From joining as the first Front-end Developer in the team to leading the ambitious redesign of the most popular Internet of Things platform.
Xively is a subsidiary of LogMeIn (LOGM : NASDAQ), and is the industry’s first public cloud, purpose-built for developing and managing commercial products on the Internet of Things. It simplifies the interconnection of devices, data, people and places, accelerating the creation of compelling connected products.
Pachube and Cosm
When I was hired in 2011, I was the first Front-end Developer to join the team. The company was then known as Pachube and was at that time the world’s largest Internet of Things open data repository and community. I had just moved to London from Lisbon, Portugal, after a 2 year job at Portugal Telecom’s web team. Initially I was tasked with building the API documentation website and I was excited to include new HTML5 goodies like the History API to make the experience as seamless and easy as possible.
After just a couple of months, the whole team started working on rebranding and redesigning as Cosm. My role in this effort was to single-handedly develop the entire front-end, which included a completely new marketing site and device management interface, and also a redesign of the documentation site I’d just built.
The design of the Cosm identity and user interface was done remotely by LogMeIn’s design team in Boston but as the work progressed, I began to be included in the design discussions. This was mainly due to the London team picking up on my design skills and sensitivity, and taking the steps to get me in the design discussions.
Once the interface designs were signed off, I built a custom UI toolkit from scratch which I called CosmUI. The toolkit was organised in order of complexity of the UI elements: Grid, Elements, Components, Objects and Layouts. This organisational model was not standard back then — other toolkits that were coming out were organised in classes of elements rather than by complexity — and this proved to be a very good decision in what concerned scalability and maintainability. The backend team and I worked immensely hard to get it out by the deadline and we did so on May 2012. The redesign was widely publicised in international media.
The Xively Redesign
In early January 2013, I was tasked with leading both the design and front-end development of a complete rebrand and redesign from Cosm to Xively. This was a massive challenge with an ambitious deadline — 4 months to pull it off, which we did — and it was a unique experience from which I learned many valuable lessons.
We tackled a lot of the parts in tandem but for the sake of structure, I’ll cover identity first and move down the waterfall. For the Xively identity, I took a fair amount of time to dive deep in thinking about the brand persona, the values and the principles we’d follow later on when we’d need to make tough design decisions.
The identity benefited greatly from being designed in parallel with the user interface because, as we applied it, we found some adjustments had to be made to accommodate that important context.