The Workchop Conversations is an ongoing series of conversations with different players in both the law, tech & justice tech space, sharing about their work and innovative role within the space, promoting access to justice in Africa.
This week, we have Adebukola Ibirogba, a trained lawyer and product designer with a specific interest in designing practical, user-centered solutions. In addition, she is a self-taught digital artistic and content designer. Adebukola has a passion for art, tech and everything in between. When she’s not designing tech solutions, you can find her watching tech reviews or listening to her favorite podcasts.
Tell us briefly about your transition from law to product design. What challenges did you have to overcome?
Tech has always fascinated me. I was so fascinated by tech that my final-year long essay at the University of Ibadan was focused on how the law could be used in safeguarding the rights of software developers.
As a law student, I had explored Art as a side hustle during my days as an undergraduate at the University of Ibadan, it was my first love and I consistently explored ways to make more out of it. I practiced Law during my year-long NYSC service in Enugu and felt I would practice once I moved back to Lagos. After I returned to Lagos, finding a job was not as easy as I thought. I decided that I was going to explore content design and digital art.
It was during my internship at Webcoupers Consultancy; a digital agency, that I heard about Product Design for the first time. I remember reading about it and experiencing a lightbulb moment. I had finally found a path that merged my passion for art and tech.
My transition from Law to Product Design has not been the smoothest. I had quite a few detours and stops along the way. The most prominent challenge was the fact that I had zero knowledge of product design beforehand. I’ve had to do quite a lot of learning, re-learning and unlearning to gain as much traction in as little time as possible.
Walk us through a typical workday as a product designer. What does the role entail?
If I had to explain what a typical workday of a product designer looks like, I’d say that there is no such thing as a “typical” day. As a designer, your schedule highly depends on the projects you are working on and the phases they are in. Based on this, there are a lot of days I might overwork while other days can be quite relaxing.
7 am: Resume at my workspace (a cosy corner in my living room) after prayers, a quick shower and a large cup of water.
8 am: Get ready for the day; catch up with some of my emails from the previous day and make a to-do list for the day. I also note down the progress of the past projects to know how I will manage my daily schedule.
9 am – 10 am: Join team stand-up meetings to report on the progress of the projects I’m working on, the challenges being faced and my schedule for the week.
11 am : Start working on different designs and projects.
12 pm : Take a break of 10-15 minutes, stretch my legs and get lunch. I check my phone for any pending messages and get back to work. I utilize this hour to gather inspiration, apply my knowledge, brainstorm ideas and create baselines.
1 – 2 pm : Focus on minute details of the design.
3 pm : Share the designs with my team and collaborate where necessary
4 pm : Take notes from my team and extend the work.
5-9 pm : Implement the suggestions given by my team and colleagues to my designs.
10 pm : Wind up my work around 10 pm and submit everything to my teams.
By now, you can see that the life of a UX designer can be pretty challenging and hectic. It’s ever-changing, based on collaborations and it’s all about learning and re-learning.
What would you wish to have done differently in your journey?
I wish I had ventured into tech early enough, probably during my undergraduate days.
Any advice for legal professionals looking to get into tech full-time? For newbie product designers, what books or videos will you recommend?
Research endlessly. Don’t be intimidated by the monolith that tech seems to be. If you think you deserve a seat at the tech table, you probably do. There are a lot of new non-code roles opening up everyday and there is definitely something for everybody.
For newbie product designers, being a newbie myself, I’ve found YouTube very helpful in learning new design trends and honing my skills. I’ve also found some Instagram accounts that have pushed me to try new things.
If you’re working on building your portfolio, look for projects that you can contribute to or look for a problem that needs a practical solution and design a solution that meets that need.
What would you never be caught doing on a weekend?
Traipsing all over Lagos. My week is always so busy and my weekends are often reserved for rest and movies.
Funny question, you are a new addition to the crayon box, what colour would you be?
Who would you like to answer these questions?