Thankfully, the days when software developers just guessed the customer’s requirements, slung a product together and threw it out the door are long over. Instead, we now advocate the principles of software craftsmanship—taking pride in our software processes and in the code that we write.
In collaboration with Qi Qu, one of our amazing designers, we have come up with an inspirational and understandable representation of some of the working practices we employ at Novoda. It’s important to keep track of what you do—to remind yourself and your colleagues of best practises and the parts each one played in the course of a project. So we created this wonderful poster.
The outer circle in the poster is all about working with our clients to deliver what they want, when they want it, with a sprinkling of Novoda awesomisity. Working alongside our customers, we use Agile methodologies to come up with the application that is exactly what they need. Ensuring we have shippable releases at the end of every sprint (sprints are either one week or two weeks long, depending on the client and the product) means the customer always has something they can get their hands on and look at. This allows for a quick cycle of feedback and responsive iteration on designs and requirements, all in the customer’s best interest.
The middle circle represents team collaboration. A “team” can mean the whole company, the group working on a particular customer product, a pair working on a poster, or anything in between—even ad-hoc teams hacking something together over lunch! Having your whole team believe in craftsmanship gives you benefits well beyond clean code. A collective ownership of what we do, continuously integrating with each other and working to meet the high standards we’ve set at Novoda means somebody is always trying to better or improve upon our ideas and work. This pragmatic attitude always feeds back into the product, iterating to enchant, surprise and delight within our apps but also to simplify the customer’s understanding of what they want.
The innermost circle is the mantra for individuals, a reminder to keep it simple, always support your code using tests and refactor or reflect on your work to ensure it is something you are proud to let others see. Speaking of letting others see your code leads us to pairing. Pairing is an integral part of working at Novoda: it encourages knowledge sharing, provides sanity checks and also promotes social engagement and communication between team members. These key points help craftsmen build robust, well-tested and maintainable applications.
When asked to design this poster, the first question that came to mind was “what is this poster for?” The purpose behind it was to share Novoda’s working practices with the world, and even though it’s explaining code and software, it needs to be understandable and visually enticing. After discussing with Paul and his ideas described above, we came up with a first rough sketch.
I wanted the poster to represent Novoda effectively, so I chose to use the Novoda brand colours: blue as the primary colour and the orange as the accent colour. To communicate Novoda’s expertise regarding the Android platform, I injected a little fun with the Android robot in a hat, holding a pointer stick to make it look like he’s explaining the content. Shadows gave each element more depth, affording each item a bit more visual impact. I also spent time refining the font styles to ensure optimum legibility.
We made some test prints at the end of the first iteration and decided that the process descriptions were too wordy. I worked together with Paul and Kevin to re-organise and simplify the copy, making it more digestible for the reader.
We also felt that the style of each circle could be improved to emphasise each area of development. It was important to stick to the Novoda colour palette so I needed to think of another way to set each circle apart. I decided to change the outer circle to a dotted line and highlight the words by placing them insides boxes. This style change achieved a distinctive look for the outer circle and the addition of the key also helped to summarise the different areas.
I like to show my work to everybody. Part of the Novoda design process includes stages of critical feedback (within the design team and also with anyone walking past our desks!)—whether it’s positive or negative comments, any constructive criticism is welcome, as it’s the perfect opportunity to improve my work. I hope you like the poster.
We will also be releasing the SVG, so feel free to print out your own copy.
SVG is now uploaded to dropbox and available here.