Hello! I'm Bobbu Abadeer Senior Design Wizard

A picture of Bobbu Abadeer

They/them

I've been doing design stuff professionally since 2006.

These days I tend to go by the titles of Senior UX Consultant or Senior Product Designer, but my ideal job title is probably Lead Design Wizard.

I am deeply passionate about creating enjoyable, accessible experiences that have a positive impact on the world.

Download my CV

or view my CV online via Figma

Areas of expertise

UX Design

Crafting a product or service with the goal of providing the people who use it with a useful, delightful, constructive and pain-free experience. If done well, UX design is invisible.

This includes things like understanding use cases and user needs, designing desired user journeys, as well as creating wireframes and prototypes. It can also involve formulating personas, facilitating co-creation workshops, and eloquently presenting convincing design reasoning to stakeholders.

UI Design

Creating user interfaces that are accessible, discoverable, appropriate to the use cases, and enjoyable for the target audience.

Creating style guides, design systems, medium-to-high fidelity interface prototypes all fall under the remit of UI design. If you can create coded prototypes and design with practical code considerations in mind (which I can) then even better.

User Research

Gathering the appropriate quantitive and qualitative information to identify, assess, test, and validate design hypotheses and decisions.

This may involve gathering direct information gathering such as user interviews and analytics; or indirect methods like ethnographic studies and public datasets. Analysing this data and providing insights to inform designers and other decision-makers is another crucial part of this skill-set.

Content Design

Crafting the written elements of a product or service, and the identity around it.

This often involves identifying and/or defining the required tone and voice, taxonomic structure, SEO considerations, and writing copy to suit all of these. It can also mean designing information architecture, content strategies and even engagement drives.

Visual Design

Making the visual assets used to communicate meaning, tone, intent and appeal to the people experiencing the product or service.

Brand design, photography, image editing, digital painting, vector artwork and colour theory all play their part in a good graphic designer's arsenal. Which is lucky for me, because these were literally my main work for some of my freelance years.

Service Design

Sculpting end-to-end processes that best serve the confluence of user and business needs.

Service designers will commonly build artifacts such as service blueprints, journey maps, and strategy documents. Communication and decision-making skills are crucial to this role, as it often involves being the bridge between other design fields, development teams, and senior stakeholders.

Ethical Analysis

An increasingly urgent aspect of the design landscape that works to ensure minimisation of risks, mitigates potential harms, and maximises the positive impact of what we create.

This involves employing relatively new tools such as consequence scanning and ethical canvases; as well as a solid understanding of ethical & meta-ethical theory, broad knowledge of relevant legal actions, and a strong moral compass. My background in philsophy comes in very handy here.

Skills list

For the people who prefer information in lists instead of narratives, here's an alphabetised list of my core skills and areas of expertise. So you can hit that old ctrl+F shortcut to easily see if something's in my skillset.

  • Abstract
  • Accessible design
  • Adobe creative suite
  • Agile methodology
  • Analytics analysis
  • Atomic design
  • Audience research
  • Azure DevOps
  • Behavioural analysis
  • Branding
  • Co-creation workshops
  • Coded prototyping
  • Colour theory
  • Competitor analysis
  • Consequence scanning
  • Content architecture
  • Conversation design
  • CSS
  • Data analysis
  • Data flow diagrams
  • Developer wrangling
  • Empathy mapping
  • Ethical canvases
  • Figma
  • Guerilla user testing
  • HTML
  • Iconography
  • Invision
  • Jira
  • Lean UX
  • Mentoring
  • Online ethnography
  • Object Oriented UX
  • Pain-point analysis
  • Performance optimisation
  • Personas
  • Presenting
  • Requirements gathering
  • Responsive design
  • Risk assessments
  • Roadmapping
  • Scrum mastery
  • SEO
  • Service blueprints
  • Sketch
  • Stakeholder management
  • Story boarding
  • Style guides
  • Teaching
  • Tone and voice documentation
  • Typography
  • User advocacy
  • User interviews
  • User journeys
  • User stories
  • Version control
  • WCAG standards
  • Wireframing
  • Wordpress
  • Zeplin

Digital Transformation Case Study

This case study is a summary of the activities I took part in during a two-year stretch as a senior UX consultant on a government-sponsored project. I cannot disclose the identity of the client for security reasons, and all details in the images have been altered or obscured to ensure the integrity of the finished work.

I have not made a distinction between my own exact role in the activities described, or which were my own idea. The team worked together as a collaborative unit, and so claiming sole ownership of any particular elements would be disingenuous. I contributed to all activities described, owning some and assisting with others. It is intended to describe a positive design process that I would repeat again (after applying some learnings, of course), and stand as an exmaple of the depth of experience I have.

The Challenge

A system for criminal background checks needed to retire their legacy application and processing system. This included resolving a large number of requirements, including:

  • Bring a decades-old digital interface into line with a modern design system, while developing that design system.
  • Transform a mostly paper-based processing system into a primarily digital service.
  • Create positive, efficient experiences for the service users and employees.
  • Ensure protection of sensitive data.
  • Design to reduce errors in important decisions with significant potential impacts.
  • Cater to a wide audience which could potentially include anyone.
  • Meet the highest standards for accessibility.

Phase 1 - Understanding the problem

There was a lot of unknowns to make known before we could get very far. Just some of the questions we had to answer:

  • What details are actually needed for processing?
  • Why is each piece of data required?
  • How is each piece of data processed?
  • What fields cause the most problems for users?
  • What fields cause the most problems for employees processing applications?
  • What risks are related to wrongly input data?
  • How do we improve the efficiency and efficacy of these design horrors without causing a huge disruption?
A screenshot of the legacy application form
A screenshot of the legacy application form.
A screenshot of the legacy processing system
A screenshot of the legacy processing system.

User research

We set about finding out the answers to those questions from a user-focused perspective, using all the tools we could apply to the problem:

  • Scripted and unscripted user interviews with volunteer users.
  • Engaging partner companies with experience working with users.
  • Assessing the analytics data we had on current applications.
  • Home visits with known service users with disabilities.
  • Online ethnography and other desk research.
  • Open discussions with customer support staff about frequently encountered problems.
  • Card sorting with processing staff.
  • Data collation and analysis
  • Presentation of things like needs maps, pain maps, and personas.
One of our MVP-focused user needs maps.
One of our MVP-focused user needs maps.

Business analysis

Accompanying the user research, we also needed firm business requirements to ensure that what we built would perform the functions required of it:

  • Workshops with senior stakeholders and subject matter experts (including employees).
  • Shadowing employees while they worked.
  • Examining legal documents and confirming applicable constraints.
  • Building a prioritised backlog of features.
The remains of one of our workshops exploring the application processing decision-making journey
The remains of one of our workshops exploring the application processing decision-making journey.

Phase 2 - Designing something better

The core design team consisted of user researchers, UX &UI designers, service designers, developers and BAs. We also ran regular co-design workshops to include senior stakeholders, SMEs and an employee focus group, to ensure everyone understood and agreed to the end result.

One of my inital sketched user journeys for the application
One of my inital roughly sketched user journey maps for the application.

Service design

This was a complex system, including multiple application types with different information, standards of validation, assurance processes, and final results for each. We knew that just replacing the existing service like-for-like would replicate the existing problems, wo we engaged in a lengthy process of service design to put our learnings to use. This process was tightly entwined with the rest of the design team, and produced extremely useful results:

  • As-is service maps
  • New service blueprints
  • Experience maps
  • Pain point prioritisation
  • Risk assessments
  • Strategy assessments and proposals
An example of the detail captured in our experience mapping
An example of the detail captured in our experience mapping.

UX design

With a wealth of data to feed our designer brains, we worked collaboratively to produce a comprehensive array of design artefacts:

  • User journey maps
  • Wireframes
  • Paper prototypes
  • Clickable prototypes
  • Coded prototypes
  • Rationale maps to explain design decisions
An early wireframe, which became a paper prototype during guerilla testing
An early wireframe, which became a paper prototype during guerilla testing.

UI design

Designing for a system that included public-facing and employee-facing elements needed a complex and expansive design system. We produced a bespoke Sketch library based on Atomic Design and the GDS, managed by Abstract and accessible by Zeplin. This created an efficient collaboration workflow not only within the design team, but also with the different development departments.

A high level view of the WIP design library
A high level view of the WIP design library.

Validation

We took multiple steps to validate our discoveries and designs as we progressed, including:

  • Guerrilla testing paper prototypes.
  • SME workshops.
  • Employee drop-in sessions.
  • Anonymous surveys.
  • Live A/B testing.
  • Scripted interviews.
Some of our WIP high-fidelity wireframes
Some of our WIP high-fidelity clickable prototypes.

Stakeholder communications

The project had numerous senior stakeholders, including staff team managers, product owners, heads of department, and government ministers, who all needed to be kept up to date with progress. We achieved this through several channels:

  • Regular show and tells.
  • Service design reviews.
  • Project management updates.
  • Dashboard screens around the office displaying data from multiple sources.
  • Scrum ceremony engagement.

Phase 3 - Delivering the right solution

After exhaustive research and design cycles, we had solutions that needed building. Fortunately, we had been able to bring the development teams along for much of the design process, including their feedback to reduce the difficulty of the handover. But even tighter collaboration was necessary to get the approved designs built. We needed to make sure that what was delivered was correctly communicated, but also that it would be released in a way that made coherent sense. We did this mainly through:

  • User story refinement sessions
  • Sprint planning
  • Release planning

Development

Our collaboration with the developers didn't end with that, though. We took an active part in development and assurance process:

  • Co-writing test scenarios
  • Performing manual quality assurance testing
  • Performing design reviews on delivered code
  • Consulting on any unclear requirements, or overlooked scenarios
Some of the code I wrote (don't worry, it didn't get into production)
Some of the code I wrote (don't worry, it didn't get into production).

Iteration

Nothing was considered completed the first time it was developed. After rolling out each release of new features, testing was performed to capture any unexpected problems. This included:

  • Setting relevant, measurable KPIs
  • Building analytics dashboards to track performance
  • Monitoring incoming applications for issues
  • Identifying problems and their causes
  • Re-designing and re-validating new solutions
  • Adjusting the agile project plan to account for new backlog additions
  • Assisting with bug triage

Project Summary

So, when it was all said and done, what did we achieve?

  • Passed the GDS assessment with flying colours.
  • Simplified complex processes to increase efficiency and allow for a leaner processing team.
  • Empowered employees to enhance their responsibilities and reduce friction points in their working methods.
  • Migrated sensitive data from outdated on-site solutions to a highly secure, heavily automated cloud platform.
  • Replaced paper applications with digital and assisted digital applications for all but very fringe cases.
  • Produced some of the first trans-inclusive government-standard research into collecting sensitive data online.
  • Contributed new and improved components to the GDS.
  • Created a system trusted and enjoyed by public and employees alike, even in the face of massive changes.
  • Developed a complex, multi-part, multi-format system while improving consistency and efficiency.
The finished responsive application form
The finished responsive application form.
A part of the finished processing system
A part of the finished processing system.

Testimonials

Here's some quotes from folks who I've had the pleasure of working with over the past few years, so you know I'm not just blowing my own trumpet.

Bobbu's skills and experience combined with their ability to absorb new information quickly and adapt to the environment allowed them to hit the ground running. They didn't shy away from getting stuck in and taking responsibility for complex designs from day 1 despite any challenges, such as lack of access to the client's systems.
Bobbu has also made a positive impact to the project by helping to improve the client's ways of working, such as breaking silos by working closely with the development team.
Drawing on their varied experience, Bobbu has lead requirements gathering for future design deliverables which has been hugely helpful.
BJSS business analyst in 2021 peer review
  • Bobbu's can-do attitude combined with their candid and respectful approach have been a breath of fresh air especially on a demanding project like this (although they would probably say they've had more challenging gigs in the past!)
  • Bobbu's breadth and depth of skills and experience and has allowed them to contribute to a number of areas on the project (from hands-on digital designs to requirements gathering).
  • Bobbu's commitment to deliver high quality work despite tight deadlines and challenges has been evident by the progress made on design deliverables in the short time they have been on the project.
BJSS business analyst in 2021 peer review
Bobbu has shown amazing respect and collaboration with the team, they are very open and honest in their communication and are extremely professional when they represent BJSS with clients. Bobbu doesn't just take information and process it, they take time to question, challenge; and they use their experience and knowledge to drive creativity.
BJSS delivery manager in 2021 peer review
Their interaction design came to the fore when making this particular product. Judges were impressed by how they built the technical groundwork in the team, and applied this against inconvenient human factors - and by their enthusiasm.
EDF Energy Powerhack 2018 judges, awarding Bobbu 'Spirit of the Hack'
Bobbu is possibly *the most* open, honest, respectful and thoughtful person I've met, in or outside work, in my many years on the planet. A++++++++++++++. Would work with again.
BJSS developer in 2019 peer review
Bobbu is one of the most open people I've worked with and has a high degree of integrity. Bobbu is very honest about their strengths and weaknesses and while this takes courage, it really does allow the team to support each other and work towards common goals.
BJSS business analyst in 2020 peer review
Bobbu is an asset to a team due to their thoughtful approach to improving working practices and making sure all team members are heard and taking into account when suggesting new ideas.
BJSS squad lead in 2020 annual review
Bobbu is very proactive with their contribution to the BJSS culture outside of their day-to-day role and this is recognised and appreciated.
BJSS squad lead in 2019 annual review
Bobbu has received a wide range of positive feedback from clients and peers alike across the themes below:
  • Dedication to the role, team and client and acting with integrity
  • Technical ability; their experience as a developer means they can seamlessly design and explain requirements to dev teams
  • Passion for UX and creativity in delivering solutions but also structuring engaging workshops and group sessions
  • Ability to fulfil responsibilities above their role such as Delivery Management, Scrum Mastering and resolving live issues
  • Relationship building and client management
Bobbu has also done very well in:
  • Communicating Ethics in the workplace to a wider BJSS audience
  • Upskilling themselves and their peers in GDS and UX prototyping
  • The Academy and mentoring
  • Meetups and other forums
BJSS 2019 annual review summary