#MeetTheSketchers: Anezka's on a mission!

#MeetTheSketchers is a series to put a face to the humans behind Sketchnote! This week, meet Anezka Virani!

MeetTheSketchers is a series to put a face to the humans behind Sketchnote! Here's a chance to get to know the people who make the product tick, and see what makes THEM tick!

The design head at Sketchnote is nothing if not versatile! Having had experience in social media marketing, as an analyst, Anezka Virani casually drops, "Did you know I can code?" in conversations to surprise everyone listening in. Also the  co-founder of the design studio Hucentric, it's Anezka's mission to turn design into a cornerstone of business and product processes in India. A tête-à-tête with the bubbly new addition to team Sketchnote!

What got you interested in UI and UX design?
When I was in college, I did an internship where I was hired as an ML engineer. It was a data analytics platform. While I could code, I didn't really enjoy it. What I would intuitively do is point out things on the platform that seemed a little off. I found myself making sketches and rough wires on paper and sending them to developers! At that point, I didn't know it was called wireframing. I would even make palettes for their graphs and send them across. After some further research, I realized this was a potential career choice. After that internship, I properly started studying and made it a career!

You've done a bit of social media, were an analyst, and now have your own design service—what's been your experience here like?
As someone who's running a studio, my experience has been very helpful for me. I know a fair bit of tech; I can code, but I choose not to. Plus I've done social media among other things. It helps me talk to people in different departments in companies. With the content team, I can talk about your work but I can also talk to the tech team about technicalities. Similarly, I can talk to co-founders about business fundas like what to do if the retention rate is going down. I can do a mix of strategy, tech, social media and more! It helps me make more holistic designs.

Anezka with two cups of coffee, mid-sentence
Anezka can frequently be found discovering new cafes across Mumbai with a book handy for company

What made you believe in Sketchnote's work?
In my time, I've seen a lot of startups not shipping features for as long as two years; they don't interact with their users either. The product isn't shaping up as fast. With Sketchnote it was different. First and foremost, I loved the chill vibe of the team—a great bunch of people to work with! Secondly, the product itself was important. The way the team has interacted with users and implemented the users' voice itself into insights into building and shipping features was a compelling reason for me to join. Plus it was a fast-paced environment. I've worked with a lot of B2B corporates—their environment is very slow, and they have a lot of processes in place. But with Sketchnote, it was fast. We do a lot of iterations that help me evaluate my designs a lot faster.

What do you do for fun?
I love cooking! I usually look up recipes to work on, and ones I can make with the most limited of ingredients at home. I'm not an artist and don't understand what art is but I love painting mandalas! Also, I love exploring cafes across the city. So I'll go to a new cafe, read a book and just be!

What's your next big challenge?
In India, I've noticed that a lot of companies don't really understand UX design. They don't integrate design with their development or business. It's always siloed. Their product strategy is mainly from a business perspective and with very few designers at the table. With my company Hucentric and at Sketchnote too, we're combining perspectives so that design actually becomes a part of the development process and people start understanding the value of design to shape up their products. This is my current and future challenge with clients of all sorts!

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