Mark Norman Francis

norm@201created.com LinkedIn profile

James Aylett, then CTO of Artfinder

Norm is one of the best developers and teachers I've had the pleasure to work with.

As lead on building Artfinder's website, Norm was responsible for the tools, structure and code in-browser for a complex and challenging site. Neither he nor I were prepared to compromise on the principles of progressive enhancement, but this didn't prevent him from implementing some beautiful and subtle designs, with sophisticated interactivity that worked even if asset delivery (CSS, JS &c) degraded. This was achieved using a conceptual framework for the browser page lifecycle that clearly guides when different enhancements should be applied, and which emphasises the importance of styling for degraded situations. Norm's diligence early on pushed me to accept no less as time went by, both from myself and from others.

As the company grew, Norm played a vital role in hiring and developing the team. He wrote the CSS questions we used at interview, and taught HTML and CSS, and how to use them well, to whoever needed. He was also always happy to jump in and help people work through how to implement a particular design or feature. His rousing call of "to the whiteboard" is one of my enduring memories of Artfinder.

I would work with Norm again without hesitation.