To inspire and empower a web built right.

Sparkbox is a web design and development firm that leads the way toward a better web as we craft responsive websites and web applications—and empower you to do the same. We work with teams to create beautiful, valuable products that last and empower your team to own your application or website.

Our expertise includes:

  • Responsive Web Design
  • Custom Web Application Development
  • Accessibility
  • Design Systems
  • Security
  • User Interface Design
  • User Experience
  • Content Strategy
  • Mobile Commerce
  • CMS Integration and Extension
  • Team Education and Mentoring 
 
$50,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2009
Show all +
Dayton, OH
headquarters
  • 123 Webster Street, Studio 2
    Dayton, OH 45402
    United States
other locations
  • One PPG Place, Floor 31
    Pittsburgh, PA 15222
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Knoxville Utility Board, Dayton Power & Light, Organized Living, PSA Airlines, Lenovo, National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Aperian Global, Once a Month Meals, Driver Solutions, and many more. Read more about our clients on our website.

Reviews

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Web Redesign for Closet and Storage System Manufacturer

"One of the outstanding things about Sparkbox is that they didn't just provide a service, they also educated us about their process."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2016 - 2017
Project summary: 

Sparkbox worked on the responsive website's UI/UX redesign, identified target audiences who could use Organized Living's products and built a pattern library using HTML, CSS, SAS, JavaScript, and Atomic Design.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Cincinnati, Ohio
Michael Hickerson
Director of Software Development, Organized Living
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The company went from getting no contacts whatsoever to getting around 20–30 per month after the redesign. It was a huge and exciting increase. Sparkbox provided a great overall experience and proved to be a terrific, professional and enthusiastic team 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.

Organized Living is a closet and storage system manufacturer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. We sell nationally through independent dealers. I am the director of software development.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Sparkbox?

We were trying to redesign our website. Our initial issue was that it wasn't mobile-friendly, and we wanted to replace it with a responsive version. We also wanted to refine the purpose of the site and come up with a clearer message for our target audiences. At the same time, we needed to create a frontend pattern library which we could reuse in the future in order to continually update and modify the website. The pattern library has become a part of our development process. So, even though we're not working with Sparkbox directly anymore, the product delivered to us is still in active development.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Sparkbox worked on the site's overall design, identifying our target audiences and building the pattern library based on that architecture. We worked with a number of people from the Sparkbox team, including their UX [user experience] and UI [user interface] designers, their project manager, and content strategist. There were three developers working on our project. The technologies used for our pattern library were HTML, CSS, SAS, JavaScript, and Atomic Design.

How did you come to work with Sparkbox?

I’ve attended some of the frontend development and design workshops that Sparkbox ran in the past. I was very impressed by their expertise and quality of work. We used an RFP [request for proposal] process that involved three firms in total. Sparkbox seemed to be the best fit as a partner; their proposal hit the mark in terms of what we were looking for.

How much have you invested with Sparkbox?

The cost of Sparkbox' work was between $50,000 and $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

The project has been completed.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

One of the primary goals of our website redesign was targeting professionals such as homebuilders, remodelers, and architects who could use our products in their projects. We had a contact form on our previous website but had never really gotten leads from those professionals. After the redesign, the contact form became much more prominent with a clear path for educating and inspiring professionals. We went from getting no contacts whatsoever to getting around 20–30 per month. It was a huge and exciting increase.

How did Sparkbox perform from a project management standpoint?

Sparkbox' business model is based on hourly rates. We were given a range of what each phase of the project would likely entail in terms of number of hours. They kept us updated every week about how many hours we'd used, how many remained, and the estimated total. This helped us keep an eye on our overall budget and prioritize on a regular basis. Much of our collaboration was done through shared Google Drive documents. We used InVision for sharing and commenting on designs. Once the development started, we used GitHub Issues and ZenHub to keep track of tasks and issues.

What did you find most impressive about Sparkbox?

One of the outstanding things about Sparkbox is that they didn't just provide a service, they also educated us about their process. They shared their whole philosophy in terms of identifying audiences and creating wireframes, designs, and frontend components. We have used this information on our own projects.

Are there any areas Sparkbox could improve?

I can't think of any specific things which could have been improved. The hourly model can be a challenge for some companies as it was for us. If the project went over our set number of hours, we'd have to spend more, rather than have a set fee for all the work. Overall, it ended up being a fine approach because Sparkbox kept us up to date on those hours and made sure that we were prioritizing the most important work.

5.0
Overall Score It was a great experience. They were a terrific team to work with. Everyone from Sparkbox that I interacted with was professional and enthusiastic.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Sparkbox did a great job overall, but there were a couple of design items that took longer.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The deliverables created by Sparkbox have continued to be used and developed by us internally. We have increased our overall capacity for the long-term.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Sparkbox delivered what we asked them to.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Sparkbox does great work. I'm excited to have worked with them.

Customer Self-Service Web Dev for Utilities Company

"I am a fan of their talent, and of the way in which Sparkbox's team can build responsive and beautiful websites."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Feb. 2015 - Aug. 2016
Project summary: 

The goal was to migrate a customer self-service website to a modern content management system and into EmberJS single-page applications for each functionality. 

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
Knoxville, Tennessee
Technical Lead, Utilities Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Sparkbox's technical skills were unrivaled. Their team is talented and they can build responsive and beautiful websites. They created a refined and elegant UI [user interface] experience. Sparkbox was a very empathetic and humble group. They were an absolute pleasure to work with 100% of the time.

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Our company provides internal and external custom application development and integration. We have an $800 million turnover and around 1,000 employees. The company is located in Knoxville, Tennessee. I am the technical lead of the company's website projects.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Sparkbox?

We had a customer self-service website which had been launched in 2008 through IBM Web Portal. Our goal was to migrate that site to a more modern content management system, as well as move the real time self-service part out of portlets into EmberJS single-page applications for each functionality. One of the big drivers was to make a responsive website, which could work on all screen sizes.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

With the help of Sparkbox, we built a responsive website which both manages content and has all the real-time functionality of its previous rendition. The content was built using ExpressionEngine, while the functionalities were built through EmberJS. The code stack also included Apache Web Server, MySQL, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript. We used several build tools.

Everything below the web stack was made up of our Java API layer, and Sparkbox did not have an involvement there.

There were four or five developers from our side assigned to the project, and five or six from Sparkbox's side, depending on the phase. We merged our two teams together and had daily stand-ups across videoconferencing. The work was managed as with one single team.

How did you come to work with Sparkbox?

We have a strict process for evaluating companies. We sent out requests for quote, reviewed each respondent, and selected a top 5 for interviews. Based on a group evaluation, Sparkbox was chosen as the top vendor, and awarded the contract.

How much have you invested with Sparkbox?

The cost of Sparkbox's work was over $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Sparkbox in February 2015. The project was completed 18 months later, and the website is live.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We had some initial metrics which we aimed to improve. We don't want people to stay on the site for very long since it's for a utility company. One of the mantras for the project was to have customers come to the site, find or do what they needed to, and get on with their lives. The aim was to reduce the amount of time that a user required in order to do what they needed to do. We have seen a 34% reduction in the number of pages used by people for their goals, like viewing or paying bills. There was a 12% reduction in the total amount of time spent on the site. These were good measures for us.

We also wanted to increase our testing coverage for applications, and we were able to do it by a significant amount. This was an internal metric for the development team.

How did Sparkbox perform from a project management standpoint?

We have used every known communication tool during our collaboration. There were many channels within the early stages of the project, and we realized that we were tool junkies. We did identify this as an issue, given that information could be in several places. Sparkbox corrected it, narrowing our usage down to an appropriate number of communication channels. That helped move the project along a lot faster. We were a remotely dispersed team, so the communication needed to be very good and clear.

What did you find most impressive about Sparkbox?

Firstly, Sparkbox's technical skills are unrivaled. I am a fan of their talent, and of the way in which Sparkbox's team can build responsive and beautiful websites. They can create a refined and elegant UI [user interface] experience.

The other thing is more of a soft skill: Sparkbox is a very empathetic and humble group of people. They're an absolute pleasure to work with 100% of the time. There were heated discussions about different topics, but it never got out of line. Sparkbox had every right not to be humble, yet they were.

Are there any areas Sparkbox could improve?

As I mentioned, we used so many communication tools in the beginning. That was one thing which I asked Sparkbox to correct. They did it, and things went smoothly from there on.

Sparkbox quoted us low, medium, and high estimates for the different things that we would be doing. Almost without exception, we ended up in the high range. Some of this was our fault since we put up roadblocks, time constraints, and changes. The value was still there, and we have made a note of this issue.

4.5
Overall Score Sparkbox did everything they said they would do, and did it with excellence.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We had no issues at all and followed right along with the predicted schedule.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We are starting a new project with Sparkbox in the next couple of weeks and would like to see some estimates end up in the low or medium range.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The quality of the code under the hood and the quality of what users see have been absolutely top-notch. Sparkbox writes beautiful solutions.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Sparkbox is a pleasure to work with, and I learned very much from them. I would recommend Sparkbox without hesitation.