21 Sep 2018 by Jim Ward
Happy 15th Birthday nForm!

Hello there, digital you. My name is Jim Ward, and I am the new managing partner of nForm User Experience. And I get to send a special message with my first blog post – it’s our birthday! We are celebrating 15 years as an organization. And we are very fortunate to have a lot to celebrate.

One of the gifts I received during our birthday week was watching a challenging key note from disruptor Leonard Brody. Leonard suggests that people have split into two distinct selves: our corporeal real-world self, and our virtual digital self.

Now this may be self-evident (no pun intended…), but what I found challenging is how distinctly different the two are.

We’ve all witnessed (or heaven forbid, been one of) the trolls. Digital anonymity opens up new opportunities to express ourselves in ways not socially acceptable in the ‘real’ world. But there is a lot more to the split. For example, Leonard quoted research suggesting that our digital self has been measured as being 4 times more trusting than our physical self. There are a lot of implications for user experience design with that one statement. Leonard also proposed that the virtual online self is actually our dominant self. He cited statistics saying we spend more time inside our digital persona than we do outside of it. And the ability of each of us to ‘multi-task’ throughout the day has bumped productivity equivalents from a 24-hour day to just over 31 hours, moving rapidly to 34 hour/day in the next few years.

I was reflecting on our work as we move into our 16th year, with Leonard’s perspective fresh in my mind.

I believe we have both a privilege and a responsibility to leave the world in a better spot each day, and we do that with each idea, each project, each deliverable, and each interaction we have with each other.

And this new and evolving insight into how humans conduct themselves in the digital world is one of the greatest birthday gifts we could be given. Every day we are fortunate to work with many of you, and deliver research, design, and strategy around complex digital projects. People-centered systems with everyday impact. And we love our work. Truly. Amidst all of the digital transformation and change we are part of, if you accept Leonard’s conclusions, we now have twice the audience and related mission of making the world a better place for every self. Digitally, and in the real world.

In many ways our role is to bridge these two selves and connect them. Both selves are integral to how business is conducted today. And it’s the experiences over our 15-year history that have positioned us more strongly than ever to have a positive impact on the future. Amidst all of the noise in the digital world, it adds even more clarity to our purpose. It keeps us relevant, and motivated to keep our edges sharp. And though the past has been great, on behalf of all of us, I can’t wait for what’s around the next corner.

Thanks for the gift Leonard. And Happy Birthday nForm!

15th birthday cake

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