How lockdown in the UK has helped me to become more positive

An image of a work from home setup
An image of a work from home setup
Photo by Mikey Harris on Unsplash

Tuesday 17 March 2020. During a team meeting our CEO announces that there has been a number of reported COVID cases in their London Office. Although I’m based in our Nottingham office, the past 6–8 weeks have seen a number of COVID cases rising rapidly throughout the country and as such, for safety measures, we’re all told we can work from home.

At first, my feelings were positive. I work for a company that is flexible and trustworthy towards their staff. I’m fortunate that we’re able to work from home or work from a non-office space when required, assuming we…

Why I think the new Toolbar to match Big Sur is a big step backward

On November 17th, Sketch released Sketch 70 Beta. Alongside regular fixes and improvements that land with each major release of Sketch, the fundamental change was the Visual User Interface.

Toolbar Icons in Sketch Beta 70
Toolbar Icons in Sketch Beta 70
Toolbar Icons in Sketch Beta 70

Sketch promoted this as a “UI redesign that fits right in with the new macOS Big Sur design language.”

How to eat more of the plant-based foods you like and even those you dislike

An image of a plant-based bowl
An image of a plant-based bowl
Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

A plant-based meal plan, to be successful, should contain a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts and seeds in order to provide you with a plethora of micro and macro nutrients. However, it should also contain a majority of fruits and vegetables that you actually enjoy eating.

If you're new to plant-based foods, the process of becoming fully plant-based is a lot easier if you can incorporate more of the foods you like. Forcing yourself to consume foods that you dislike will only demotivate you and provide you with less reason to adopt a plant-based diet.

However, there…

How a calm mind, an energised body and a happy heart helps you experience life to the fullest

an image showing a woman enjoying the sunshine
an image showing a woman enjoying the sunshine
Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

Life is one big experience. Whether you’re someone who lives life to the full or someone who enjoys the smaller things in life, these experiences can be amplified when your mind is clear, your body is energised, and your heart is filled full of happiness.

However, life isn’t always easy and our work-life balance alongside our relationships with technology, social media and other digital services means we now have less time to check-in with ourselves and afford ourselves the luxury of some much needed “me time”.

Our busy mind

For many, our minds are never truly free from the stressors of modern-day life…

How I organise a high number of client design files which all share one central UI Library

An image depicting a Sketch file system
An image depicting a Sketch file system
Organising Sketch files

Over recent years, Sketch’s popularity and capability has grown, especially as almost each major release has brought with it the enhanced ability to power multiple interfaces by a central library of symbols. As these features have advanced, the laborious task of organising files, whether these files are local or now making use of Sketch Cloud, has become burdensome.

Introducing our product

Our product is a large, multi-tenant, white-label system used within the insurance domain. The product I work with is designed using Sketch and is driven by a central UI Library, within which, all interface elements and controls are displayed and defined with…

How minimising my mobile made my mobile more valuable than ever before

An image of an iPhone sitting empty on a surface
An image of an iPhone sitting empty on a surface
Photo by James McKinven on Unsplash

Being someone in my mid-30’s I lived in a world before mobile phones dominated the mainstream consumer. I remember what it was like to be bored. I remember having faith in friends to remember an arranged rendezvous. And I remember a world without Google, Facebook. Instagram and Twitter.

Being someone in my mid-30’s I experienced first-hand how Nokia and Snake changed the world for thousands of college and university students. I remember Orange introducing their 5 free daily SMS tariff which removed the need to blindly call around a friend’s house to discover if they were home.

Being someone in…

How a chapter from ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ changed my approach to all design problem solving.

An image of a measuring wooden triangle that depicts the manual art of problem solving
An image of a measuring wooden triangle that depicts the manual art of problem solving
Photo by Dawid Małecki on Unsplash

In the field of design, whether this be physical design such as industrial or digital design such as UI/UX, problems exist and without the act of writing down our personal observations and potential causes of these problems, we can easily get lost in our thought process of solution.

We’re afforded many tools to help us overcome problems that exist within our digital design space, yet before we interact with such tools, we must first engage our brain and attempt to solve these problems using our mental capacity.

Problem solving often requires logic and logic is constructed from two types; inductive…

I now have a lot less waste and a lot more time

Photo by Simone Hutsch on Unsplash

Having adopted a minimalist lifestyle for more than eighteen months now, meaningful shifts in my life have become easier to identify. Minimalism is analogous to a diet at first. Positive changes are noticed almost immediately but unlike many popular diets, minimalism is a tool that offers long-term sustainable health benefits. Following the initial six-month period of being a minimalist, new ideas and routines cemented themselves into daily habits. When such patterns are regularly repeated, day after day, week after week, it is a rewarding process identifying and comparing new routines with old ones.

How I live my life now is…

Simple organisation methods that helped me take control of my email

My inbox at 7:20am Sunday 16th Feb 2020

Having read many articles on the benefits of having a zero inbox, I wanted to explore this for myself. My primary goals were to:

  • Reduce email noise
  • Improve email organisation
  • Act deliberately with each new email
  • Remove subscription email that do not add value

So, this is how I set about the challenge…

I deleted all email prior to 2019

This was where I started. Needing to reduce email volume in front of my eyes, I did this to give myself a head start and to remove the fear of deleting emails that I thought I might need in a hypothetical future. In reality, I’m unlikely to…

Our screen is an information channel that dictates the volume of information we can send to the user.

An image of an iMac, iPhone stencils and a macbook depicting different device types
An image of an iMac, iPhone stencils and a macbook depicting different device types
Photo by UX Store on Unsplash

Our approach to interface design has changed dramatically since the rise of mobile devices. Overtime, responsive layouts have become increasingly popular and along with them, “simple design” has become a recognised term.

Simple design

Simple design or design simplicity is an approach that sits behind the design paradigm — mobile first design. In practise it is wide reaching as it touches on user research, design approach, design intent and final delivery. It’s the idea that if a design is simple enough to work on a mobile, then its success will translate to a desktop. …

Paul Wallas

UI & UX Designer. Passionate about design, health & fitness and wellbeing.

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