Simon Norris is founder and CEO at Nomensa, a strategic UX design agency located in the UK that combines the disciplines of psychology and design to create interaction experiences that match organisational objectives with customer expectations. Nomesa also brings for the Collaborate UX | IA | Design and Interact conferences.
What’s on your IA/UX/Content Strategy “nightstand” reading pile?
I tend to have a number of books I’m reading that span design, strategy, psychology, physics, art and architecture. Just finished Jonah Lehrer’s Imagination which I enjoyed and would recommend. Just started Brian Solis’s X.
What/ who is your creative muse?
People are my muse. People are fascinating. My mother taught me from a young age to look for the genius in everyone and never to be afraid of your feelings.
How did you find IA/UX/Content Strategy? What drew you to it?
Having been a web user since its inception and after playing around with it for a while I came to the realisation in ’94-95 that the web allowed designers to code and coders to design and this was a truly fascinating revelation. However, there was very little information about how these disciplines worked together. It occurred to me that the human factor was neglected. Specifically, I mean the psychological factors that shape our behaviour and experience. I often think our work is like a team sport, we have to be really good at collaborating to produce great digital work.
Who are 5 practitioners that you follow on Twitter?
There are many practitioners and colleagues I follow and for various reasons. Like most people I tend to resonate towards people that hold similar beliefs about the work we do and the world we live in. I do however have a lot of time for Dan Klyn, Leo Frishberg, Jim Kalbach and Andrea Resmini. However, there are so many uber people in our community my list would seem silly if I named them all.
What are your favourite tools of the trade? Why?
I have a white wall in my office so I like to draw, model and sketch. In meetings I like to model / sketch the things being discussed.
I like meetings, especially impromptu ones. I have found that in these moments true uberness can happen e.g. creativity, inspiration, humanity etc.
I try hard to make myself available to my team – if they need me I’m there if they don’t I stay away 🙂
If you could become instantly smarter in one one subject, what would that subject be and why?
Quantum Science. We barely know the rules of the game. We are beginning to understand the world behind the world or a world on which our world is overlaid. I always wish I had a better mathematical mind. My third love after psychology and biology.
How/where do you “start” a project?
I always start by trying to understand the why of a project linking objectives back to the wider strategic objectives of a company. I take a macro view trying to understand how various components interact and the value of the relationships that exists between these components. Once I feel I have a reasonable grasp on the macro factors I like to take a deeper dive into the details to understand the micro factors. I tend to see everything in a micro-macro way.
If you could choose a capstone project for your career, what would it be? Why that one?
Over my career I have had the pleasure of working on some truly wonderful projects with amazing people. If you asked my parents, there would be a list including the United Nations and Number 10 Downing Street. However, a capstone project happens when I have helped to ensure that people are given equal importance to technology. So much of what I do is about changing culture and attitudes as it is changing structures or processes.
Name an educational resource (book, website, publication, etc) that you turn to regularly?
I can’t name one because I’m constantly trying to enrich or challenge what I know. I like learning. I grok newness.
What is one of your guilty pleasures?
Recently bourbon, I’m grateful it doesn’t come out of the tap!