Posts by Akash Krishnan

UI/UX Designer || Web Developer || Open Source Enthusiast || Bash King || Speedcuber || Amritian || Indian

Why people move from Engineering to Design?

Someone like me with an engineering degree, and design career could be the right person to answer this question.

Before answering to why into design, ask yourself why not engineering?

I was never passionate about computer programming, I never cared about my academics in fact, and yet managed to get a degree.

Major is one level of filter to give you a vision for your career. If you are able to look beyond it then go for it. Today, not everyone who is successful has a degree in the major they were passionate about.

Things changed to them, because they tried. Vision is yet another important aspect, but many don’t see it even after the early career period, which is okay just keep trying.

Now if you are thinking that why have not I continued my career in engineering then read the complete blog to know about it.

Why design?

When I was a sophomore, I used to do web-programming in bits and pieces; I had taken a variety of electives to find my interests.

In fact – I have been into cyber security, competitive coding, yoga, sports, cultural club, tea conversations, social media, photography, swimming, cooking, public speaking, riding bikes and motorbikes, travelling, partying, chilling with friends, talking to myself, and a million more things.

Believe me, you would have also done that. Because we all are curious at some point of time.

Time passed, and I did whatever I thought could be interesting to me.

Design was one of such choices. I started design because I had given up on programming already, it was all the same and not interesting to me anymore after a period of time. And I don’t care if I give up on something that’s no more interesting to me, I do things which make me happy and help to grow my knowledge.
So was Engineering a waste of time for you?

Nothing is a waste of time ever. It’s all an investment, sometimes it’s best for you, and sometimes it may not be. 

Any knowledge is not a waste of time, it’s just that it will take some time for you to realise the importance of it.

Finally!! Answer to the first question – Why people move from Engineering to Design?

Ans: Design is no different from Engineering, it’s also one form of Engineering. Some people design with data, and some people design the data.

I don’t regret any decisions I made in life, in fact I’m happy.

Summarising this post – Today, with all my knowledge – I can design the data, as well as design from the data. I’m a researcher, designer, developer and many more pending to explore.

Source for the featured image: Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Rajasthan Hackathon 4.0 (Jaipur)

First time, any such big hackathon with 5000+ participants, it was exciting after getting shortlisted to participate. One great learning experience, and opportunity to ideate and develop Video-Syncer ( – a software to share and sync any video format files in a local network.

We were two teams from my University with two members in each team, planned it like a code-event + trip. The schedule was like – one day for the pre-events + 36 hours hackathon + one day for the prize distribution and the rest 3 days to travel around Jaipur.

The journey started from my University place (Kerala), travelled in almost every type of public transport to reach Jaipur via Delhi.

And we reached the hackathon place – Rajasthan University, parallelly there were various pre-events happening, like – 5kms marathon, dance, art-fest, etc. We were tired of travelling all the way, so could not participate in any of the pre-events, and prepared for the night-out for the hackathon.

After a good sleep and food, the hackathon started and went up till the next 36 hours straight. And our work had begun by the time. It took us more time to sort the project rather than to code it. Hard it was but fun too.

It was amazing to explore the Rajasthani customs during the event as well, got to interact with a bunch of geeks, made many friends.

36 hours passed away smoothly, it was not easy but we could finish the work and submit it before the deadline. Thanks to my teammate Akhileshwar Maurya to assist me with this project.

Results were announced the next day and we were not in any of the lists of winning teams. Chill! Winning is not important always, experience matters the most.

Soon after the event, we decided to drop the luggage at the Moustache hotel (check out their website for more details). I must say that the hostel was amazing and quite affordable, got to meet people from all over the world visiting Jaipur. It took us three days to explore almost all the tourist spots at Jaipur, and do some shopping, like – Bapu Bazar – I personally recommend this place, you get to see the tradition and beauty of Rajasthan. Signing-off with this, I hope you are planning a trip to Jaipur soon.


Student Social Responsibility Project

Counselling the careers of India’s future

Place: Amrita Vidyalayam, Puthiyakavu, Kollam kerala


  • Provide broad aspects of various career fields.
  • Spread knowledge about the latest technologies.
  • Make students career driven.


  • Counselling sessions for teachers and students.
  • One to one counselling.
  • Illustrating the importance of passion in one’s career.


  • Insufficient awareness about various career fields available today.
  • Don’t know one’s passion (interests).
  • Don’t know the right direction and correct path to move on.


3 – 4 hours a day, and the event lasted for 2 days.


  • Taking more such sessions in the near future.
  • Motivating the youth to contribute to the nation’s growth.
  • Gather feedback and monitor students periodically.
  • Implement this project on larger scale.


The overall experience was enlightening for us, and the students as well. For students, it was a naive experience to know about the preparations for their career, and it’s always an opportunity to erudite them. Also, serving the right content for such spiffy students was quite exhausting but fun same time.




Winter School on User Experience Design 2017

Winter School on User Experience Design is a crash course on the vast topic of Human-Computer Interaction with a practical lens of learning how to build useful, usable and desirable interfaces. It is being held at IIIT Delhi on 4th -9th December 2017 – who wants to miss such opportunity when it’s happening in your town. I applied at the last moment, and luckily, got the confirmations soon.


  1. Demystifying User Experience, Interaction Design, and HCI
  2. Types of Interfaces: Mobile, Web, Wearable, Virtual Reality
  3. User-Centered Design (UCD) Process
  4. Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods
    • Interviews
    • Field Observations
    • Cognitive Walkthrough
    • A/B Testing
    • Usability Testing
  5. Contextual Inquiry
  6. Brainstorming and bodystorming
  7. Rapid Prototyping: Paper, Video, Corrugated sheets
  8. Information Architecture
  9. Case studies
  10. Emotional design

The event was engaged in a variety of workshops and sessions. Like, morning sessions were more of theory and the evening ones were pragmatic. The primary focus was on User Centric Designs, and so the policy was – user comes first.

Since it was a project-based course, so, at the start of the school, we were divided into groups of 4, which will remain the same until the end of the school. And this’s how it begins –

1. Selecting a problem statement.

[Day 1] Theme of the project was ‘SMART CITY’, and we had to select a problem statement in any one sector in the smart city, like travel, communication, tourism, infrastructure, security, etc. It’s hard to think about a problem without predicting the solutions first, trust me. We ended up giving 5 silly problem statements, out of which, only one was valid and the funniest too. At times, we were confused with the statement – ‘Why humans in the metro cities can’t enjoy nature?!’

2. User Research.

[Day 2] The most fun part – field observation – a survey. So, the major difficulties here were to set the target audience, ask the right set of questions and not to make the user think about fake cases.

A few important points to remember before going to users are – keep the questionnaire ready, you should be clear with the parameters to note from the user, always keep a video or audio recording of the conversation with the user.

Types of the questions for the users were like –

  • How often do they travel?
  • What could be the possible reasons for their traveling/not traveling?
  • What kind of places do they like the most?
  • What do they mean by the word ‘NATURE’?
  • …. etc.

At the end of the day, we got 12 live and 28 online responses. But we were still missing some data and managed to get a few more responses with better questions this time.

3. Brainstorming and Ideation.

[Day 3] A tiring but interesting part, where you arrange all the data and do a cognitive research with user inputs. We divided the data into 4 parts –  problems, needs, types of user and all the keywords that describe NATURE according to the user.

Now, we created a persona and a scenario for every user, with the help of the audio and video recordings of the conversations with the user, to know more about them.

Acting as a typical user and to think accordingly is a major key to the research. Taking a risk to think about the solutions, we noted around 15 different ideas, where every idea was equally important for the user. It’s high time to cluster the ideas, get a feasible and a usable solution.

And our final idea was – Natureye. A VR integrated mobile application with an extra hardware that fits with the VR for the immersive effects, which could also –

  • Locate the user and update with the current climatic changes and air quality of the location.
  • Shows nearby places having good air quality only.
  • Advises the user to schedule their travel plan according to the climate change and change in the air quality of the destination.
  • Getting a virtual experience of nature using a 360-degree view, that’s a VR, with immersive effects like wind, rain, breeziness, etc.

4. Wireframing or low fidelity prototyping – sketching.

[Day 4] Research part was done, and we started with the pen-paper sketching. We got a few blueprints of the application compatible devices, and we divided the work into each team member equally. As all of us had certain screens to sketch about.

And to make the sketches work, there is a mobile application called POP 2.0, which is available in Google Play Store – no charges too. Basically, this application uses the snaps of the screens we sketched and add the button effects to make the snaps as a single component – kind of a low fidelity prototype.

Meanwhile, for the immersive effect, we tried to integrate a hardware tool with a VR device. And the device is – a small toy fan which also sprinkles water – HAHA, not so funny – it’s prototype dude, and anything is fair in love, war, and prototype. So, I was designing the layout for the hardware part and ended up with a mask kind of device that covers half of the face and a fan can be easily fit in it.

5. Rapid Prototyping

[Day 5] Pre-final phase of the application building process. We worked on a high fidelity prototype of the application using One of my teammate – Ankur (a UI designer) holds an expertise in it, though it was the first time he was using this tool. And I was working on the hardware prototype of the VR integrated device – it’s was very difficult to set the fan in the VR box.

It took us 14 hours (approx) to reach the final product including the presentation slides.

6. Presentation

[Day 6] Finally, it’s show time. All the groups were ready with their products and presentations, so were we. The presentation was fast, as we had to show a demonstration of the application too. And the time frame to present the idea was 8 minutes.

We explained two different scenarios from the user list, one the traveler and other the non-traveler/ less traveler. A showcase of each scenario with the application was made, and the audience and judges really enjoyed the concept.

Eventually, the winter school came to an end with a good south Indian food, a lot of knowledge and goodies, a project, a team, as many connections and memories. Thanks for the read. #WSUX17

Please find my work here –


Installing drupal on a local machine

Running drupal on your local machine will be easy to learn how to use drupal. Moreover, there is no expense to install it like we do in web hosting.


Git should be installed and configured on your machine. If not done, then follow these commands –

$ sudo apt-get install git #installing git
$ git config --global "<username>"        
$ git config --global <email>

Also, you need to install composer before going to the next step. For that follow this one line code –

curl -sS | sudo php -- --install-dir=/usr/local/bin --filename=composer

Some more things to install

sudo apt-get install php5-gd php5-curl libssh2-php

Now you need to install and setup lamp server on your local machine. For that follow my previous post -> Installing LAMP server on ubuntu

Also you need to do some configurations with your apache files and mysql.

First thing is to create a database

mysql -u root -p


CREATE USER drupaluser@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'password';




Now configure apache file –

sudo nano /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini

Check the below conditions are given correctly –

. . .
expose_php = Off
. . .
allow_url_fopen = Off
. . .
sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf

Check whether the below codes match with the file you opened now

<VirtualHost *:80>
    . . .
    DocumentRoot /var/www/html

    <Directory /var/www/html>
        AllowOverride All
    . . .

Now restart your web server to execute the changes you have done in php and apache

$ sudo service apache2 restart

Now, if you have done till now without any issue then clone the desired version drupal repository to /var/www/html. Follow the given syntax –

git clone --branch 8.x

Now, extract the file. Get into the drupal extracted folder ands do composer install.

$ composer install --no-dev

And search for the given address in your browser

http://localhost/"<name of the directory you cloned>"

Hope you gotcha. Just install with your valid database name, username & password.


How to make a USB drive bootable (in Linux distros) ?

Greeting folks,

Things you need to make a bootable USB drive are –

  • a USB drive with minimum 2 GB space
  • a machine with any Linux machine

First, you need to download the desired ISO file.

Once your downloading work is finished, open Disks in your system and select your USB drive.

Now format your USB to fat 32 ( be careful while selecting and formatting your USB ).

Now open Startup disk creator in your machine, select your ISO file and click on Make Startup Disk button. It will take some time, wait till it finishes.

Finally, you are done with it.

Yeah, this method is very easy for beginners but what if someone wants to do through terminal ? Developers might feel to do everything using the terminal, right ?    😛

So developers, open  your terminal and do :

$ sudo apt-get install syslinux mtools

Create a mount point and mount Linux ISO image using the following command.

$ sudo mkdir /media/iso
$ sudo mount -o loop /opt/Ubuntu.iso /media/iso

Now connect your USB. In case it is not mounted the to mount it, do :

$ sudo mount /dev/sdc /medma/usb

Copy all files from mounted iso to the USB drive.

$ sudo cp -ra /media/iso/* /media/usb

Finally, we need to make this USB bootable. Copy ldlinux.sys file to USB drive to make it bootable.

$ sudo syslinux -s /dev/sdd1

Now rename some required files and directories as like below. Navigate to USB drive

$ cd /medma/usb
$ mv isolinux syslinux
$ cd syslinux
$ mv isolinux.cfg syslinux.cfg

Now you can connect this USB to the computer which you need to install Linux operating system and boot it from USB.


Fix : zsh corrupt error


Recently I got an issue, whenever I open my terminal it shows some error that my .zsh got corrupt.

Somewhat like this :

$ zsh: corrupt history file /home/myusername/.zsh_history

How to fix this issue ?

This is due to some error in zsh history.

You just need to copy the following codes in your terminal :

$ cd ~

$ mv .zsh_history .zsh_history_bad

$ strings .zsh_history_bad > .zsh_history

$ fc -R .zsh_history

Now reboot your system

$ sudo reboot


One of my senior suggested me that we don’t have to go so long, we can just simply delete our  ~/.zsh_history. To remove that just follow these codes –





Now that error won’t prompt you. #</HappycOding>