Bring on 2013.

2012 has been a hell of a year for the team @ Orca Digital. We have achieved amazing feats for our products i.e. ShowCaster and VoiPay and pushed hard to get the products to a level where they are now. But we’re not stopping there – in fact, 2013 will be even more of a rock’n’ roll year. We’re expanding the team further to cope with the increase in demand and new features we want to pump out into our products.

What are we looking for?

UI/UX designers, Java Developers, Web Developers, Server-side Gurus and Javascript wizards – these are all standard roles that you normally find in organisations hiring into their engineering / technical departments. However, the startup world is a little different. In a startup environment, we want all those skills bundled up into one, and more. What else more, you ask? A term that is floating around the industry is ‘Growth Hacker‘. That doesn’t mean we want sloppy devs that can only hack code around. What we want is a class above, someone who knows the trending topics of the industry, who has a solid foundation of programming with a great understanding of user experience. Someone to take ownership over their work and believe in what they are doing. In a startup culture, a candidate with the ability to spot trends and drive external interest to their own products is more valuable than an experienced old school Java Enterprise guru who knows the SOAP protocol by heart. I’ve recently read an article written by Elli Sharef for VentureBeat on the 5 things you need to know before working at a startup.

Even though Orca Digital was founded in 2006, we like to treat each of our products as separate entities or ‘companies’ (similar to Spotify). Each product is lead by a small team of engineers which takes the product forwards – driving product development and user interests back to the product they’ve just built. Do you have what it takes or know someone who does? Take a look at the job opportunities at Orca Digital and ShowCaster.

Happy (belated) New Year!



The brief

The team @ShowCasterTV has recently completed a make over of its interactive polls feature. ShowCaster Polls enables user to run live interactive polls across the web, tv, tablets and phones and is a great use for 2nd screen applications. ShowCaster is used by a large TV broadcasters such as Channel 4 and Sky so scalability is a key consideration – all features need to support extreme load from large numbers of concurrent users.

A poll’s functionality by design is quite simple – a single question and a few options to choose from. Its simplicity should also be reflected on the user interface in order to deliver a good looking, yet focused poll-driven experience. The task at hand was to give the previous design a make over, but at the same time ensuring its simplicity remains intact, as well as ensuring the new UI adapts nicely across the multitude of screen sizes and applications that ShowCaster integrates with and is embedded into.

The challenge

The challenge was small – choose a design that will fit across multiple screen sizes and render the experience nicely across all platforms. However, the bigger challenge was the fact that our UI designer had decided to leave the country and begin his adventures elsewhere. This then lead to a bunch of hardcore engineers used to writing awesome code, instead spending time scratching our heads staring at something called a paintbrush tool. It wasn’t going to work, but we needed to refresh the UI quick.

The saviour

So, after looking around for help, we stumbled across something we were on more familiar grounds with. Twitter? Good. Framework? Good. Open-source? Good. Twitter’s open-sourced UI framework? Awesome.

With Twitter’s Bootstrap UI framework, we were able to use predefined UI elements, which come with all the bells and whistles i.e. nice CSS3 features like border radius, box shadows, transitions, and it includes all the browser specific shims and prefixes – all supplied by Bootstrap! Not only does it render well, it all works beautifully by simply adding a predefined style or data class to an HTML element – well, with exception to IE8 – but since no one uses IE8 anymore cause its crap, we’re fine right? :)

Responsive UI

For those who know a little about Bootstrap, the scaffolding structure is pretty neat – especially since it works nicely when enabled with ‘responsive features‘. With the responsive features enabled, Bootstrap adjusts the scaffolding structure to stack when the screen width is less than 767px using CSS3′s media queries. As powerful as it is, we have disabled it on our design because the simple design of the Polls concept needed the page to be ‘adaptive’ (to grow and shrink with the page) rather than responsive (stacking elements / increase element visible measurements).

So, without further ado, below are some screenshots of what we were able to churn out within a couple days.

Want to see the whole thing in action? Sign up for ShowCaster (free) and try it out yourself.


Oh… and btw, looking for a design role? We’re hiring!

Design ShowCaster