New Delhi, India 🇮🇳
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#034

Ankush Saxena

Senior Product Designer

I'm Ankush, a self-taught Product Designer in New Delhi, India. I currently work in the fintech space, but have worked in e-commerce, gaming and communication spaces.
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Where are you based as a UX/UI designer?

New Delhi, India 🇮🇳

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What led you into UX/UI design?

I started my job in QA for a chat application that aimed to unify people's Facebook Messenger, G-Talk and SMS conversations into a single window for each of their contacts. This was a startup, so I did a lot of user-research activities apart from my usual work.

My manager was a Product Manager and Interaction designer, and I found his role super interesting. We frequently had conversations around product and design that I absolutely loved. So, when an opportunity to work in a product and design role came up, I applied and got through. For the next 4 years, I worked as a Product Manager and interaction designer on a bunch of interesting consumer products.

Then, I left and took a sabbatical to figure out a bunch of things –– career direction being one of them. I emerged from it with a case study that got me a job as a lead designer at India's largest online travel portal.

I've worked as a full-time designer since.

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Why are you a UX/UI designer?

I've always been curious about what makes people tick. Why we make the decisions we do, what are the biggest problems we face, and how we go about solving them. People are fascinating. Understanding them is like solving a puzzle or a problem. And, design is all about problem-solving.

Learning to understand an audience, a challenge that we want to solve for them, and then creating a solution and watching the impact is very interesting and motivating –– that's why I'm a designer.

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What does a typical day look like for you?

I wake up around 5, meditate, journal and workout. The pandemic was a good opportunity to explore bodyweight workouts and now I find them better than going to a gym.

I put out food for a visiting neighbourhood cat, make breakfast, read a bit, and get started with the rest of my day. I try to wrap up creative work before noon, and I reserve afternoons and evenings for meetings.

I do my dishes and cleaning once the workday is over. Sometimes, I play a bit of piano to unwind –– I'm taking lessons these days.

Then, I read a bit more or catch up with a friend, and end up going to bed around 9:30 PM.

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What is your current desk setup?

  1. A 32" 4K BenQ monitor to let me keep multiple windows open in a single view.
  2. Apple Macbook Pro 16".
  3. Magic Mouse.
  4. Magic Keyboard.
  5. A MiTV box that's hooked up to the monitor along with a speaker so I can use it like a TV when I want.
  6. An ASUS router that keeps everything together.
  7. A Sony hard disk that's connected to the router to work as online storage for whatever I want.
  8. (Sometimes) the neighbourhood cat that drops by.

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And your Workstation setup across devices?

I use Figma, Slack and Zoom for work and coordination.

Notion for taking notes, to-do lists and tracking my workouts.

Firefox is my browser of choice, paired with DuckDuckGo as main search.

Spotify keeps me going through my day (and also when I'm having a house party with friends)!

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What work are you most proud of?

Nothing in particular, actually. I've worked on niche products as well as interfaces that are used by millions of people. It humbles me, knowing how my work goes out to so many. I don't think we can fully comprehend the scale of our impact as designers. I use this to try and be as thoughtful as possible when it comes to design decisions.

In my spare time, I like to work on DIY projects. One of the projects I like is making glass tumblers out of empty alcohol bottles.

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Which Product recently blew your socks off?

I'm a sucker for interesting Kickstarter projects, they can be really innovative and inspirational. My latest acquisition is a new-age musical instrument called Orba by Artiphon (https://artiphon.com/pages/orba-by-artiphon).

Music impacts me deeply, so making music excites me and lets me exercise my creative muscle in a different way. Orba lets me do that at my own pace and even while on the go.

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What challenges do you face as a UX/UI Designer?

  1. Educating stakeholders about what I do and why it's valuable.
  2. Updating my portfolio (I haven't done it in a long time).
  3. Figuring out which areas to uplevel in –– there are just so many different ways a designer can specialise.

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What tunes do you listen to whilst designing?

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Three suggestions for budding designers?

  1. Always stay curious about new products and features.
  2. Always question, never assume.
  3. Cultivate empathy by listening carefully.

Thanks for reading my story!

New Delhi, India 🇮🇳

Ankush Saxena

Senior Product Designer

Fancy a coffee?

I'd love to grab a coffee and chat about
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