Blinker Profiles: Meet Ankitha Bharadwaj

Blinkers are an interesting and dynamic group of people. Each Blinker is carefully selected to join the team because we understand how he or she will positively contribute to our culture and work. And while we do post Blinker Bios on our website, we thought we’d go a little further and profile our Blinkers on our blog. Today we’d like you to get to know Ankitha Bharadwaj, a user researcher with a love of crosswords.

Everyone arrives at Blink along his or her own path. What path brought you here? Tell us about your journey.

While at the University of Washington’s HCDE program, hearing the Blink name was pretty commonplace. Many Blinkers have taught in the program, and the company is an enthusiastic champion of UX on campus. So I realized fairly early on that Blink was the place to be if I wanted to grow as a user researcher. With a little persistence, I managed to squeeze my way through those big glass doors and landed myself an informational interview. One thing led to another and here we are, a year and half later. Cheers to many more years to come!

Blink UX coffee mug sitting on desk with a bamboo planet beside it.

Ankitha’s daily cup of tea at her desk.

We are all encouraged to focus on an area of Thought Leadership here at Blink. Will you talk about your area?

I spend my free time thinking about a couple of topics:

First, I’m fascinated by how my fellow enigmatic Millennials use (and abuse) technology. My friends hesitate to take me out in public because I inevitably begin grilling everyone I meet about their Snapchat processes, Netflix decision-making, and Tinder strategies.

I double majored in cognitive science and philosophy back in undergrad. This dual focus got me quite interested in artificial intelligence (AI), specifically the philosophical underpinnings. After further immersing myself in human-centered design and engineering, this interest has now extended to how AI can lend itself to stellar user experience. I’m also interested in understanding how best to test the usability of AI technologies. Looks like I have to build myself a Turing machine!

Who or what motivates you right now? What’s causing the greatest impact on the way you work/live/think?

My unrelenting curiosity about humans and our decision-making processes is my greatest motivator. This curiosity helps me think more deeply about my clients’ problems and helps me develop targeted usability or user research session guides so we can all leave the office feeling like we know a little more about why people do the things they do.

When you’re not at Blink, where would we find you? And what would you be doing?

I enjoy discovering different parts of my world. You may find me in Bellingham, or Portland, or San Diego, or Beijing, or Colombo. But most likely you’ll find me enjoying the Emerald City’s finest beer and making memories with my friends.

Chowmallah Palace: large, ornate, white building with many archways

Pictured: Chowmahalla Palace, from a recent trip Ankitha took to Hyderabad, India for work.

Lastly, if you set out on a long voyage at sea and could only bring one book to read, what book would you select? Why?

The first book that comes to mind is “The Hobbit.” I first read this classic the summer before my freshman year of high school, and it was the catalyst that helped me realized my interest in reading. From that point, I was hooked on George Orwell, Joseph Campbell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. After coming to Blink, we started a book club that has further expanded my horizon. Maybe I can get them onboard to tackle the rest of Tolkien’s work.

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