Work that Matters

We’re a team of strategists, project managers, designers and engineers that love building digital products and experiences with organizations doing work that matters. We excel at communication and thrive on collaboration. We love helping clients tackle challenges big and small.

Designed for Humans

We’re a research, design and technology company that’s all about people. From human centered design and persona driven development to Agile methodology and high-touch collaboration, our process keeps humanity front-and-center. And it gets results. We build digital products that enrich and empower people all over the world.

Flexibility is a Virtue

From discrete strategy workshops and consulting engagements to redesign projects and ongoing support, our service offering is broad. We connect clients with members of our team in whatever way adds the most value.

Drupal Experts

We’ve been using Drupal since way back in 2006 – version 4.7. From speaking at Drupal conferences internationally, to helping plan local Drupal events, to serving as track chairs at DrupalCon, to writing code for Drupal core and contrib, to providing Drupal trainings – we’re involved in Drupal in just about every way possible.

Headquartered in Denver, Colorado

We deeply value the chemistry and productivity gained by diverse, full-stack teams collaborating closely together under one roof. And while our team is centrally located, we regularly collaborate with clients all across the globe with tools like Zoom, Slack and Basecamp – and of course the good ol'fashioned telephone. For in-person meetings, workshops and extended onsite work sessions, Denver has direct flights to virtually all metro destinations. We’re a hop, skip and a jump from just about anywhere.

 
$100,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2000
Show all +
Denver, CO
headquarters
  • Aten Design Group
    3507 Ringsby Court Unit #111
    Denver, CO 80216
    United States
    303.831.0448

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Human Rights Watch, Guttmacher Institute, Colorado Public Radio, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, The Poynter Institute, Stanford University

W3 Award 2016

Website Features and Navigation - Guttmacher Institute 

Web Awards 2016

Outstanding Achievement in Web Development - Best Advocacy Site - Human Rights Watch

Communicator Awards 2016

Award of Distinction - Human Rights Watch website - Activism

Award of Distinction - Human Rights Watch website - Publishing

Reviews

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Drupal 8 Redesign & CRM Integration for Nonprofit

"They’re really put together, so you don’t have to go through a lot of stuff that you go through with other agencies."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
July 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Aten Design Group transferred a WordPress website to Drupal 8, and built additional functionality to assist business processes for a journalism education nonprofit. They are integrating Salesforce into the site as well.

The Reviewer
 
11- 50 Employees
 
Tampa, Florida
Kelly McBride
Vice President for Academic Programs, Poynter Institute
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Aten Design Group, stepped up and took on work outside of the scope of their involvement to properly manage the project and prevent any pitfalls. They described technical terms well, which enabled non-technical people to properly understand the project and make well-informed decisions. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a non-profit thought leader and training institute in journalism.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Aten Design Group?

We were trying to unify disparate digital systems so that we could create a seamless experience for our customers and enhance some of our business models. Our goals were to relaunch our learning management system on a new platform, to relaunch our news site on a new platform, and to install a customer relationship management system. We’ve worked with a lot of other agencies.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Aten moved our news site from WordPress to Drupal 8, and then built some other specific functionality that we needed in order to run our business including applications and forms. Even though they didn’t want to be the project manager, they ended up doing a little bit of that role with us.

When they were really ready to roll up their sleeves and start building the piece for us that they had signed up for, they came to town to meet with us for 2 days to make sure that they totally get everything. When they did that, I was the project owner, and I spent a lot of time with Eric [Senior Developer] and Andy, who has since left Aten. It was really easy to trust them because it was clear that they knew that their work was going to be good. Because they understood the scope of the entire project, they could see where it was going to fail. That’s really risky for a vendor. Some vendors would just keep their head down and not necessarily criticize another vendor, but their loyalty to us as a customer was apparent. That was refreshing.

This is a news site that serves the whole journalism world. It has a custom tagging system. We put all of our courses on Open edX which is a learning management system. Aten built the skin around those courses, so when our customers see the marketing pages for those courses, they’re actually seeing it through a Drupal skin that they developed, and it had to call out information from Open edX in order to display it. They built those interactions.

They also built an application system for us and some custom forms so that we could take information from our clients. They built all sorts of functionality so that we can go to all of our authors and see all the work that each of the authors has done. There are recommended links on the sites for affiliated content. When you go to one article, you see related courses, articles, and other events which they built. That technically isn’t working right now, but they’re working on the fix for that involving an installation of Apache Solr.

What is the team dynamic?

For the build out, Andy originally was the lead, and then Eric took over as the lead. We also had James [Frontend Developer] and Gabe [Backend Developer], and 1 or 2 other people that were designers. There were a couple of other people on the calls we had. Eric is our main point of contact now.

The maintenance has been mainly Monica [Project Manager] and James, but then Eric has stepped back in. It’s such a complicated site and because a lot of the post-launch maintenance is building out new features that didn’t get built out in the original launch, he’s has stepped back in as the lead on that. The team was their decision. They assembled the team that was necessary for both the short-term and long-term tasks.

How did you come to work with Aten Design Group?

We received a grant to do this work. Part of that grant required a 2-step discovery process in order to come up with the RFP. That discovery process was done by firms that the foundation recommended to us. We went through that process and created an RFP that, when I look back on it, it was far from perfect. It was more conceptual than detailed requirements.

We looked for a bunch of different firms to bid on the RFP and to take it. We actually asked Aten to do that, and they said that too much of the work was outside of their expertise. They said that while they were very interested in doing the Drupal development, that they didn’t have a lot of experience with Salesforce and they also didn’t have a lot of experience with Open edX. Which was the platform that we were going to use to house our courses on our learning management system.

We ended up, rather than going with an outside agency, hiring a project manager and doing the work ourselves, and then contracting out the individual pieces of it. That was when Aten came back into play with this particular project. We had a previous relationship with Aten which actually pre-dates me. They had done a lot of Drupal development for us over the years. Because they were already familiar with our existing Drupal systems and because they understood our company, they offered a very competitive bid for re-launching our news site on Drupal. That was originally the scope of the work that we were going to do with them.

The project, from the point that it went out to bid, until the point that it launched, was about a year long. Through that, we had a variety of vendors, and the vendors all had to communicate with each other. Aten ended up stepping up and taking more of a project manager role with some of that because of some of the flaws and the other vendors that we contracted with. They really ended up going above and beyond what they originally signed up for when they recognized that some of our other vendors were in over their heads. And because these systems were supposed to integrate, as Aten was trying to talk to those vendors about the integration, they raised some red flags with us in ways that were very delicate and appropriate. It allowed us to see where the project was about to go off of a cliff, and helped us step in and rescue some portions of the project that weren’t necessarily going to happen, or happen in a way that they could integrate with the rest of the project.

How much have you invested with them?

The overall project was close to $1M, but I don’t know how much of that went to Aten.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve had a long-standing relationship of between 5 to 10 years. This project started in July 2016, and they’re doing ongoing maintenance on the site.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The product launched in August 2017, so we don’t have any metrics yet. This is such a complicated system, and we hope that eventually it will make workflows better internally. We still don’t have the Salesforce integrations built yet, and that’s what’s really going to change the workflows for a lot of people around here. Until we get that built, it’s actually, just because everybody is learning these systems, it’s actually harder at this point. Once the Salesforce integrations are installed, the promise is that it will be easier. It’s much easier for us to see when our customers go from one type of content to another type of content.

How did Aten Design Group perform from a project management standpoint?

That’s where I thought they were really strong. We asked them to be the project manager on the whole thing, and they declined but then ended up doing a lot of that work anyway because they’re very good at project management. There was always a weekly meeting, and then we also have a Slack channel that we share with them. It’s not unusual to have daily interactions with them.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The most impressive thing is how their project managers can describe complicated technical things to non-technical people so that they understand it and can make true decisions.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We’re still getting the maintenance contract up to speed. We had delayed a couple of features during the launch that we’re dealing with post-launch in the maintenance contract. The transition from development to maintenance has been just a little rocky. What’s great is they recognized it. I would have these confusing phone calls and then immediately I would get a call from Eric who’s stepping back in and saying, “Hey, they just reported to me about this, and here’s what we’re doing.” I think they’re on top of it.

Do you have any advice for potential clients?

They’re really put together, so you don’t have to go through a lot of stuff that you go through with other agencies. Every time you bring a vendor in, they want to do a discovery process, and when Aten does a discovery process, you actually learn something; it’s actually helpful. Whereas I’d say most of the time vendors and their discovery process is just a way to get more money out of you. I would say don’t assume that they will squeeze you the way other agencies will.

 

4.5
Overall Score As a project owner, I find them to be very reliable, very communicative, and able to understand our entire team. If there were any shortcomings, it had to do with the complexity of our team and our project and some of the personalities we have on our end.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I don’t think they ever missed a deadline.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The hourly rates that they quote you seem very reasonable. They’re certainly not the cheapest out there, but they’re definitely not the most expensive, so it seems reasonable. For the most part, I would say when you get the invoice and you look at the inv
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    There were very few surprises along the way, and that’s a good thing for a project of this magnitude. Any time you have a surprise, it’s not going to be a good thing.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have already referred them.

Drupal 8 Web Redesign for Museum

"Our museum is an odd brand, and they understood who we were and what we needed."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Jan. - July 2017
Project summary: 

Aten helped a museum improve their branding to increase visitor engagement. The agency provided discovery, built a Drupal website, set up an Eventbrite platform, and created exhibit promotions. 

The Reviewer
 
11- 50 Employees
 
Denver, Colorado
Director of Marketing & Communications, Museum
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Visitors loved the site, and the museum began to set new attendance records. Aten Design Group set themselves apart with their communicative management, deep marketing knowledge, and design skill. The agency was able to precisely and imaginatively convey the museum's distinctive brand.  

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We’re a non-collecting contemporary art museum. I’m the director of marketing and communications.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Aten Design Group?

We needed a new website to help increase our visitation to the museum. We wanted to make sure the website fit the museum’s brand. Our old website was borderline unusable. We wanted something more functional with a better fit for the general aesthetic of the museum.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We started with discovery work, stakeholder reviews, brand tone work, and a thorough review of our own documents for style and visual consistency.  We then did information architecture, design, and some key pages. Then we moved into the development phase where we were building out the technical architecture and some of the custom functions. We spent a lot of time getting everything to where we were satisfied. We launched the site and we now have Aten on retainer for continued support and special projects. They built the site on Drupal 8.

We moved our ticketing platform for special events to Eventbrite and we had it integrated so that we could pull the data from our ticketing pages into the website. We have 140 events a year so we wanted to ensure that it was easy for consumers to find and browse through our event offerings.

We also worked closely with Aten to develop our individual pages for our exhibitions to showcase the art that we were showing within the museum. We spent a lot of time making sure that was visually pleasing.

What is the team dynamic?

We had two different project managers during the project. We had a lead designer who did UX and information architect, we also had a number of developers. We had a primary developer, but they would bring in additional developers depending on what we were working on or to help us hit our deadlines.

Most of the communication went through our project manager, Sally, but we had a lot of direct communication with our main developer and designer. We worked very closely with that team.

How did you come to work with Aten Design Group?

We did a pseudo RFP process. We sent RFPs to four different web design services spanning a number of different verticals. Since they were local and had a focus on nonprofits, they appeared our search. We also found some companies that had a museum or arts background. We additionally found local developers with design teams. We chose Aten because we really liked their design process, thoroughness, and how they were going to arrive at the solution. A lot of other people could do really pretty wireframes and do the actual design work just as well, but Aten spent more time on the frontend asking questions and trying to figure out what problems we were trying to solve.

How much have you invested with them?

The main website part we spent $200,000. Our additional contract is three years of baseline services at $33,000 per year.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in January 2017, and the site launched in July 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

It’s hard to track sales because we’re a museum. So far we’re on pace for our best year ever, but I can’t say that I attribute that all to the website. Our attendance has been incredible. General feedback on the site has been really strong.

How did Aten Design Group perform from a project management standpoint?

They performed really well. We had weekly check-ins. There were never any questions about where we sat in the project roadmap, budget, or anything. They communicated very early any deviations to those schedules. There were no surprises besides their staff turnover. We were in contact every day during most of the project. We used a combination of Basecamp and a Slack channel. We had responses within an hour on the Slack channel.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their ability to collaborate with us and understand our brand. Our museum is an odd brand, and they understood who we were and what we needed. They were able to make a lot of design decisions without us having to tell them what we were looking for. Also, their overall responsiveness and ability to stay on deadline while delivering really great work was incredible.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They had a bit of team turnover with our project manager. It made the middle part of our project slower than it could have been. The new project manager took over and we quickly accelerated back to where we were. Otherwise, we were incredibly happy with them.

Do you have any advice for future clients?

We loved working with them. There’s no reason I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone looking for a new site.

5.0
Overall Score We greatly enjoyed working with their team. We’re very excited with the product that came out of it.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We had to push our deadlines slightly, but we were still within it. They were responsive and communicated with us early and often.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The website we ended up with is exactly what we were looking for. It felt like we could see the work that went into it and we weren’t just paying for useless hours.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They delivered a beautiful website that fit all of our business needs .They were on time and on budget.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    We’ve already had people reach out to ask who did our site and we’ve sent their information.