Designing and developing elegant web products.

Who We Are

We're a strategy, design, and development agency rooted in Durham, NC. From strategic thinking to developing complex web solutions, we've got you covered.

What We Do

Strategy & Consulting. We turn organizational data into actionable information.

User Experience & Design. Crafting interfaces for the user that are elegant and functional.

Web & App Development. CMS expertise in Drupal & Wordpress as well as frameworks like React, PHP, and JavaScript 

Support & Maintenance. Iterating over time to improve and maintain the products we craft.

 

 
$5,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2013
Show all +
Durham, NC
headquarters
  • 212 W Main Street, Suite 303
    Durham, NC 27701
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 
MIT Press, Omega Institute, Duke Today, Hunter Boots, UVA Darden School of Business, Wisebread, Harvard Medical School, and many more.
Travel Birds Mobile App Development Image

Travel Birds Mobile App Development

The Challenge 

Help travelers connect – and find awesome attractions around the world – by creating a native app that gamifies the recommendation process.

Our Approach 

We used React Native to build a single codebase for TravelBirds for both Android and iOS apps. The Expo framework empowered us to quickly build, deploy, and iterate.

The

Results 

A successful launch of Native iOS and Android apps, enabling TravelBirds to connect and enhance the experience of travelers worldwide.

Duke TIP Usability Study Image

Duke TIP Usability Study

The Challenge 

Help Duke TIP better understand how their audiences interact with tip.duke.edu through a usability study—investigating which features they use, where they get stuck, and how the site could be improved. Duke Tip sought to be more data driven, and to ensure they were investing in their users while laying the groundwork for a site redesign.

Our Approach 

Combine

qualitative and quantitative research methods to identify where the current site was working and where it was falling short.

The Results 

We presented our findings and made recommendations that fell into two groups: short-term fixes and longer-term imperatives. Recommendations included: Sitemap organization and information architecture, page naming conventions and language support to name a few.

Duke Cancer Institute Replatforming Image

Duke Cancer Institute Replatforming

The Challenge 

Migrate dukecancerinstitute.org to modernize the platform and improve the editorial experience, search, and accessibility.

Our Approach 

Beginning with a discovery phase, we performed an audit on the existing site to identify critical areas to improve and efficiently plan the migration process.

The Results 

A smart site complete

with content-editor friendly CMS featuring a new search feature that allows relevant content to load faster.
UVA Darden Web Development Image

UVA Darden Web Development

The Challenge 

Create a site that translates the vision of UVA’s Darden School of Business that’s more manageable for Darden’s content team.

The Approach 

Provide a slick, efficient, and user-friendly content management interface with custom entities and Twig templates utilizing TailwindCSS.

The Results 

Both average site sessions and email

submissions have increased since the launch of the ultra-performant, new site experience.
Wisebread Custom Platform Development Image

Wisebread Custom Platform Development

The Challenge 

Transition the Wisebread publishing platform to a contemporary and secure technical solution.

Our Approach 

Serve the site over HTTPS and implement a more sophisticated architecture using a Varnish caching system, ensuring optimal uptime and performance.

The Results 

A 99.99% uptime for the wisebread.com platform in 2018. A year

that saw millions of visits per month to multiple highly trafficked pages.
HIV Prevention Trials Network Mobile First Redesign Image

HIV Prevention Trials Network Mobile First Redesign

The Challenge 

Redesign nonprofit HIV Prevention Trials Network's (HPTN) site with a clean, modern interface that loads easily on mobile devices in areas of the world with less-than-optimal bandwidth and provide HPTN’s content editors with a powerful, easy-to-use content management interface.

Our Approach 

A responsive design that would best serve each of HPTN’s user

groups, with a focus on those accessing the site on mobile devices, as well as a custom Drupal 8 theme.

The Results 

Thanks to a streamlined project plan, the new site launched in time for the HPTN Annual Conference and an ongoing maintenance and enhancements engagements allowed for post launch improvements.

Reviews

Sort by

Mobile App Development for Travel Networking Platform

"I was impressed with their strategic abilities."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Nov. 2019 - Apr. 2020
Project summary: 

Savas Labs provided mobile app development in React Native. They supplied a team to help with the backend database and 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Durham Area, North Carolina
CPO, Vintoux
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Savas Labs provided high-quality development services. The collaboration and project management were effective. Their team was well-organized and executed on all deadlines. 

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Vintoux is a startup for myself and a few other entrepreneurs.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Savas Labs?

We had the concept and some of the basic user flows, but we needed a company to build the app for us.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We needed backend database development and API integration. They worked with React Native.

What is the team composition?

Their team had a team of two developers. We had a project manager as our point person and a lead developer.

How did you come to work with Savas Labs?

We researched companies to work with. That involved a search in the Raleigh-Durhan area. I had a conversation with them and it was clear that we shared values in common. The local partnership and its transparency made it easy to connect.

How much have you invested with them?

It was between $50,000 and $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

The work went from November 2019 to April 2020.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The quality of the development work that we got was very good. They embraced the idea of collaboration and partnership. The collaboration was ultimately successful in launching the app. Any issues that we encountered, which were typically on our side, they jumped on the phone to help us.

How did Savas Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

The project management involved a strong tool that they shared with us. The project manager kept everything well-organized. They were able to follow through and execute on deadlines. It wasn’t a problem at all.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I was impressed with their strategic abilities. Their thoughtfulness about user flows and presentation was great.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I was very happy.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

We asked them to share their expertise and recommendations. We listened to it—I’d say we followed most of their recommendations. You should approach the situation with flexibility. We had some healthy debates on what made the right sense for our business. Let their expertise guide the path forward.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

User & Usability Research for University

"They put our best interests over their desire to land more projects from us."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Aug. - Dec. 2019
Project summary: 

In preparing a university for a website redesign, Savas Labs conducted a usability audit and study of their platform. They provided recommendations on how users would react to the site's navigability.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Durham, North Carolina
Katy Munger
Director of Communication & Marketing, Duke TIP
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Savas Labs delivered extremely helpful recommendations. Their insight was educational and conveyed in a way that everyone could understand. Their research was also presented to be palatable to leadership. The team was transparent and ethical in their selfless commitment to the client's success.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I am the Director of Marketing & Communications for a unit of Duke University that provides educational programs to gifted students in grades 4-12. Our student base is located across the U.S. and the kids we serve go on to enroll in a wide variety of universities.

Our goal is to help them reach their full academic potential in the years heading up to college while supporting their emotional and social needs. In addition to program staff, we have a large research department that specializes in giftedness.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Savas Labs?

We hired SAVAS to conduct a usability study of our main website. This was with the understanding that the usability study would be the first step in a re-design of our main website.

What were your goals for this project?

To see if our 4-year old website design still satisfied our needs and delivered our stakeholders the info they needed in a an intuitive, seamless way. In addition, because there were so many conflicting opinions within our organization as to how the website should be improved for the future, we felt bringing in outside experts might help settle some internal debates.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We asked for proposals from a number of companies, outlining our goals and needs. Three companies submitted proposals that put them in the final round, but SAVAS won out on the strength of their proposal. 

They had really listened to what we needed, created a proposal that addressed our concerns, provided a great deal of helpful background information as part of their proposal, outlined a specific approach upfront and really seemed to be listening to us.

In addition, their price for a usability study was very competitive. They were upfront about what we would get for our money, what might be needed in the future, and what could be cut if our budget needed trimming. Not once have they ever pressured us into contracting for more then we needed. In fact, their entire communication style is to be upfront, frank, and transparent. It is very much appreciated.

Describe the project in detail.

We had a website originally designed by an in-house university-wide team that served us to four years but nonetheless had created confusion among our stakeholders because of its architecture, design style (non typical treatment of links), and complexity.

We brought SAVAS in to conduct in-person and online usability studies and focus groups with our parent, educator, student, and alumni stakeholder groups. After conducting this research for us, SAVAS presented recommendations on what our actual users felt about the website along with recommendations for how we could prove it.

Their recommendations included things we could do internally at no extra cost, short-term strategies for improving the existing website, and a longer term plan for redesigning it.

What was the team composition?

On my end, my content manager served as point person for the project. i was heavily involved, and other team members rotated in and out as needed. Our Executive Director wanted to be a hands-on member of the project team toward the end and SAVAS accommodated her nicely.

From a SAVAS standpoint, I was aware of two SAVAS principals plus various developers, focus group and survey leaders, and support staff on the project.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

They created a recommendations presentations that was incredibly helpful. They provided background and context, educated a lot of people on our end on the issues involved plus the terminology, then presented their findings in a very clean, prioritized way that addressed our budget concerns and manpower constraints.

They really got that we needed to work within certain parameters and respected that. I found their recommendations to be right on the money, presented in a way that made them palatable to leadership.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

They were great! They set up a special instant messaging channel for us, had an account manager, kept us updated daily, and responded to our questions in a very timely fashion.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

  1. They way they really listened to us.
  2. Their ability to put our best interests over their desire to land more projects from us.
  3. The way they stuck to their deadlines and made every single one. When is the last time that has ever happened in any project?
  4. The way senior SAVAS staff stayed involved in the project from start to finish.
  5. The way they delivered exactly what they had promised they would.
  6. The way they communicated with us in a very transparent,  non-B.S. way.

Are there any areas for improvement?

Honestly, I see no areas where they could improve. We considered tiny one man shops, huge ad agencies,and then SAVAS which turned out to be the perfect middle ground. We got personalized service with real, specialized expertise.  Their account service was great and their advice right on the money.  We will be using them again.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Prototype Dev for Design Agency

"The quality of work and knowledge was exceptional."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Feb. - Mar. 2019
Project summary: 

Savas Labs provided frontend web app development. Their team built an accessible design. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Asheville, North Carolina
Sara Stewart
CEO, Clade Design
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Savas Labs successfully brought the product to launch. Their team was effective and communicative. The quality of knowledge and execution were great. 

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

We were a design agency that hired Savas to supplement development work on a prototype that we were designing for the client, Videntity and the Alliance for Better Health. I am the CEO of the design agency, Clade Design.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Savas Labs?

We needed a web app prototype in order to test our designs with various non-profit organizations in the Albany NY area. They were hired to build out this prototype based on our designs.

What were your goals for this project?

The Alliance for Better Health was working with Videntity on allowing the homeless or underprivileged community have access to their health information when working with these organizations. It was a system where all the organizations could share information about these patients.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

Savas labs came recommended and was based in the same city as the client, Videntity.

Describe the project and the services they provided in detail.

They built a front-end web application with no back-end integrations. The purpose being that the client would use this front-end to hook in existing integrations. We needed an accessible design that looked good and reflected the design work that we did to a T.

What was the team composition?

Two back-end developers, two designers, and Savas provided the front-end developer.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any information that demonstrates the impact that this project has had on your business?

We were successful in the initial launch, but the client was unsure if they wanted to move forward after seeing the prototype since it infringed on another product that they owned.

How was project management arranged and how effective was it?

We managed Savas lab's employee. She was very effective in her communication and timeline.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

The quality of work and knowledge was exceptional. Even though this was a smaller project, they handled it like pros and executed a prototype that was fully fleshed out and realized.

Are there any areas for improvement?

Not that I witnessed.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Server Overhaul and Development for Media Company

“One of their biggest strengths is the communication, either from the directors or from the engineers directly.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Feb. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Savas Labs provides IT strategy consulting and managed service support for a finance-focused digital media company, most recently helping to overhaul the client’s entire server system.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Culver City, California
Gregory Go
Co-Founder & CTO, Killer Aces Media
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The work delivered by Savas Labs is consistently of the highest caliber, completely satisfying project stakeholder expectations. Their team is passionate and compassionate, bringing enthusiasm to every project and demonstrating commitment to the long-term success of their client’s efforts.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the cofounder and CTO of Killer Aces Media. We run one of the top personal finance sites in the world.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Savas Labs?

Our company has been working with their team for over a decade for all of our IT consulting and assistance that we need. Our most recent project was the overhaul of our entire server system.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We were seeing a lot of outages across our system and wanted to get our uptime to 99.95%. They overhauled our server system to do that, instituting technologies like Varnish and Long Train, and eventually achieved over the 99.95% uptime goal that we had set.

Since then, we have kept them on retainer for 5-10 hours a month to monitor the servers and provide upgrades or updates as they need to happen. All of that has been on top of the work they do maintaining our Drupal website, helping us to upgrade that as needed and occasionally implementing custom modules as well.

What was the team composition?

For the server overhaul project, I mainly worked with three people at Savas, including a main project manager who came from an engineering background. The main guy doing the work was one of the senior engineers, and occasionally one of their directors would consult on various components.

How did you come to work with Savas Labs?

We talked to them about this project, received a few RFPs from their team and several others, but decided to hire Savas Labs for the work in the end.

How much have you invested with them?

In total, the project cost around $150,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

This latest big project ran from February 2017–May 2018, but we have continued working with them on a retainer basis.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The quality of their work is really great. I trust their team completely, which is one of the most critical contributors to our success. They do highly in-depth research both on the technology itself and to understand our business needs so that they can deliver the most comprehensive proposals possible.

How did Savas Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

One of their biggest strengths is the communication either from the directors or from the engineers directly. They give incredibly honest feedback on the context of why certain things are good decisions based on the cost of the solution versus the severity of the business problem.

Their project manager is always on top of our weekly calls and provides really thorough updates on our progress and plans for the upcoming week. They have given me the ability to log in and monitor the results myself as well, which I really appreciate.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I think their culture really starts from the top. Chris really cares about the clients he works with and is very passionate, and that attitude spreads down to the rest of his company. They really care about providing a quality product to their customer rather than just serving as a factory production line.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Because I do have such a relationship of trust built up with them, I keep asking them to provide more services, and I sometimes wish they had a broader offering in that regard. But everything they do, they do extremely well.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Be honest with them about your needs. They are on the expensive side for providers, but you get quality for that price, and they are more than willing to work with you to adjust the work order to make sure that it fits your budget. The more open you are about what you’re struggling with, the better they will be able to help you find a solution for that.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Website Migration & Development for Wellness Nonprofit

"It feels like a partnership, rather than just a client-vendor relationship."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
July 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Savas Labs provided web development support for a holistic learning center. They helped the client migrate their site from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9. 

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Rhinebeck, New York
Laurie Hunt
Technology Director, Omega Institute
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team at Savas Labs is professional and clear in their communication. They provide excellent documentation and are willing to help with strategy and planning, making them an excellent partner. 

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the technology director at Omega Institute. We’re a holistic learning center.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenges were you trying to address Savas Labs?

We’re brought them on to build a new Drupal 9 website.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They’re helping us transfer from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, ensuring everything is up to speed. They’re working with us on architecture, UX, and web design. We want to launch more robust online learning, so web development is essential. In the near future, they’ll also be helping us with improvements to our e-commerce platform. 

 We’re a multi-faceted organization, but they’re helping us make the best choices for our site and the institute as a whole

What is the team composition?

We have 6–8 people working on the project including a project manager, UX designer, front- and backend developer, and a designer. There are also internal resources from my side that are working with them. 

How did you come to work with Savas Labs?

My web consultant attended a Drupal conference and connected with them there. Their mission aligned well with our values, so we had a lot of respect and understanding of one another. Their time feels like part of my team. 

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve invested well over $1 million dollars. 

What is the status of this engagement?

We started our first big project with them around July 2017. Our work is ongoing, and they’ve worked with us on several web projects.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They’re really clear and are willing to be in a negotiation about what’s possible. Their team manages their hours and scope so that we can stay within budget. It feels like a partnership, rather than just a client-vendor relationship. They want to understand us. 

When we’ve had times where things didn’t go as planned, they were always willing to help us fix issues with long term solutions. 

How did Savas Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

I’ve had several project managers with them. Both were really on top of it. Originally, we used Redmine, but they’ve since switched over to Teamwork. The communication is clear and constant. They provide a lot of detail and documentation, so it’s easy to revisit information if necessary. 

We have a weekly check-in meeting to go over hours, budget, and plans for the week. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

Savas Labs has been the best experience I’ve had with any web design company. They’re truly about being a partner in how one plans their technology. They’re willing to do research to help us see things with a fresh perspective by providing us with options. Their team values being part of our strategy. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

Initially, there were a few problems with project management. However, as our relationship has grown, those issues have dissipated. They’re growing as a company and are learning how to navigate it all, and they’re very self-aware. 

Do you have any advice for potential customers? 

Be willing to be in a relationship with them. This means being communicative and letting them know what you need. The best way to be successful is through transparency.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Development Support for Experiential Development Company

“They worked professionally and displayed a depth of knowledge that was essential to our project’s success.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Aug. - Dec. 2019
Project summary: 

Savas Labs focused on database management, enterprise backend development, and DevOps engineering in their work with the client. They also supported full-stack engineering and large-scale integration efforts.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Durham, North Carolina
Jake Breeden
Co-Founder, Sapien Experience
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

With demonstrated expertise in development and integration, the client was consistently confident in and satisfied by Savas Labs’ work. The firm’s team integrated themselves into the client’s environment seamlessly, and their professionalism and adaptability with communication were impressive.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m one of two co-founders at a company that creates business simulations that serve as digital learning experiences for assessing and training talent. Our background is in corporate training and executive education. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Savas Labs?

We keep a lean development team but needed to scale up.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They provided web development support, with the ability to do full-stack engineering. Our project required integration with a large enterprise, so they dealt with serious backend work and DevOps engineering. We relied most heavily on their database, backend, and DevOps resources.  

What is the team composition?

We first worked with the CEO who then put us in touch with a project manager. In total, we’ve worked with five people. Our project manager helps us source the right talent for their team.  

How did you come to work with Savas Labs?

I was at a coding boot camp even while looking for someone to work at my company full-time. The best candidate that we met that day ended up taking a job with their company. Because of that connection, I thought their team would be a great resource for accessing additional talent. 

How much have you invested with them?

We spent between $15,000–$25,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our project lasted from August–Dember 2019. However, we’re in-touch and looking for new ways to work together.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Their team was very experienced with enterprise backend development and integration. That familiarity with the technology ensured that we were working with a safe pair of hands.  

How did Savas Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

I was impressed with the professionalism in which they managed their team and communications. We communicated through Slack and Jira. They adapted well to our communication systems. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

They worked professionally and displayed a depth of knowledge that was essential to our project’s success.

Are there any areas they could improve?

As they grow and scale, they should be able to help people with even larger projects. I saw no downsides to working with them. In fact, we’ll work with them in the future when needed.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Budget time to communicate with the project manager. It’s important for you to have a parallel commitment to the project management aspects of this project.  

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve already recommended them.

Website Design for Security & Defense Nonprofit

"Savas Labs seamlessly translated our existing site design into the added improvements."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Aug. - Oct. 2019
Project summary: 

Savas Labs provided website design services, including consulting on potential improvements and deploying solutions.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Washington, D.C.
Chris Estep
Communications Specialist, CNAS
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new website has received positive feedback from internal and external stakeholders. In particular, the new table of contents navigation feature is highly accessible. Savas Labs was a well-managed team with a clear, organized workflow. 

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit organization that develops strong, pragmatic, and principled national security and defense policies. I am the Communications Specialist at CNAS, responsible for the Center's digital engagement and congressional relations.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Savas Labs?

The Center was hoping to make several design improvements to its main website, cnas.org.

What were your goals for this project?

Our goals for this project were to execute several design improvements efficiently and effectively, without disrupting site performance or compromising design continuity.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We selected Savas Labs for this project after an extensive review process of comparable firms, which also involved an exploratory demonstration with Savas Labs.

Describe the project and the services they provided in detail.

The project involved: (1) Identifying necessary immediate-term design improvements, (2) working with Savas Labs to develop feasible solutions, (3) reviewing and adjusting the solutions produced by Savas Labs on our stage server, and (4) monitoring the deployment of these approved solutions to our main site experience.

What was the team composition?

The team behind this project consisted of several developers and UX experts from Savas Labs, as well as the CNAS communications team and Creative Director.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any information that demonstrates the impact that this project has had on your business?

The CNAS communications team received positive feedback from colleagues within the Center, as well as key external stakeholders, about the design changes, especially with regard to the new table of contents navigation feature that Savas Labs designed.

How was project management arranged and how effective was it?

Savas Labs performed well when it came to managing this project, offering clear guidelines and deadlines for the Center’s review and consolidating steams of information to streamline the Center’s approval processes.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Savas Labs seamlessly translated our existing site design into the added improvements.

Are there any areas for improvement?

Savas Labs used Teamwork to facilitate conversations with the Center regarding review and approval of proposed changes. As the Center does not frequently use Teamwork to collaborate, this required Center personnel to adjust their typical communications workflows.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Custom Drupal Dev for Activism Map Site

"Their creativity and ability to truly listen to what I wanted were most impressive."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Apr. 2015 - May 2016
Project summary: 

Savas Labs developed a custom Drupal site to host an interactive activism map. They implemented existing content and enabled audio, image, and map location uploads on the site. 

The Reviewer
 
10,000+ Employees
 
Durham, North Carolina
Barbara Lau
Pauli Murray Project Director, Duke University
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The final product met all of the original expectations, as the site was easy to access and attractive. Savas Labs showed an exceptional ability to fully hear the client’s needs and turn it into a tangible platform. Customers can expect a communicative, diligent partner.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the executive director of the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice at Duke University. It’s a nonprofit organization focused on history, arts, education, and social mobilization. We’re a part of Pauli Murray Projects, so I’m very involved in both.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Savas Labs?

I’ve taught classes at Duke under these programs, and one of the assignments required us to create an online map that could become a public resource. We wanted to display all different kinds of local activism using Google Map, but it crashed. Because of this, we hired Savas Labs to build a proprietary site for us to transfer our entire map. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They built a Drupal site for us after recommending it as most suitable for our goals. We gave them some content, like map markers, so they could create a few samples. It was important for us to be able to upload audio, photos, map locations, and other files that were all accessible on tablets, computers, and phones, so they built those features in for us. 

From there, we were able to upload the information from my students and curated it for the map. I’m able to handle all of the content updates on the site. 

What is the team composition?

Three people were on the team, including Chris (CEO & Founder), a cartographer, and a project coordinator who would take my feedback back to the team. 

How did you come to work with Savas Labs?

I knew the cartographer previously and he also worked at Savas Labs, so that’s why we decided to use them for the project. 

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from April 2015 – May 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The goals that we set in the beginning were all exceeded. We laid out our expectations for usability, visual attractiveness, and accessibility on different devices. They met every one of our goals in each area. It’s a very pretty site and it works well. We have anecdotal responses from people who’ve used it in other classrooms. 

How did Savas Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

The timelines were dependent on me, but they did a good job with it. They made sure I had a point of contact and everything was synthesized through them, which was really useful. We would have face-to-face meetings to discuss what’s working, what our goals are, and what we should try. 

I’d never worked on a project completely from scratch like this, so they laid out a design and production process that made sense and was easy to follow. We wanted to know what the steps were and have feedback loops in place, and they were great to work with in this way. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their creativity and ability to truly listen to what I wanted were most impressive. Since my idea hadn’t been done before and didn’t have an existing template, they really listened to all of my information and goals. They did everything they could to deliver it. 

They were also able to work well with me even though I didn’t necessarily understand the backend of the website or all of the coding language. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

We ran into an issue when we needed to change the server and we have limitations because of our university affiliation. However, that wasn’t their fault, it was outside of their control and they were able to adapt. 

5.0
Overall Score It was a great project.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Since they only work on one platform and it’s been a while since our project, it depends. But my experience was really good so I’d recommend them.

Web Development for Global Health & Development Nonprofit

"They’re a team of good people who are great at what they do."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Jan. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Facing a need for a website rebuild, a global health and development nonprofit hired Savas Labs. The team built the Drupal site after gathering user feedback and developing a comprehensive design strategy.

The Reviewer
 
5,001-10,000 Employees
 
Durham, North Carolina
Laura Long
Senior Web Manager, Trade & Development Nonprofit
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

With the quality of their deliverables as well as their growth over the duration of the engagement, internal stakeholders are pleased with Savas Labs’ performance. They’re a team of communicative, hard-working professionals who have demonstrated a dedication to the success of the project.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m a senior web manager at a global health and development nonprofit. I work on two clinical trials housed in the organization.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Savas Labs?

We hired Savas Labs to help us rebuild the website for one of our clinical trial research networks.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We started with gathering user feedback from our stakeholders. They gave feedback on how they use the website, as well as how network members and our site staff use it. Savas Labs took that information and used it in their discovery phase, where they came up with a design plan. The team determined the navigation and layout of the site, focusing on ease-of-use. They also selected a color scheme as well as fonts before developing the site, which has a Drupal CMS. Savas Labs also ensured the platform would be mobile-friendly.

What is the team composition?

We’ve communicated directly with a total of about four of five people. However, they’re supported by a larger team on the backend. 

How did you come to work with Savas Labs?

We were doing research on local web development companies. I’d posted on a forum for companies in the area, specifically looking for experience with the Drupal CMS. Chris (CEO) responded to the post, so I got in touch with him. We were very impressed with their customer service from the outset; plus, they were excited about the project. Savas Labs’ offices were nearby to ours as well. The biggest reason we partnered with them, though, was their knowledge of our specific database and how it integrates with the Drupal CMS.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent over $200,000 so far.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working together in June 2016, and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The quality of their work is quite good. We just kicked off a new project this week, and we’re really excited to see where it leads. In terms of our website, it functions the way we need it to and it looks great. 

One of the things we’re most pleased about is Savas Labs’ growth over the years. Even though we’re still satisfied with the original work they did for us, it’s also great to see how far they’ve come. 


How did Savas Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

Their team is very communicative and quick to respond. They’re always willing to work with us and carry out our requests. They’ve used a few project management tools, both of which have been really user-friendly and easy to use.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their overall attitude and demeanor really stands out. Every person I’ve interacted with has been friendly, positive, easy to talk to, and easy to work with. They’re not caught up in big, corporate practices. They’re a team of good people who are great at what they do.

Are there any areas they could improve?

At first, there was a little bit of underestimation regarding how much work our database connection required. There was a little bit of a learning curve, but Savas Labs’ came out the other side to the point where they now understand it really well. 

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Be very transparent, and get as much information as you can about any technology that might be involved. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Augmentation of Drupal Developers for University Publisher

“It’s been a great relief to have their support.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Apr. 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Savas Labs has served as a long-term development partner for MIT’s university press. They’ve supported the client’s Drupal platforms, helped retire legacy sites, and assisted in launching new initiatives.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Boston, Massachusetts
Product Manager, MIT Press
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Savas Labs is an invaluable resource for the client, who continuously relies on their support for ensuring the stability of their operations. On top of providing high-quality work, the nimble team is always willing to negotiate. Their flexibility and expertise make them great to work with.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the web product manager at MIT Press, a scholarly publishing organization that’s affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We publish books and journals.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Savas Labs?

We hired them to support our internal team with web development.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They augmented our inhouse technical resources by adding new functionalities to our Drupal sites. They’ve also done some work integrating our internal databases to these websites.

While they’ve mostly assisted in further developing existing platforms, they’ve supported us in other capacities as we’ve grown. Savas Labs helped us to launch a new product called CogNet, a customized community and publishing platform.

What is the team composition?

My original and primary point of contact was Chris (Founder). Over time, we’ve worked with other programmers from their team.

How did you come to work with Savas Labs?

We put out an ad looking for Drupal developers, and Chris responded. The price was right, and he came off as a great communicator.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent somewhere between $200,000–$300,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our ongoing partnership began in the spring of 2014.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We’ve worked with them for a number of years, and we’ve been extremely pleased with their work. They’ve always been there for us, which we’re very grateful for. There have been times, in the face of financial challenges where we needed to pivot and shift the scope mid-project. They were willing to accommodate those changes.

Their work has always been high-quality. They’ve been able to handle a wide variety of projects and handle all kinds of problems. They’re often working with uncommon or niche third-party systems that are part of our publishing business, but they always manage to figure out how to deliver for us. They’re versatile and great to work with.

How did Savas Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

We didn’t have a project manager until the last couple of years, but it’s been a positive adjustment. We still get to directly interface with developers in addition to having a primary point of contact. We feel that we have the benefit of organized project management while being able to have direct communication with those handling our product. We use Jira with them.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’ve been a critical resource for us in ensuring the quality, function, and stability of our systems. Especially in particularly demanding projects like retiring legacy sites, it’s been a great relief to have their support. They’ve learned our business—the publishing industry is a quirky one—and they’re nimble. They’re willing to negotiate in ways that other vendors can’t or won’t do. All of these things have made for a long-lasting and mutually-satisfying relationship.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We’re happy with their project management process, which they implemented relatively recently. It’s an area that they’ll keep honing as they grow.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer