Design ID Portfolio Practice Bio
User Experience Innovator
In the early 1990s, Max abandoned his previous day job – trying to make nuclear power, an inherently dangerous technology, safer – and eventually found himself unemployed, broke, in debt, and occasionally homeless.

The internet and digital media were in their infancy, but Max realized they offered opportunities for someone with his unusual combination of skills in art and technology. He began to reinvent himself, studying and networking, taking interim positions with transitional startups, and by early 1997 he was working as an information architect (IA) and user experience (UX) designer in San Francisco, where he quickly became one of the pioneers who defined these emerging creative disciplines for an entirely new industry.

His early 90s designs included an industry-first image carousel and prototypes for a three-dimensional visual navigation system, all of which he built himself in Macromedia Shockwave, anticipating the swiping and pinching interactions which Apple would introduce more than a decade later for its trackpad and touchscreen devices.

As the first Creative Director at San Francisco's legendary vivid studios, he proved to be one of the web industry's most innovative designers, introducing a truly collaborative creative process integrated with rapid prototyping and agile development, a process which has resulted in the design of internationally awarded and recognized web sites and software applications.

In 1998, he established the world's first independent practice in IA/UX, based on a unique business model in which the IA/UX lead is the prime contractor for design, ensuring that the client's vision is focused and implemented through an efficient design process into a unified and successful brand experience.

From the beginning, Max's primary focus was on browser-based or web-enabled software applications with complex interactivity, from his first online brokerage to his later advanced enterprise applications. But alongside this work, he also led the design of some very high-profile consumer web sites.


The "stealth" Office of Max Carmichael, otherwise known as Hunan Society, in San Francisco's North Beach next to the trendy House Restaurant. The North Beach Office opened in 1999 and closed in 2002, after the dotcom crash.

Puget Sound Energy

Inside the Office

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