So we thought it was about time we introduced our app team. Also known as team Shadaloo (more on that unusual name choice below), they are currently dividing their time between a raft of client projects, pitch work and rocket labs, where they get the chance to experiment with the latest tech innovations to create their own apps.
Initially, the app design and development work that we did for our clients was absorbed by specialists within the main project teams. But, given that the ever-increasing prominence of mobile has led to a growing demand for apps amongst our clients, we soon decided that we'd be able to work more effectively and efficiently if we created a dedicated app team.
Today we chat with Computerlovers Louis, Ben and Tony from the team to find out about the work they're doing, what inspires them and what they're looking for from future team members.
Here at Code, all of the teams get to pick their own name. Yours is Shadaloo -- can you explain why you chose it?
Ben: We're all avid gamers and we wanted a team name that reflected that. So we drew a shortlist of names (each more obscure and geeky than the last...), and eventually settled on Louis' choice.
Louis: Shadaloo is the name of M. Bison's powerful crime organisation in Street Fighter 2. Just to clarify, we've no direct link to a mastermind criminal organisation; the name just makes us laugh whenever we say it.
We know that most of the client work is top secret, but what have you been up to outside of this?
Ben: We've been really busy with client projects, so we've only just started work on our first Code product. Without giving away too much before its big reveal, it's a utility app that will hopefully prove very useful to users, and also open doors into a new industry for us.
Louis: There are already a few similar apps to the one we've created available, but we think they're all really poor in terms of feature, usability and reliability, so we saw an opportunity to create a market leader... And that's all we can say for the moment!
As well as this, we've also been doing some experimental work for Oxfam, looking at interaction between mobile devices and big screens at outdoor events.
Tony: On the technical side, we've been using a lot of the new features of the iOS6 SDK such as custom layouts with CollectionViews, animation using AutoLayout constraints and the new social framework. We've also been looking into some of the new functionality coming in the iOS 7 SDK.
What app work have you seen recently that's inspired you?
Louis: The National Geographic City Guides app is really lovely; there's some beautiful animation and interactivity. And there's a brilliant new iOS iPhone game called Wide Sky. The initial menu system and navigation is really slick, it has a lovely illustration style and there's a nicely quirky tone of voice in the instructional copy that guides you through the play mechanics. The game itself is a little frustrating, but the presentation's impeccable.
What does the future hold for the app team?
Ben: We've been given the pretty unique freedom to work a bit like a micro start-up within Code. So as well as completing client work, we're proactively pitching to clients we'd like to work for, as well as developing our own ideas into products. It's really exciting to think about the potential that provides us with.
Louis: There's some fantastic client work coming through at the moment; we've already developed a digital tablet publishing platform and we've got our sights set on some big brands to expand our portfolio. Now we're keen to grow the team quickly so that we've got the resource we need to get through all our ideas.
What qualities are you looking for in new team members?
Tony: Above anything else, we're looking for people who are passionate about mobile and great user experiences.
Ben: We want someone who's enthusiastic and excited about working in the team and someone who can work collaboratively and openly with us.
Louis: Our team has a lot of ideas, a lot of energy and a real desire to build some amazing apps. Basically, we want more people like us -- really passionate about what you do, willing to get stuck in and try anything and keep working away until the end result is as awesome as it can be.
Sound like your kind of thing? We're currently looking for a Mobile Application Developer to join team Shadaloo -- and you don't even have to be a game geek to apply (although, let's face it, it wouldn't hurt...).