Michael Arnold Mages

Michael Arnold Mages

PhD in Design


My research interests include developing a rich understanding of the ways that service designs, technologies and the material environment facilitate human conversation. I am especially interested in creating work that supports participants' understanding of their own identity as a component of a conversation, and creating work that can support conversations that are difficult, or high-stakes, or where one or more participants are in a leveraged position.

During the past 3 years I have been worked on projects to design processes and technologies to support difficult or high-stakes conversations for The City of Pittsburgh, The Heinz Endowments, The Environmental Charter School, The Office of Veterans Affairs (MyVA Communities), and the Obama White House initiative My Brother's Keeper for Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Formerly, I ran a design consultancy specializing in strategically oriented design practice: research, communications analysis and planning, as well as UI design and development for web, mobile and web-based applications. Our clients included mid-sized regionally-oriented businesses, startups, universities, and Fortune 100 companies. I have taught research-informed design practice to students in business, computer science and fine arts at the University of Colorado, The University of Denver, and the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, and now at Carnegie Mellon University. Past course projects have included identity systems design and branding for Case Logic, business process audit and redesign for the Denver Regional Transportation District, and an extensive experience audit and redesign of all customer-facing business processes for the Denver District Attorney's office.