Ever since I was a child I’ve had insanely vivid dreams. I used to experience dream states while being awake. Even to this day my dreams feel like a part of my waking reality and their presence often changes my perspective during waking hours.

This night I had a particularly interesting dream. It’s origins were a bit hazy but I found myself exploring a large outdoor courtyard in the middle of a yard sale. …

It all started one horribly bright and sunny morning during another miserable jaunt across the all too gorgeous campus at UC Santa Barbara. I was definitely not enjoying the painfully crisp sea air blowing through my unkempt brown locks of hair, not excited at all about the prospect of finally wrapping up my epically disastrous experience as an undergraduate. This was primarily due to the fact that I was beginning to realize something that would forever change my outlook on life. …

Whether it’s continually checking notifications, binge watching a television series, or curating your online identity through a string of food pics and selfies, there has never been a time in human history where individuals are so deeply focused on these “tools” not as a means to living life but as a substitute for life in itself.

I am by no means a technophobe. I grew up steeped in video game culture, spent countless hours on a Nintendo or my family’s Apple IIe playing and experimenting with every aspect of the technology at the time. I was a computer geek from a very early age, built my first PC at around age 12, went to LAN parties on the weekends in high school, created counter strike tournaments in the dorms, cracked open World of Warcraft a few days after it came out. Somewhere along the way I realized that these skills in technology could provide me with a means for a successful career. …

This is a short story I wrote for an anthology called “Falling from the Sky”. It was printed around 10 years ago and is currently available for purchase for less than a submarine sandwich. I’m not looking to make any money off this, but wanted to publish this here on Medium so that it can hopefully reach a larger audience. If you do manage to read it all, please give me honest and constructive feedback.

So the TV turns itself on and time slowly rolls by like carnations in the Rose Parade. He still remembers being thirteen, seated in those stands, withstanding the unbearable Pasadena sun on January 1, 1991. And now, sitting on this sofa, sitting on his last paycheck because he doesn’t really want a job. The TV turns itself off again. …

Direct rebuttal to articles encouraging people to become a UX designer on a whim or simply for the sake of making lots of money.

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I woke up the other morning and found an article awaiting me: 7 Reasons Why You Should Get Into UX Design. It is a wonderfully crafted article that may have had the best of intentions (or I hope it did) but is misleading and indicative of a larger issue in the for-profit technology training industry.

Make Money, Not Products

The article starts with a direct comment about how “you can get trained up as a UX designer without going to design school” and “did I mention that the average salary of a UX designer is approaching $90,000”. Although, these are facts, it is an awful approach. Avoiding a formal education and making lots of cash should neither be the first or strongest case for becomng a UX designer.

The the other day I was playing with my 4 year old niece who was using a word from a movie I watched many times in my childhood: Mary Poppins. She kept on repeating “Supercalifradulisticexpialidocious” and singing along the song to the best of her memory (which is insanely remarkable for a 4 year old).

It got me thinking more about the film and how it is a big influence on my current mindset and how I approach not just life in general but more specifically the work that I do and the people I work with. …

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So I’ve spent a good part of the last year (or two) using Sketch as a design tool to do pretty much everything from ideation, wireframing, visual design, asset production and detailed specifications for development teams. I wanted to share with you some of the triumphs, frustrations and unexpected outcomes from using this tool as a UX Designer.

Sketch is a powerful design tool

There is no question in anyone’s mind, especially those who frequently use the application, that it is a very powerful tool. Part of it’s power comes from it’s capability to work on small parts of a design and to organize that design into numerous artboards and pages. I’m used to working this way from using other tools such as Axure, Omnigraffle and the array of Adobe products. …

How to embrace change and keep motivated

No one is perfect. That is why no process will ever be even remotely perfect. As we come to grips with our own fallibility, it should not only give us a sense of humbleness but an impetus to accept and learn from mistakes. The following is a story about how my journey as a UX designer through one particular project convinced me of the importance of iterating on the process instead of being controlled by it.

It wasn’t easy being the only “designer” surrounded by four engineers, two business analysts and a half dozen stakeholders. Primarily I was responsible for providing a high-fidelity (near pixel perfect) prototype which served the dual purpose of dictating visual design and delivering functional specifications. To put it short I was the one always holding up the show. It seemed that every time there was a quick change or fix during a sprint the development team would point the finger at me and say “you need to do it first”. …

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A shot from one of our Axure Bootcamps with AB Collective

It is often difficult to describe the joy of teaching others. For me there is excitement when I see that I have positively impacted a student’s life. Recently I had the pleasure of teaching an HCI course at UC Irvine. I had taught numerous workshops in the past but never a long format course at a prestigious university. This experience was exciting, terrifying and remarkably difficult as I maintained a full workload in addition to instructing 94 students.

Although I was comfortable with many parts of the curriculum (which I stubbornly decided to take upon myself to create), there were areas where I often doubted my ability to teach in a way that was both useful and relatable. Throughout the course I continued to create connections between the theories I was touching upon with my own personal experiences. My greatest fear was wasting time in teaching something useless or failing to be able to clearly explain how a topic I was covering could assist these students in their future careers. …


Paul Lumsdaine

Designing for Rocket Scientists at NASA JPL

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