Designing and Building Exceptional Apps

Established in 2001, Big Nerd Ranch specializes in client app development and expert instruction from the brightest developers and designers in the industry. When you need an iOS, Android or desktop app to solve a problem, grow your business or engage your employees, partnering with us is a no-brainer. We provide end-to-end mobile solutions for a range of app development projects, including iOS, Android, full-stack web and design.

Our developers and designers are also instructors, teaching immersive bootcamps that have improved the careers of thousands of developers. Big Nerd Ranch teaches retreat-style bootcamps in Georgia and California, as well as corporate courses held at client sites around the world. In addition, we write best-selling books that guide the mobile industry, setting the standard for mobile development and helping developers stay up to speed on the latest and greatest across a range of platforms.

 
$10,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
50 - 249
 Founded
2001
Show all +
Atlanta, GA
Headquarters
  • Big Nerd Ranch
    200 Arizona Ave NE
    Atlanta, GA 30307
    United States
    770.817.6373

Portfolio

PartCycle

PartCycle was founded by two entrepreneurs with shared passions for automobiles, DIY repair and cutting-edge technology. However, when it came time to put the idea into practice, the company did not yet have a development team. Rather than waiting to hire an entire internal team to launch the project, they decided to partner with Big Nerd Ranch to complete the application while they formed their web team.

Working collaboratively with the PartCycle founders, the team at Big Nerd Ranch delivered a web app that is pioneering many industry-first technical innovations, including:

  • The ability to purchase used automobile parts online, directly from professional automobile recyclers.
  • An entirely scalable, cloud-based architecture with daily feature delivery.
  • A mobile-first, analytics-based automotive parts search interface.

In addition to the technical achievement, the web application helped PartCycle accomplish its business goals....

InpharmD

Mercer University’s College of Pharmacy understands the connection between teaching and doing, so when they sought out specialists to develop their app, they turned to us. (We’re basically the Ivy League of app teachers and developers.)

Ashish Advani, clinical assistant professor at Mercer and director of their Drug Information Center, envisioned an app that would give healthcare providers streamlined access to the latest drug data when prescribing medications.

From Mercer’s affiliation with teaching hospitals, Ashish understood that the best practitioners keep their skills sharp through constant use and learning. In his experience, such institutions make the best hospitals because they provide first-hand education and training to healthcare providers. It only made sense to think that the best app developers would be instructors, too.

Enter Big Nerd Ranch. Our Nerd are multi-talented experts who not only develop mobile and web apps for clients, but also...

Smithsonian Channel

To bring the Smithsonian Channel’s existing Android app up to par with its award-winning, highly rated iOS apps, Potion, an interaction design and technology agency, approached Big Nerd Ranch about a partnership to redevelop the app from scratch.

By working collaboratively with Potion and our Android and Design teams, Big Nerd Ranch delivered an app that incorporates best-in-class Android development and UX standards. We added new, unique features such as Chromecast integration and social sharing functionality, helping to improve content discoverability and increase content consumption.

The app’s look and feel resonates with the Smithsonian Channel’s brand and ties to the iOS app while delivering the experience and look that Android users expect.

  • App rating improved from 4.0 to 4.3
  • Active devices increased 43%
  • The number of total downloads increased 29%

...

Roadie

Every day, 250 million passenger vehicles hit the road. Roadie founder Marc Gorlin envisioned an app that would disrupt the shipping industry by taking advantage of these drivers and their billion square feet of unused cargo space, allowing users to quickly and more efficiently send items—even ones that normally can’t be sent by mail.

Leveraging Roadie’s existing visual designs and brand standards, we crafted custom UI designs that encapsulate the best practices and unique capabilities of each platform. Creating platform-specific designs reduces development scope and gives iOS and Android users the experience they’ve come to expect.

The Roadie brand was carefully integrated into the app and is reflected in the visuals of the user interface. Roadie was built with a solid UX strategy and an architectural foundation that allowed the client to get to market quickly with a robust and stable app. Our focus was on code quality and finding the right solutions for the...

Reviews

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Web Platform Development for e-Commerce Marketplace

"What we ended up with was an industry best solution. … it was a solution built to scale and grow quickly."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
1,000,000 - 9,999,999
 
June 2015 - Aug. 2016
Project summary: 

Big Nerd Ranch used Agile development, a Ruby on Rails backend, and Ember.JS frontend with a PostgreSQL database to build an MVP for an online marketplace, while also providing business development services.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Florence, Alabama
President & Co-Founder, PartCycle Technologies
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Big Nerd Ranch’s team provided valuable business development services by helping establish best practices for the internal software development team. Their team communicated frequently and addressed challenges promptly, allowing for a professional and successful partnership.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

PartCycle Technologies LLC was founded in April of 2015, with the vision of building an online e-commerce marketplace where people could buy and sell recycled auto parts. Today, PartCycle employs more than 10 highly talented individuals in the small town of Florence, Alabama. Consumers and mechanics alike can search the PartCycle Marketplace and choose from over 3 million used auto parts for sale all over the United States.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Big Nerd Ranch?

Big Nerd Ranch was introduced to help us build the initial minimum viable product while we built our own internal development operation. The challenges were numerous and very complex. Initially, we were required to identify and build solutions for two very distinct customers: those who want to sell used auto parts and those who want to buy them.

Building a first-stage product also introduced some unique challenges. All we initially came to the table with were high-level ideas and a loose concept of the product. Throughout the project, we would need to mold these ideas into functional software all while getting to know each other. Additionally, we had to work through unforeseeable challenges stemming from the fact that we were new to our industry and didn't completely understand the solution we needed to build.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The Big Nerd Ranch brought in a team of senior backend and frontend developers as well as an application designer to help us build the initial version of our marketplace.

They provided a range of technical services. First, they scoped out and defined the structure and feature set of our MVP. Big Nerd Ranch then implemented modern development practices such as Agile software development, test-driven development, and continuous integration. They were the architects of our technical infrastructure, including a scalable and decoupled Ruby on Rails backend and Ember.JS frontend with a supporting PostgreSQL database. Lastly, they defined the epics, user stories, and release dates for each iterative feature and function. These helped us go from idea to viable product.

In addition to the technical services listed above, the Big Nerd Ranch also helped us further refine our product, business practices, and team structure. They provided access to top-level project leadership who helped us think through some of the less-defined areas of our business model critically.

What is the status of this engagement?

We will definitely work with Big Nerd Ranch in the future and I believe any company, big or small, is lucky to have the chance to do so as well.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I couldn't be more satisfied with the Big Nerd Ranch. Our project had it all—upfront challenges with putting together an effective project team, scheduling conflicts that arise with trying to staff a project for more than a year, making tough decisions to combat against scope creep, and balancing release schedules and budget constraints. What we ended up with was an industry best solution. It was not only a functional version of our initial dream, it was a solution built to scale and grow quickly.

What did you find most impressive about Big Nerd Ranch?

The project team and leadership at Big Nerd Ranch continuously showed us that they were committed to our success by communicating frequently and addressing challenges promptly as they arose. I am certain that there are many technology startups out there searching for help to build an initial product and get their company off of the ground. I can't quantify how valuable it is that Big Nerd Ranch not only helped us build the initial product but they helped us establish best practices for our own software development team. We were able to slingshot out ahead of every company in our industry based on the fact that we do things like Agile development, test-driven development, continuous integration, and the like. It's an immeasurably valuable proposition to companies who have raised capital and need to get started. Today, we are able to build significantly faster and with higher quality than any of our competition, and we do it with relatively inexperienced developers. This is all because the team at Big Nerd Ranch took the time to educate us while they were building.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They promised a lot and over delivered
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Dev for Critical Care Communication App

"As I've mentioned to Big Nerd Ranch, they stand out as the best company I've worked with in my 30 years in the industry."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
June 2015 - July 2016
Project summary: 

Big Nerd Ranch’s involvement began with redesigning an Android app. The agency then developed an iOS iteration of the app and the HTML5 Web back-end system.

The Reviewer
 
Startup
 
Baton Rouge, LA
Kevin Lyle
CFO, Care+ Ventures, LLC
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Big Nerd Ranch delivered excellent work on time and within budget. Communication was easy throughout the project, which Big Nerd Ranch managed well. There were no significant problems throughout the development and Big Nerd Ranch exceeded all expectations.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Care+ Ventures, L.L.C. is a startup firm that has developed an ICU software module for mobile apps. Our product improves communications between families and doctors in critical care situations. I am the chief financial officer, and I handle the technology, operations, and financial risk management.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Big Nerd Ranch?

Big Nerd Ranch helped build our iOS, Android, and web back-end system.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Big Nerd Ranch revisited the design of our app, which was done by another firm. They made some constructive changes and helped us see things in a different light. After that phase, we started exclusively on the iOS and the web back-end, which is built in HTML5. Those were the first two products completed and rolled out by Big Nerd Ranch. Then, we began working on the Android version of the software. That project just wrapped up this past week [July 2016].

Big Nerd Ranch incorporated the platform onto a company called Aptible, which is a HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act]-certified secure environment that runs on top of Amazon web services. We recommended Aptible and Big Nerd Ranch did the research. They also made the necessary adjustments to make the product work on their platform, which uses containers and other similar items. It was all cloud-based, and they utilized HockeyApp for testing on iPhones and Android devices. Big Nerd Ranch worked iteratively, which was one of the things that intrigued us about their process. We were able to see the product and test the latest version when a new build rolled out every Tuesday.

How did you come to work with Big Nerd Ranch?

We asked for references in order to identify companies that were leaders in the healthcare space or had good reputations in the design and development world. While Big Nerd Ranch did not have a large presence in the healthcare space, they were keenly interested in that field. They came with an excellent reputation and our principles matched. It was clear by the end of our meeting that they were the company we were going with.

How much have you invested with Big Nerd Ranch?

We invested more than $200,000 with Big Nerd Ranch.

What is the status of this engagement?

The Android product was completed in the last week, but we do still have an active relationship with them. Our meetings with them started in June of last year [2015], and the design phase kicked off in late June or early July. Big Nerd Ranch delivered an alpha version of the product, and we asked family and friends to test it out. In November, we regrouped and made some additional changes. That phase continued into January of this year. Then, we released another full-blown version in the Apple Store and started our testing in March. Big Nerd Ranch is looking at a number of our projects, particularly feature enhancements for the iOS and Android apps. We're scoping out the logistics for those projects.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Aside from a 10-week pilot, we don't have a lot of information at this point. We're now getting ready to integrate Android into the hospital and start a full-blown, IRB-approved research project in August with a large university. Since we only utilized the iOS version in the 10-week pilot, Android users were not included. That meant half of the population who came into the intensive care unit was eliminated. However, we are very pleased to have a strong acceptance and use rate from the pilot iOS users. But, I don't have anything hard and fast to tell you at this point.

How did Big Nerd Ranch perform from a project management standpoint?

Project management is a real strength of Big Nerd Ranch, and they are very task and iteration-oriented. It was clear what was going on in a particular week. They used the Basecamp and Pivotal Tracker, and we had equal access to those tools. We were able to review and approve stories in Pivotal Tracker as they completed the work each week. We had at least one telephone meeting each week, a standing meeting where each of the developers working on the project discussed. That was also an opportunity for the group to address any outstanding issues. We were comfortable working with them.

What did you find most impressive about Big Nerd Ranch?

As I've mentioned to Big Nerd Ranch, they stand out as the best company I've worked with in my 30 years in the industry. They delivered on time and within our app budget consistently. When we needed to do something that changed the scope, we always knew what those changes were going to cost. Big Nerd Ranch stayed on top of the project, and I appreciate how an anal-retentive guy like me could see exactly what was going on in the project at any point in time. I could communicate with their team very easily and, even at one o'clock in the morning, I could leave items to be discussed the next day. Big Nerd Ranch really delivers on what they say and do it for the amount they said they could do it for.

Are there any areas Big Nerd Ranch could improve?

We've not had any significant issues along the way. We've gone back and questioned some things we did before, and we've had the typical bumps that come in a large project like this. But, we've never had a formal dispute. We've never had anything that we couldn't just sit down and talk our way through. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Especially in the world of IT [information technology] where schedules and timelines are frequently just fancy pieces of paper, that’s not the case with them.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We’ve only worked with one other firm in the process, and that was only in a design capability, so I don’t have much of a basis on how to make that comparison.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Nobody’s perfect, but in the key areas, they’ve delivered on what they said they were going to do. The product works. They get as high a rating as I would give out.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve already done it about five times.

App Development Partnership with Orkin Pest Control

"Big Nerd Ranch is a team full of great listeners. Even more so than that, they’re very solutions-oriented..."

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

The client is the parent company of Orkin Pest Control, one of the largest and well-known pest control businesses in the US. This client was initially in need of a partner that could deliver a sales-enablement app for their field team. After researching multiple app development agencies, this client went with Big Nerd Ranch due to their demonstrated previous experience. After being extremely satisfied with the first app, this client has gone back to Big Nerd Ranch for over 10 additional projects.

The Reviewer
 
5001 - 10,000 Employees
 
Atlanta, GA
Cam Glover
Director of Marketing, Orkin Pest Control
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client is extremely satisfied with their long-term app development partnership with Big Nerd Ranch. This client saw a double-digit percentage increase in sales due to one app that Big Nerd Ranch delivered. This client highly recommends Big Nerd Ranch for their ideation and solution oriented team.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I work for a larger company that owns multiple pest control companies, with the largest national one being Orkin Pest Control.

What is your position?

I’m the Director of Marketing.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Big Nerd Ranch?

It was sales enablement. We needed a way to make our outside sales force, which represents around 900 people, more effective in front of customers.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

We’ve since developed maybe 11 or 12 separate iPad applications with Big Nerd Ranch over the past three years. It started off with a relatively simple one. They knocked it out of the park. It consisted of taking almost all of the digital collateral and making it possible for seamless presentations to be customized on the fly by the account manager on the iPad, based on the customer’s needs. Then the second one became much more sophisticated. It was an iPad application that digitized the whole sales process, from graphing to creating a scope of service, developing a proposal all within the application that Big Nerd built for us.

How did you come to work with Big Nerd Ranch?

In the beginning, I interviewed maybe four or five different companies and went through the process of learning about their capabilities, looking at their past work, talking to references, etc. I just felt comfortable with the team Big Nerd Ranch had. That’s the reason they got the initial business. They received the repeat business due to the quality of work and our pleasure with working with them.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

Over the past three years, it’s been $200,000 to a million.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

With the second app, we saw a double-digit increase in sales per sales rep during the first year of adoption.

What distinguishes Big Nerd Ranch from other providers?

Big Nerd Ranch is a team full of great listeners. Even more so than that, they’re very solutions-oriented and not only do they build great products and develop smartly, the work they do at the requirements and discovery stage is what sets them apart. They bring great ideation into play and help you get to a great final product from a roadmap standpoint.

Is there anything Big Nerd Ranch could have improved or done differently?

We’ve been doing so much. If there was anything they could improve, I think it would be scalability. We’re feeling happy with the work they’re doing, but it’s tougher to scale to support all the demand that’s being required of them. That’s a minor thing though.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We’ve always stayed under budget. They’re good about being very conservative in the estimates. It’s expensive work.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

App Development for Construction Firm

"Big Nerd Ranch makes it easy to get stuff done. A lot of consulting firms will put hoops up and you have to jump through this and you have to jump through that...We didn't have any of that."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
Project summary: 

The client is a telecommunications construction firm based out of Florida that had previously used Big Nerd Ranch for internal development training. After learning of Big Nerd Ranch's professional services arm, this client decided to bring them in to develop their enterprise-level field-based application.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Palm Beach, FL
CIO, Construction Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client is extremely satisfied with their large development partnership with Big Nerd Ranch. This client highly recommends Big Nerd Ranch for their overall ease to work with, talented team of developers, and ability to execute on harsh deadlines.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are a telecommunications construction firm. We build-out fiber networks and coax networks for the cable and telephone industries.

What is your position?

I’m the Chief Information Officer of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Big Nerd Ranch?

We had an existing iOS-based application that used Ruby on Rails on the back end. What we needed was a management structure around that system. The system was designed for a single technician in an area to go out and do work in. It didn't have the concept of a team of technicians in the same area, or even broader, a number of areas where you had a number of teams doing work. We needed a management context built around the system we already had. We also used a third-party ticket management package integrated into the new system.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

What we asked Big Nerd Ranch to do was take that Ruby on Rails application, and basically build an HTML5 management console or management application.

How did you come to work with Big Nerd Ranch?

We had used Big Nerd Ranch prior for some training and we were happy with the results. We found out that they had professional service capabilities. We had a project coming up that was a fairly large, and we didn't have the staff availability to do it, and it was something that needed to be done within six months.

We had a couple of relationships with some other folks who did custom development, but none of them, we thought, were of the caliber to build something that would be field-based and distributed via mobile. They had to be strategic about connectivity. It had to integrate to a number of other systems. We decided to reach out to find a higher capability type of company to partner with. We interviewed about six different companies and we decided that Big Nerd Ranch was the best fit.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

Our partnership with Big Nerd Ranch was a decent amount over $200,000.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Actually, I would measure success across a number of criteria. The first criterion is that they had a team, I think at one point, of five people working on this project, including the project management person, so four full-time developers. I sent a team of two internal developers to their office to take over the maintenance of the application. I sent them there for a week. They came back and said, "We got it. They did a good job designing it and its well put together. It's something that we can maintain."

If you think about having a group of five people work for six months on something, and then sending two people up there for only a week to catch up on it and come back and say, "We got it", that to me is probably the best success story because it's something that we can maintain and continue to grow without them. They kind of made themselves expendable by doing a really good job on the design and implementation in the first place.

The second thing I'll tell you is that the interface that they built for both the client application and the ticket entry system is ultimately reliable. One of the things that happens when you're dealing with a sometimes-connected workforce of blue collar workers, is that they get very frustrated very quickly if the application doesn't do exactly what they expect it to do when they expect to do it. The response from the users has been, "This thing works all the time."

The third thing is, from a management capability standpoint, they had a user interface designer work with us. We have not had the training, or the incidents we've had, even on just the little client application because they did such a good job streamlining and simplifying the design.

What distinguishes Big Nerd Ranch from other providers?

They lost their lead developer on our project about half-way through. Generally, when something like that happens, it cripples the project. We thought we we're going to go way over budget and we're going to go way over time, but they didn't miss a beat. I think that's a testament to the way that they manage their folks internally, in the way they document, and in the way they share information. We really didn't miss a beat. They took one of their existing people and put them into the lead position.

Lastly, I will say this; they're very easy to work with. Big Nerd Ranch makes it easy to get stuff done. A lot of consulting firms will put hoops up and you have to jump through this and you have to jump through that. We as customers do the same thing. You've got to send us the invoices in this format to this email address and then we'll pay it in this time. We didn't have any of that. We had a very short and simple statement of work. We all agreed to it. It was very clear what the responsibilities were and we started working. Again, somebody who makes it easy to work with them is going to get business, especially my business.

Is there anything Big Nerd Ranch could have improved or done differently?

I've had this conversation with them. They tend to cultivate very opinionated people. I think there are times where we're the customer; we know what we want. This was generally around technical things. We want it to work like this. They would come back and say, "No." It wasn't, "No and this is why." It was just, "No." Then we'd have to spend a couple of days getting everybody on a conference call. Generally, what would happen is neither side was right, and it took getting together and having that conversation to get to the final point. If we did it like this, then this meets everybody's needs.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They're expensive, but to some degree, you get what you pay for.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer