Workplace Experience Design and its implications for the fourth industrial revolution

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Despite my smartphone feeding me constant reminders of how screwed humanity might be (hello there, climate change) I’m excited for the future. After doing my work in the rather boring and slowly changing industry of higher education, I spend my spare time reading about the future of human-computer interaction. One thing’s for sure: the future lies in Virtual Reality.

From entertainment, to training to gaming, Virtual Reality is an industry currently valued at just under $18 billion. And it’s not surprising that this industry’s valuation is set to surpass $180 billion in less than half a decade.

The best thing…


Methods I use to design for intention and create better experiences.

A minimal room with a chair and plant
A minimal room with a chair and plant
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While living with few possessions has its awkward moments, it does provide one benefit: this simple way of living applies to every other area of my life.

It’s why my personal philosophy is summed up in 3 words: live with intention. This way of intentional thinking relates to my design philosophy, too.

I have found that too often as designers, we find ourselves grappling with the hard questions:

What is and isn’t necessary to include in the final design?

And how do I communicate this to my stakeholders? Again, the solution is simple: design with intention.

Designing with intention makes…


Useful terms anyone can understand to get the basics down

Photo of man starting at notes on a wall
Photo of man starting at notes on a wall
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When it comes to UX, everyone loves looking at beautiful software. And while we all enjoy the way our favorite software platforms work, there’s one crucial component to the equation that makes such functionality possible: data.

As designers, we all know this. But why do we love the visual part of design so much more than the rigorous research? Even the folks at Intercom are aware of the “Dribbblisation” that UX Design has trended toward as time goes on. Sadly, we tend to overlook the simple fact that the best designs are often the least visually pleasing ones.


How poor outcomes can teach the most important lessons

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A freelancing career can have its share of ups and downs. Sure, you’ll get those good clients — the easygoing ones that are grateful for the work you do, leaving you feeling like you created something that truly matters.

Then, there are the less desirable ones.

The client who expects excellent quality work in a fraction of the time. The client who can’t seem to make up their mind about the result they want. And everyone’s favorite: the client who never pays you and ghosts you without a reason as to why.

These clients all share one thing in common…


Don’t force yourself into these sticky situations

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I’d had enough.

It had already been 3 months. I had completed their new website in the first month and a half. I even did their copywriting. And I don’t mean just their front page — this included building and writing copy for a form so long, scrolling through it felt like a marathon.

As someone with a background in human-centered design, being tasked with this was torture. However, try as a I did, I simply couldn’t convince them otherwise. If you‘re a freelancer, failing to convince a stubborn client with bad taste is likely a situation you have dealt…


The challenges of learning to accept who I am

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I thought I had accomplished everything that was required to be “successful” enough. After all, I had lost the weight, exposed my inner demons for what they were, and learned to accept what I couldn’t control externally.

Or so I thought.

But even after 4 years of consistent self-evaluation, self-development, and self… everything, I still felt alien to the one person I was trying to “improve” upon. Myself.

I realized that my entire “self-improvement” mindset was built upon one fundamental lie that I had been telling myself the entire time. The lie that who I truly am was not acceptable…


The widely touted lifestyle has its benefits — and its social setbacks

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“When people visit you, they’re going to think you’re some kind of serial killer!”

This is what my sister-in-law told me when I mentioned I don’t own any furniture or television sets and don’t plan to own anything of the sort in the future.

It’s a choice that has gotten me a lot of flack from family members. It’s also a conscious choice I made because I realized what is truly important to me: investing my time and money into experiences instead.

You’ve probably heard of this type of lifestyle: Minimalism. It’s a pragmatic style of living brought into the…


A past of struggle can be a blessing and a curse.

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When looking back at the obstacles we overcome, there is one theme that continues to shift as we grow as human beings: our relationship with money.

It’s a complex subject, really — and as someone who grew up in poverty, I have seen money used in some of the most foolish ways imaginable. I also saw my common sense approaches to finances (saving for something I wanted) end in failure (my savings were constantly stolen from me, eroding my sense of security as a child).

Despite those setbacks, what remained unfettered were the timeless lessons I learned about money that…


Methods that transform procrastination into proactivity

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If you’re reading this, you’re the average corporate employee of the 21st century. To put it simply: you do the work of multiple people.

Welcome to 2021, where career burnout has continued to rise, even with the introduction of productivity and project management software to the workplace.

You have a lot of responsibility. You like to think of yourself as kind of a superhuman because of your ability to get so much done. And while your wide range of skills come in handy, you often feel crushed under the weight of work.

Welcome to 2021, where career burnout has continued…


And other observations that can improve your sense of self-worth as 2021 begins

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Sometimes, it is so hard to imagine that we have it all together.

As adults, it seems like we’re expected to learn and process so many new life lessons and experiences — especially in this era of constant change.

Not to mention the psychological struggles we endure: the critical development of our self-image that began in childhood comes under question once again as we are cast into adulthood.

Our sense of direction can become jaded as we begin our careers. On-the-job expectations arise and suddenly, we are faced with the powerlessness of anxiety and imposter syndrome.

While those of us…

Jon Upshaw

I write on productivity, culture, design, entrepreneurship, and life in general.

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