Hello There! I'm Abhinav Sikharam
Phonetically: / aa bh ih n aa v si-ih-kh-ae-r-aa-æm. /
I’m a product designer and systems thinker who thrives at the intersection of data, technology, and creativity while balancing function and form in my designs. I always have the notion of looking at the products from a holistic view, by considering both human needs and business factors. This ideology has paved a path to my thought process to explore design strategies, maintain user-centered design methodologies, and create innovative, usable user interfaces, ensuring optimal user experience.
Currently, Product Designer II at Microsoft. Previously affiliated with Hisense Group, Boardable, Cognizant & VMware, designing Enterprise and Consumer products.
Feel free to connect and collaborate. I'm game to work on interesting projects.
Thanks for taking your time to explore my work! 🙏🏼
How I discovered Design?
I have always been fascinated by Art and hand drawings since my childhood. These initial sketches profoundly impacted my observation skills, and soon my school competitions have nurtured my prototyping and experimenting skills.
Inspired by comics and sci-fi movies, especially The Dexters Laboratory, I use to tinker with stuff and materials that I collect over time. This made me open electronic gadgets, think and explore how they work? what's inside the machine? The initial school days projects paved a path to study logical and system-level thinking and inspired me to contribute to the DIY community. You'll find me doing some random DIY projects during weekends.
Interdisciplinary skills :
This passion turned me towards engineering in electronics and communications. In 4 years of my bachelor's, I started to learn and design multiple projects which can be really used by people. However, the design process was more of an engineering approach. One of my early design projects - BAT, was designed as part of my engineering project, but the actual user had many difficulties with the early prototype. This user testing made me identify my mistakes and taught me the importance of "FEEDBACK" and eventually inspired me towards User-Centered Design.
The aha moment!
I started to search for better approaches and then came across Edx courses on Product design which taught me the design thinking and User-centered approach. These courses have influenced me in moving towards User Experience Design.
The initial struggle
I soon realized that design is not something limited to one genre and it has many disciplines involved within. Design programs were only being offered by a few IIT's (Indian Institute of Technology) and NID (National Institute of Design) in India. I began to prepare for the All India design exams (CEED and NID). Eventually, I made it to interview rounds (Secured an All India Rank - 190 in CEED 2015, The exam was given by more than 10,000 aspirants all over India). Yet, I couldn't secure a seat as I reached the 12th position in the final list with only 10 seats in the Interaction design Program at IIT - Bombay.
User is my STAR - My design Philosophy
Although I was working as a UI/UX Designer, I always wanted to have a traditional design learning process and aspired to do a Master's in Human-Computer Interaction Design. In 2019, I got a chance to join Indiana University as an MS student in the HCI Design program. These last two years were challenging and shaped me as a holistic designer and researcher. I explored different areas of design.
Design Thinking from the Herron Art school,
Design Strategy from the Kelley School of Business,
Data Visualization from the DATA lab - School of Informatics and Computing,
Interaction Design Principles and Methods from the HCI program - SOIC.
Prototyping and IoT User Interfaces Design from the HCI program - SOIC.