Meet the Team

Meet Joshua at Jackpocket

7 questions with our resident juggler and iOS developer

Next up in our Meet Jackpocket series is Joshua Alexander, Jackpocket’s Senior iOS Developer.

1. What do you do at Jackpocket?

What I’ve mostly been focused on lately is the stability of the iOS app. “Stability” is about trying to reduce crashes and making sure that data from our server is displayed to the user in the right way. Basically, you write code to test the code. I’m also laying the groundwork for the future. The other major focus that I’ve initiated with our Product Team is Jackpocket’s accessibility features.

2. What are the latest accessibility improvements on Jackpocket all about?

We’re making Jackpocket easier to navigate for the different ways people use, or want to use, the app. And we want to make the app accessible to people with different abilities, including those with vision impairments. For example, in recent releases we’ve added more support for VoiceOver, the screen reader for iOS, throughout the app.

App accessibility is also about things like how long popover messages should display so that users can read them. Text size. Color contrasts. For example, when white text is on a black background, the blacks can consume parts of the white and make it blurry, almost a trick of your eyes. Those are the types of things I look out for and have experience with.

3. What’s your favorite part of the job?

The first thing I tell people when they ask “How’s the job?” is that we have a dog in the office. She comes around all the time and you get to pet her and kind of relax. Everyone’s nice and its pretty stress-free here, which is important to me.

4. You’re our resident juggler. How did you get into it?

I grew up an hour north of the city in Putnam County, New York and for some reason the gym teacher in our elementary school had this huge circus unit built into the curriculum. So as a kindergartener, I started learning how to juggle. We also learned how to unicycle, walk on stilts, and do tricks with scarves. I got back into it when I discovered the Bryant Park juggling club. I’m up to 27 catches with 7 balls. (Editor’s note: That’s juggling lingo for REALLY GOOD.)

5. What kind of music do you listen to while you code?

I usually don’t listen to anything when I’m working, because I have to think and solve problems. But when I’m not working, I listen to a lot of Broadway—my favorites are Wicked, Aida, Tarzan, and Spring Awakening—and Top 100 Japanese music.

6. What’s one thing about you that surprises people?

I went to a language school in Japan. I did jiu-jitsu growing up and really loved the sound of the Japanese language. Two years ago I got to go. I went to a language school in Kyoto for three weeks and then off on my own for a week.

7. Any place you’d like to revisit?

One place I want to go back to in Japan is Arashiyama, which has a bamboo forest on the western side of Kyoto. You can have treats in the train station and then go climb the mountain. Visit Tenryu-ji Temple, and then eat some more.

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