions predicated on politics and power, you must commit to writing a narrative of human behavior mediated through time and space.  While great strides have been made over the last 40 years drawing on a rich history of cybernetics and human-computer interaction, existing models of interaction are limited in their ability to explain social and psychological phenomena in physical space, let alone online spaces, which are becoming increasingly common for mediating collective and collaborative group interactions in the workplace.

In an attempt to overcome the limitations of these models, interaction designers often like to talk about context.  But these conversations often fail to address other rich attributes important to models of social encounters.  Join Will as he explores the roles of context, perception, posture, situation, and framing, and discusses how people in workgroups traverse power structures and negotiate a shared language.  This exploration will lead to a better understanding of how leadership within a team, ad hoc group, or company might be modeled, both in physical and mediated online spaces.  He will then propose a framework for interaction designers to develop better strategies of influence and leadership within these contexts.

About Will Evans
Will Evans is Founder and Principal User Experience Architect for Semantic Foundry.  He has 14 years’ industry experience in presentation layer and user experience design, from usability-focused user interface architecture through the entire software product lifecycle for both thick- and thin-client applications.
Will’s experience includes working as a user experience architect for AIR Worldwide, information architect for consumer websites like Gather.com, and user experience architect for Kayak.com.  He worked as an information architect at Lotus (IBM) and Curl, a DARPA-funded MIT project at the Laboratory for Computer Science, which turned into a software company allowing Will to work alongside notable figures such as Tim Berners-Lee and Mike Dertouzos.

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