Hello, I'm Paul Townsend!

I'm a skilled user researcher, an insightful UX designer, and an experienced product and program manager. 

I thrive at the intersection of the left and right brain, the technical and creative, the practical and personal. I guide teams and bridge thinking. I bring out the best in people. I create clear, usable, and scalable designs.

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Thought Leadership
Opportunity Identification
Client Engagement
Business Case Creation
Large-Scale Coordination


Customer Insights
Competitive Analysis
Usability Testing
Interview / Survey
Contextual Inquiry

User Experience

Idea Generation
Storyboards / Requirements
Prototyping / Modeling
Data Analysis / Visualization
Information Architecture


I have a keen empathy for the User – the Customer, forged over 16 years at AT&T, where my choices have had impact on over 100 million customers and 75,000 sales and service representatives. I continue to grow this empathy through strategic user research with Fortune 100 and 500 clients at Smashing Ideas where I am now an Associate Director of Strategy.

I believe it's a fast changing world, and I'm excited to help shape its next products and experiences!








I have a thirst for knowledge. My Master's in Human Centered Design & Engineering has fed and informed my passion for user centered design. My Master's in Mechanical Engineering has made me a sharp problem solver. I will always continue learning.



Internally, Paul has contributed a level of industry experience and domain knowledge that has helped us level up our collective abilities as a team.

[With our clients] Paul has demonstrated a gentle confidence, depth of knowledge, and an understanding of the audience that has solidified their trust in him as well as our team.
— Anna Ho, Smashing Ideas, Associate Director of Strategy

I have worked with Paul for the past three years and have developed a tremendous respect for his strategic and analytic qualities. Paul is a leader as well as a collaborative team member; he is gifted in his ability to identify solutions, communicate potential options clearly, and then effectively resolve open issues.
— Jan Allen, AT&T Call Center Operations, Strategic PM

Paul was the principle designer of the new site and worked with the AT&T UX team to create both desktop and mobile mockups that were used throughout the project. As the product owner Paul proved invaluable and his insight was sought on an almost daily basis.
— Gary Puckett, AT&T Digital Experience, Scrum Master

Paul brought his unique, very seasoned, perspective; as an industry professional, as well as a fully engaged student. His observations and input into our course were paramount to the success we had in digging deep into questioning our preconceived notions about science and research, and gave us grounding in real-life scenarios ‘out there’ in the job world.

I fully enjoyed having Paul as a student. As an instructor, we love meeting those students that teach us more than we teach them.
— Dr. Daniella Kim, University of Washington, "Empirical Foundations of HCDE"