Tech Done Right

Table XI is a trusted UX design and software development company.

We are 35 meticulous and curious minds in Chicago with a 15 year history of building websites, mobile applications and custom digital experiences for everyone from startups to storied brands. Our partners trust us to create innovative solutions that drive their businesses forward.

Want to learn more? Stop by one of our events: http://bit.ly/2sDC2Oy

 
$75,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2004
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • Table XI
    328 S Jefferson, Suite 670
    Chicago, IL 60661
    United States
    1.312.450.6320

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Industry Leaders: Northwestern University, Dickson, The Field Museum, Outcome Health, Rice University, Keiser | Startups: Everything But The House, The Wabash Lights, SuperBetter | Media Companies: Chicago Ideas, RogerEbert.com, PechuKucha

Giving Northwestern a seamless, transparent platform for research management

Northwestern University was using a patchwork of systems to track usage and payments for its sixty research facilities. Table XI developed NUcore to serve as a single, seamless and transparent core facility management software. We've earned more than 90 percent adoption so far, giving administrators clear data on utilization and saving staff manhours.

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Developing an e-commerce app for Everything But The House

After bringing startup innovation to the unlikely world of estate sales, Everything But The House needed an iOS app that could manage its hundreds of thousands of active users. We worked alongside them to develop an e-commerce app that can keep up with their rapid growth — and deliver the insights and analytics necessary to help them scale.

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Delivering better UX for the Field Museum

The Field Museum of Natural History wanted to learn more about its users — and it was looking for a UX design team capable of approaching the question with the same scientific methods the museum prizes. We embarked on a four-month research project to learn what users were looking for and what they were getting on the existing website. Analyzing the interviews, data and tests allowed us to give the Field a whole new understanding of its users, and a redesigned website to better serve them.

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Creating a publishing site worthy of Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert wanted a website to host his archive and feature the work of movie critics he admired. He hired us to bring that vision to life. We were able to migrate his writing, build out search functionality and deliver an SEO-friendly website. We continue to support the site as it publishes brilliant new writing worthy of Roger's legacy.

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Bringing Dickson into the Internet of Things

For the past 15 years, family-owned Dickson has looked to Table XI to secure its future through technology. We started by helping Dickson’s team understand their users’ behavior, then worked up to revamping their entire e-commerce strategy.

As a technology partner though, our job is to identify new ways to grow Dickson's business. That’s why we’re proud to announce the launch of the DicksonOne app, a centralized hub for product data that’s giving Dickson an opportunity to own a slice of the Internet of Things.

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Giving Chicago Ideas a global media platform

We’ve been the official tech sponsor of Chicago Ideas for four years running, helping it grow from an annual gathering of influential speakers to a global idea-sharing brand. That’s meant building a new event management platform and mobile ticket-scanning app, moving Chicago Ideas to a new administration platform and upgrading it to an AWS infrastructure.

This year we tested new ways forward with a Product Design Workshop. The result was a total responsive redesign and a custom content management system that lets CI’s staff build new pages from 38 stackable design blocks.

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Building a CMS and iPad sales tool for Keiser

Keiser came to us with big plans. The more than 30-year-old maker of high-end fitness equipment — think training machines for NASA and the MLB — was preparing a huge marketing push ahead of their conference season. We were able to deliver a new website, CMS and iPad sales tool on a tight timeline and on budget.

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Preparing Cobbler Concierge for scale with stronger systems

Cobbler Concierge had seen rapid growth in its first year and a half in business — and its original system was starting to show the strain. The shoe and handbag repair startup came to us for a code audit to identify any weaknesses or limitations in the software. The findings allowed us to stabilize the product and create new opportunities for growth. In the seven months since we started, Cobbler has increased business by 66 percent, and growing.

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Reviews

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App Development for Public Art Project

"[T]hey balance the art and creativity side of their business well with IT competence."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Aug. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Table XI created a web-based application to control lights for a public art project. The team helped create app strategy and functions, advising on tech options and the process as a whole.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Jack Newell
Co-Creator, The Wabash Lights, NFP
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team communicated scheduling and development issues quickly and worked to overcome them. The final application was well received and fits the artistic vision perfectly. Table XI demonstrated a passion for the project and gave a discount to the nonprofit for the development work.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m a co-creator and board member of Wabash Lights nonprofit. We are a public art group in Chicago. The project has two parts. One is the installation of interactive LED lights on the L tracks on Wabash. The other part of it is our mission statement which is to put the public back in public arts. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Table XI?

We’re creating an app where people can interact with the lights. When my partner, Seth Unger, and I, had this idea, he worked at Gensler and then Herman Miller and I’m a filmmaker, and we didn’t know anything about public art, app development, or the lights. We needed someone to help us think through the app development and the interactivity for local people to control the lights. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Table XI helped us come up with an initial strategy for how the app would look. We had a dream of an idea and we came at it from an artist standpoint. We didn’t know if it was possible, and that’s where Table XI came in. They helped us think of things we hadn’t thought about. They helped us guide us. They helped us make it so anyone in the world could interact with the lights using their cell phones. As we started to get funding, we got a tech spike and created a way to text the lights and play a game with them. Table XI also created that functionality.

We started by explaining what we wanted in detail to them. We had visuals and ideas, and we met once and walked through all the user groups and what we wanted it to do. They came up with different websites that we could pull inspiration from to help us define the attitude and the user experience for the app. Since we’re a nonprofit and therefore dependent on when we can get funding, they came up with a plan of what we could do when the funds become available; laying out a strategy for the future. Their deliverables have guided us through the rest of the process.

With the tech spike, we got a grant and we were able to execute level one that they gave us after inception with the specific goal of trying to figure out if we could actually communicate via cell phone with the technology that runs the lights. Within that idea, there were two ways we wanted functionality. One was through texting the lights to change colors and the other was playing a game on the lights. Table XI created a game like Simon to play with the lights. It was very scientific.

The inception took maybe a month or less. The tech spike lasted several months. Because we’re a nonprofit, they were trying to fit us in where they could which sometimes took longer. So far, we’ve created a web-based application but haven’t started on iOS or Android yet.

What is the team dynamic? 

We communicated regularly with John [Senior Software Developer, Table XI] and Dan [Director of Operations, Table XI].

How did you come to work with Table XI?

I knew someone through my filmmaking who does websites for documentaries, and he’s friends with one of the developers at Table XI. He referred them to a couple of places, and we interviewed a total of eight companies in Chicago. We narrowed our choices to three and then chose Table XI because they seemed like they had experience and they also had the interest. The arts are important to them, so it seemed like a natural connection.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent between $10,000 and $20,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them summer 2016. We go back and forth as we get funds. We’re going to be doing some more work soon.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We were thrilled with their quality of work. They made the coding process clear to us. They communicated what was happening at every stage. I feel like I’m a mini-expert myself because of their communication and patience. We tested what they did at some events and there were things that didn’t work, but they fixed them quickly. They’re very proactive in a good and reactive way.

The project itself has had amazing feedback. People are blown away. When you can text a public art piece and it responds, that’s pretty cool. They succeeded at taking our artistic vision and turning it into a reality.

How did Table XI perform from a project management standpoint?

They were fantastic. There was never a time we needed something and they didn’t respond. If they couldn’t take care of the issue immediately, it was done quickly. We communicate mostly through phone and email. We also met in person a few times.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We came to them with an art project and they understood what we wanted. They didn’t say they couldn’t do it. They recognized it as a cool problem they wanted to solve. Their guidance was great for us and is why we chose them. Sometimes it’s hard to work when you’re doing a job that doesn’t have a clearly defined goal. They’ve been good at creating deliverables in a project that has no boundaries. In that sense, they balance the art and creativity side of their business well with IT competence. I feel like sometimes those two don’t go together. Sometimes people are super creative, but not reliable. I thought they were very creative, open and excited about the task, while also being super reliable.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I was happy. Because this is such a crazy project, I can’t think of anything we could’ve done differently.

5.0
Overall Score We will continue working with them. We’re happy with what they did and we look forward to doing more with them.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They were always communicative. If a deadline was missed, we understood why.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They gave us a deal because we’re a nonprofit.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They gave us what they promised on time; it was also better quality than we were expecting.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    They’re a good company. They’ve got a lot of experience and do good work.

Website Development for Global Events Company

“Table XI has been a key component in our growth, and without them, we couldn’t move forward.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Aug. 2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Table XI rebuilt a website to promote events across 250 cities. They managed the migration to the new site with no downtime, built a video player, and developed an iOS app to deliver daily content.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Tokyo, Japan
Mark Dytham
Founder and CEO, Pechakucha
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Four years later, the platform still looked attractive and performed exceptionally well. Table XI's capable management, extensive technical knowledge, and flexible scheduling were crucial supports. Their transparency and commitment to the project built a strong long-term relationship. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the founder and CEO of PechaKucha, a global events company operating in 113 countries. PechaKucha means ‘the sound of chitchat’ in Japanese.

We have five full-time people on staff in Tokyo, and we’re now in 1,015 cities around the world, including Chicago and New York City. It’s a massive global events company operated by organizers in different cities.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Table XI?

We'd outgrown our previous website because we’d gone from one event in Tokyo, to 200 events around the world. Our previous site was beginning to operate poorly due to this high volume, so we realized we had to do something a bit more industrial. We decided to go with Ruby on Rails because it is able to handle our global expansion. Table XI developed the application for us, and we are now on our third stage of development for a new platform for education and enterprise.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We came to Table XI with an existing website of about 200 cities needing to be incorporated again into the newer version. There was a huge amount of transitioning from our old site because of this, and we also needed to incorporate 50 additional cities. We couldn’t have any downtime, so this all had to happen while both sites were live. The old site would crash due to the high volume, so we had to find a way to seamlessly move from the old site to the new. Table XI did this extremely well and with much efficiency.

They also developed our video player software, which houses over 10,000 searchable and viewable online presentations. Each presentation consists of 20 images shown for 20 seconds each, so they’re basically a cross between a video and a podcast.

Table XI also built an app which acts as an extension of the video player they’d built. We now curate one presentation daily, and the app is called PechaKucha of the Day. They were fantastic in streamlining and simplifying the app, and it’s also very succinct.

The app is currently only available for iOS due to financial issues. PechaKucha is a nonprofit organization, so Table XI is also helping us build a new web-based education and enterprise presentation platform.

What is the team dynamic?

I’m working with about 30–40 people from their staff.

How did you come to work with Table XI?

We did a global search around the world, including Tokyo, the US, and the UK. Table XI stood out compared to other companies by a wide margin because they weren’t trying to tell us what to do with our product. They also analyzed the project in order to give us a notion of how the website build would eventually work.

They were the only company out of seven different ones we interviewed that offered a reasonable cost. None of the other companies could justify their prices, whereas Table XI built a fantastic spreadsheet detailing the cost for 149 stories. They had a really practical nature about them, and their Agile setup made all the spending extremely clear.

I recommended them to a friend in Japan, and they’ve also had a positive experience due to Table XI’s clarity when it comes to cost and timeframes.

How much have you invested with them?

The total expense for the website was between $100,000–$200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in August 2013, and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our users around the world still look at the website today and think it’s incredibly fresh. It hasn’t dated over the past 4 years, and we’ve have very little downtime. Even when we had some issues that caused the site to do down temporarily, it was rectified within hours. Table XI’s staff is so dedicated that they even took the time on Thanksgiving Day to find a solution for an abrupt issue.

I still see people in their office today who built the website. They are very conscientious, and they really believe in our product as well as what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s not just work for them. They really believe in what they do, and we’re always impressed their perspective.

We’re currently looking to them for the next revamp of the entire site because their quality and execution are both fantastic.

How did Table XI perform from a project management standpoint?

We start any job here with a 2-day inception where I fly to Chicago to meet with their developers, programmers, and project manager. After that, I only communicate with the project manager, and they operate through a very simple traffic light rating system (green, amber, red) that displays project status.

The project manager can help translate what I’m saying in English into more technical jargon for the developers. We generally have a call every week with the project manager, but we can also see the project status online through the Agile spreadsheet. We’ve had no problems, even though we are working in different timezones.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Table XI’s depth of knowledge is impressive, and they always have an expert within the company who knows how to solve a problem. With smaller firms, our site would go down for 2-3 days, and nobody seemed to know what the problem was.

They’ve also been incredibly accommodating with our funding as a nonprofit, and they give us preferential rates, which is fantastic. They’ve also been lenient with payment schedules.

They do have a design component, but it’s focused on engineering, which makes a big difference. Many web companies begin as graphic companies, then become web designers or firms, so they’re coming from a non-technical perspective. However, with Table XI, it’s very evident that they come from a highly technical background.

They are really a close, sociable team, and they care about us and our product. It’s not just a job to them, which is the reason we’re still working with them 4–5 years later. Right now, we have 100 events that are operated by local volunteers all over the world, and we’re looking to increase our online presence. Table XI has been a key component in our growth, and without them, we couldn’t move forward. We could go to another provider, but we don’t because we really see them as a partner. It’s all quite exciting.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We’ve had a few discussions concerning budget, because some things have ended up being more complicated than they originally thought. However, we’ve resolved this amicably, and there hasn’t been any issues.

5.0
Overall Score It's more than work because it's an enjoyable experience. We're in touch on all sorts of things, and they always go to our Chicago events. Everything runs so smoothly, and they've become really important friends for us around the world.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They're not perfect, but they're certainly very good.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The fact that our current website has lasted as long as it has is a good measure of value. The others couldn't explain the details of the final cost, which was worrisome for us, because we knew cost would fluctuate as details arose.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They’re the best people we’ve dealt with by far. Their service goes beyond the call of duty most of the time, which is really important. It’s a big family here.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve already recommended them for another big project. This person was interviewing seven firms, and still ended up going with Table XI. I have no problem recommending their services.

App Dev for Estate Sale Online Marketplace

“Our end product was better because of their collaboration and the ideas that they brought forward.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June 2016 - Nov. 2016
Project summary: 

The Table XI team worked with in-house resources to create a native, iOS application and release the working app into the app store.

The Reviewer
 
501-1,000 Employees
 
Cincinnati, Ohio
Drew McKenzie
Director of Products, Everything but the House
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Table XI brought a toolbox full of experience building apps. With excellent communication and collaboration, they delivered an app that is generating growing traffic, increasing downloads and usage by double digits monthly. The end product is functional, stable and high quality.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m Drew McKenzie, director of product for Everything but the House, a premier online estate sale marketplace. We have taken classic estate auctions at someone’s property and turned them into an online auction. We have bidders all around the globe. We have over 900 employees. Our headquarters is in Cincinnati, Ohio.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Table XI?

Like any company that is scaling fast, we needed additional resources for a key initiative. At the time, this happened to be an iOS application that we wanted to get out into the app store. We leveraged them to augment our existing staff to help with that project. This was our first go at creating a native, iOS application.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They take all of their clients through an inception process that really helped us scope out the project, understand its complexity, and plan out the project over a period of weeks so that together we could achieve it. The deliverable was releasing a working app into the app store. Auctions typically run 5–7 days. The functionality is centered on finding different sales and items and placing bids. It’s pretty simple. Both sides had responsibilities on the executional front.

We continue to build on the app. Since working with them, we’ve hired more resources internally, but we have stayed in touch. We keep them apprised of what’s going on. If we have the need, we will give them a call.

What is the team dynamic?

We had a mobile developer on our team and we engaged with a product lead and two developers on Table XI’s side. They were an extension of our team as we built the app.

How did you come to work with Table XI?

We met Table XI through an introduction from a trusted colleague at another development firm very similar to Table XI. We don’t outsource projects often, but this was a critical need. We received a strong recommendation and we knew of them; they’ve been around awhile and have a great reputation.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together June or July of 2016. It was a 4–5 month engagement.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We’re a very fast growing company. The traffic that is coming to the iOS app with people downloading and using the app is growing by double digits every month. It’s a key piece of how our users engage with us. The functionality, stability, and quality of the app have met our expectations.

What we really enjoyed about working with them was they weren’t just coders. It wasn’t a “throw it over the fence and do the work” mentality. Table XI has a ton of experience. Our end product was better because of their collaboration and the ideas that they brought forward. We’re really happy with the end product.

How did Table XI perform from a project management standpoint?

They were great. We used Slack, and we had very fluid communication. We had real time communication all day, every day as we worked on the project. We went to their offices a few times in Chicago, and they came to our office a few times as well. They are top notch from that perspective.

We collaborated a lot on the design. We came together every week and said, “Okay, here’s what we like and here’s what we don’t like. I think we could do this a little bit better.” If we had just dumped our vision on them, it probably wouldn’t have been as successful.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’ve developed a great culture. When organizations like Table XI do that, they’re able to retain great talent. That’s what we were looking for. They had several iOS developers that had a lot of experience. You might think iOS has been around forever because we’re on iPhone 7, but it’s still a new platform in regards to software development. Having a lot of experience building different apps is critical. Their culture allows them to have experience on their bench that you wouldn’t find at many shops of their size.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, not really. They’ve been great and we’ve stayed in touch with them since the engagement.

5.0
Overall Score It was a great experience and I wish more organizations operated like they did.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their rates are very competitive as far as what we would expect.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They met and exceeded our expectations.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    We’ve already referred them to other people.

Web Dev and CMS Integration for Non-Profit

“They really felt like partners in the project instead of just a company we hired.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Apr. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Using a Google Ventures Design Sprint Process, Table XI developed the website and CMS integration for a nonprofit, resulting in increased session times and a 10% ticket sales boost.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Sona Jones
Director of Marketing and Media, Chicago Ideas
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Diligence, intelligence, and impeccable communication sets Table XI apart from the rest. They are truly invested in the success of the business, and their ability to overcome a challenge is impressive.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I am the Director of Marketing and Media of Chicago Ideas. We produce Chicago Ideas Week, which is the world’s largest ideas festival at the accessible price point of $15 a ticket. Our business is partly a live event, but we’re also a year round media platform publishing digital content all year round. We offer ticketing staff for the events, promotion for both the events and speakers, and we’re also hosting a video library.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Table XI?

One of our challenges was getting the audience to really understand our core differentiator, which was that we are democratizing ideas festivals and communicating the breadth of Chicago Ideas and the people behind it. The second challenge was pivoting between selling tickets to Chicago Ideas Week one part of the year, then getting people to watch our videos for the other part. So, we had a twofold objective in place that needed to be marketed differently on the website. Being able to merge these two things seamlessly and build a system that allowed us to pivot based on where we are in the year was really important.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

They inherited our old website built by a previous developer, as well as a lot of code and then merged the CMS and backend systems. We knew we wanted a complete website overhaul, so we met with them to go through it and used Table XI’s Google Venture Design Sprint Process. We both interviewed members and stakeholders of our team to understand overall goals and objectives, and then I synthesized that into a brand briefing for them. We collaborated together and decided on everything from brand to website goals.

Along with working on the backend that we’d already built out, we asked questions like, “What flow did people need to follow?” and “What ticketing system does it need to integrate with?”. Our prior infrastructure made for a very complicated process. After we aligned on those objectives, we did a week long Sprint with a number of their developers and designers and quickly prototyped the website. The final day of that week, we did some quick usability testing, and then ended up with a final design after the Sprint process.

We had a very tight timeline, so we spent the next 4-6 weeks with their design team and developers building out this brand new website. We decided the best way to go about it would be for them to build us 26 customizable CMS blocks. All of them followed a flexible, easy to use design that allowed us to promote events, speakers, or videos depending on what we had or what time of year it was. The overall system, based on the versatility of needs we had, was one of Table XI’s ideas which ended up being a critical piece. We, along with our leadership, loved a couple of custom pages that came out of the Design Sprint, so we didn’t get rid of them. They figured out a way for us to highlight the people who work for Chicago Ideas, which is important to us when organizing funding and booking speakers.

The “About Page” they built for us was really smart and helped us achieve the goal of differentiating all the points of Chicago Ideas. They did a really excellent job with that. Table XI also found a way to put our “Schedule” on our “Attend” page, allowing visitors to sift through 150 events with no issue. Everyone loves it and it’s worked well for us this past year. They also built a mobile compatible site, which was such a blur to us because we developed the website so fast, but we did do a good amount of testing towards the end to make sure everything worked properly and how we wanted it to. The team was really diligent in making sure any minute detail was rectified. Aside from maintenance, they are now currently working with us on integrating all of our data from our website into SalesForce, which is incredible.

How did you come to work with Table XI?

I was not a part of that process because I came on board last year.

What is the status of this engagement?

I started working with them April 2016, and have been working together since, but the organization's relationship dates back further than that.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Our time on site has doubled since we’ve had the new redesign, our ticket sales rate has gone up 10%, and we were close to selling out all of our programs last year. None of this has ever really happened, and I attribute that to the fact we were able to creatively showcase all of the programs based on what the topics were really about, instead of just a big name.

Table XI built a website that allows us to showcase the topics divorced from whether or not we have a big name attached to it. I think that was highly attributable to why we moved tickets in all of our programs across the board. I wish I had someone who I could dedicate to only updating the website, because I think they did such a beautiful job, and we now have so many options with how to use it. It certainly made things so much easier. We have so little reliance on a designer to build custom graphics, and it’s just much more user and mobile friendly.

How did Table XI perform from a project management standpoint?

I would say Judith, [Project Manager, Table XI] was the best I’ve ever worked with. She was incredibly diligent. They knew what they were talking about, and were timely in terms of responses as well as thorough. They give us a lot of time to make sure everything's running smoothly and exactly how we want. Most of our communication is via email, and we also have a weekly video check in.

What distinguishes Table XI from other providers?

I think the quality of the staff is really great, because everybody is super smart and good at their job. Every team member I worked with was one of the best in their role. It’s nice to have the type of partnership where they are invested in the success of the business. They really felt like partners in the project instead of just a company we hired.

Is there anything Table XI could have improved or done differently?

For us, it was really just figuring out the kinks in our partnership. It’s hard when you have Agile design, where there’s supposed to be a set budget and everything is fluid. 

5.0
Overall Score I enjoyed my time with all of them. The Google Design Sprint process is funny, because you’re in a room with these people for five straight days, which can be a little bit daunting, but working with them was awesome.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It goes back to the nature of our relationship with the company.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    It was almost perfect. I think the only thing is that they had a team member go on vacation during a critical week, but you can’t really help that.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve already referred them to a couple colleagues and friends.

Mobile App Dev for Organic Children's Boutique

"TableXI immediately seemed to be listening, understanding, and interpreting what I wanted and put together a proposal in a very professional way. It really impressed me."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Nov. 2012 - Feb. 2016
Project summary: 

Table XI designed and developed a shopping app, which also synced with the store's main website. In addition to researching unique and creative solutions, they had to coordinate with a number of different teams. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Suzanne Price
CEO, Sprout San Francisco
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Table XI's exceptional understanding of the customer experience is evident in the app's design and functionality. Most impressive was their project management. They were communicative, timely, and highly motivated to bring the end goals to fruition.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I am the CEO of a company, called Sprout San Francisco. We have five physical stores and an online E-commerce site. We sell organic and natural baby products.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with TableXI?

We have a baby registry so people can select what they want their friends to buy them for a baby shower. We wanted a solution for people to be able to scan products in the store, ideally using their iPhone and those products are added to their registry online. For this specific idea, we came to TableXI directly, but we have used many different technology providers through different aspects of our website and E-commerce build and point of sale and all the different things that we’ve had to use technology for. So I do have a very good point of comparison; the way companies do things.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

We introduced our idea to TableXI and told them what we’d like to happen. After taking in all of the information and what our goals were, they sketched out a plan, design-wise, and also function wise. They came up with a lot of ideas that they thought would be interesting to add to the app, and we ended up using them. They had to coordinate with me and other members of my team who help with the website, as well as my outside web developers who help with my E-commerce site and make all of the pieces work together.

They had both a developer who did the actual work and a point person who could translate all of the information and keep us informed and on schedule.

As for the app, you can use the camera on your phone to scan a bar code in our store and then it will give you information on the product. Then, you can choose to add it to your registry and it syncs up with the backend of our website. We went through a number of iterations of that. They really worked with us on how to display those items to the customer and categorize them correctly.

There were also some tricky things. For instance, we have items in our store that are not available on our website. As a result, we had to come up with a creative solution for what would be displayed to the customer when they added that item to their registry. We wanted the customer to still be able to add it, but also make sure they know that this an in-store only item. Table XI came up with a notification, and then a way to add the item to the backend even though it wasn't online. 

How did you come to work with TableXI?

For this specific idea, we came to TableXI directly, but we have used many different technology providers for different aspects of our website in the past. 

I actually went to college with Mark [CEO, TableXI], but they don’t work on Magento, which is our E-commerce software. So while building my site over the years, I never did any work with them, but I knew about the firm. When I was looking to build an app, I was just so unhappy with my current developers that I asked Mark if it was something that they did and he said yes. I met with the team and discussed the app. I was impressed by their professionalism and their immediate understanding of what I needed to happen and how to make that happen. I find that I have to repeat myself multiple times with other developers to make things happen. In contrast, TableXI immediately seemed to be listening, understanding, and interpreting what I wanted. They put together a proposal in a very professional way. It really impressed me.

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

We have spent between $10,000 and $50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in November 2012 until February 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We’re getting four times as many registries per month than we did before. That’s a huge part of our business. 

They did a great job of capturing and interpreting our brand. They effectively thought through the customer experience and then designed the app based on that, rather than making it as I had envisioned it, which didn't take the user into account. Both the functionality and the design were executed really well, and I don’t often find people who can do both well.

How did TableXI perform from a project management standpoint?

Everything on the technology side turned out great, but I’d say the number one thing that impressed me was their project management. Communicating with them on a personal basis was very pleasant. They were never defensive when there was a mistake; they always fixed it right away. They kept everything on time and kept us in the loop of what was happening constantly.

I just really enjoyed working with them, which I find rare when it comes to developers. Most of our communication was by phone, Skype, and email, and we used Slack a lot. We had weekly check-ins scheduled and they were always happy to pick up the phone if something came up during the week.

What distinguishes TableXI from other providers?

They keep things on time. They weren’t ever condescending, always listening to our needs and explaining things in a helpful way. They worked with us to get the desired outcome on all sides; on the customer experience, on the design, and on the technology and usability. They didn't just do exactly want we asked, but rather, came up with their own ideas and put the extra effort in. Overall, they thought critically about the end goal and helped us to make it happen.

They provided a lot of suggestions in terms of what they thought would be unique or efficient. It ended up working very well. Whenever there was a problem, during A/B testing for instance, they made sure to fix it immediately.

They were also really cost conscious. I had a pretty tight budget and they were able to prioritize things in order for it to be less expensive. I really appreciated that TableXI was very patient and took the time to explain things.

Is there anything TableXI could have improved or done differently?

No. I wish they had more of a scope of developers. I would have moved all of my business to them if they had people with the various skills that I need.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    When I started working with them, I probably would have rated them lower because they were one of the more expensive developers I worked with. However, I found that every time I try to go to someone cheaper, it ends up taking me twice as many hours and it
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

UX Research for International Education Company

“Table XI provides mentorship on Agile development processes, which is really valuable for our team.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Mar. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Table XI provides strategic leadership on UX design, product development, and project management for a learning platform. A developer also assists the internal team with urgent projects.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Lauren Hanford
Head of UX Design, Participate
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Table XI not only improves the product, but also the process itself. Senior resources provide mentoring and model best practices in project management and UX design. Not surprisingly, there has been a significant increase in signups mere weeks after the launch of the revised platform.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the head of user experience design of Participate, an international education company. I work with one of the platform product teams. We provide a broad range of services to K-20 institutions, including recruitment and placement of international teachers. We provide whole school programming around global education and language immersion education. We also provide an online platform where teachers can take professional learning courses and collaborate with other educators. The company has approximately 65 employees. Aside from our location in North Carolina, we also have an office in Costa Rica.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Table XI?

The overarching goal was to bring clarity to our platform by improving the product development process. This included mentoring for people on that team, including the product owner and myself as the UX designer. We’re a very small team, so we also needed additional manpower to meet different project deadlines.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

When Table XI began working with us, we did not have any functional user experience process for product development. One of their deliverables was to help us implement that process. Table XI started with a UX audit. They sent a senior UX designer and a developer to our office in North Carolina. They went through a 2-day workshop with our product team to understand our business and our history. They also looked at our problems, our context, and our goals. We went through a couple of exercises in that time together.

After that initial audit meeting, they sent us a recap document and their recommended scope of work. From there, I worked with the senior UX designer to run a user research sprint on our platform. She initiated and ran the user testing sessions. Since I had less experience, she trained me on the skill sets needed to run that type of interview. In the process, we documented how successful different aspects of the platform were. This provided the foundation for attacking a critical UX issue and figuring out how to create more value in our product.

From there, the product team went to the Table XI office in Chicago. Their senior UX designer facilitated a 2-day product design studio for us. We went through exercises to understand our business and product goals. We also shared the outcomes from the previous research sprint with the rest of the team. Based on the research, we decided to focus on redesigning a specific feature.

In the next phase, we developed personas as a team and did some competitive analysis. We looked at user goals and then prioritized feature ideas. We even did some hands-on sketching with a team of developers, which was pretty funny. From those outcomes, Table XI’s senior UX designer and I planned Agile design sprints. We created wireframes and testable prototypes, followed by user testing. We would learn from those findings, iterate on our design, and then move to the next level. While we were doing that work for this specific feature, Table XI’s developer was integrated into our development team. He worked with them on another project that had a more immediate deadline. Then we all came back together to deliver the work on the redesigned feature.

As we wrapped up the work, Table XI’s senior UX designer focused more on coaching me individually. Currently, this involves 1 ½ hours each week where I’m able to share the challenges I’m facing. I could also ask for pointers about my role as the team leader — answering questions from developers, handling customer-facing meetings, and navigating the world of UX design. She points me to resources to learn more and shown me how to do things effectively. Her input has given me space to learn a lot and grow.  

How did you come to work with Table XI?

Our development team included 2 former Table XI employees. These 2 developers were very experienced and saw problems more quickly than the rest of us did. Our choice to work with Table XI was definitely influenced by the fact that they had worked there. They could really vouch for their approach and reliability. We weren’t actually looking at any other companies to fill this need.

We had an initial phone call with Table XI. After we discussed our goals, Table XI felt like a good fit in terms of culture and leadership. There were clearly a lot of gaps on our team that they could help us with.

What is the status of this engagement?

We have been working together since March 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We have seen a 20% increase in meaningful engagement with the redesigned feature, and an initial bump in user sign ups of 185%. We are also seeing a sustained increase in user sign ups at around 58%. Finally, our MAU is continuing a steady incline, with a 43% increase from prior to feature re-design. 

The design process introduced by Table XI transformed our product and our team. The components that went into the new feature now help us build better components across the team platform. We have a solid UX research and design process, whereas before, we had nothing. Our developers now trust the UX process a lot more. We also have strategies in place for tackling problems together.

Table XI provides mentorship on Agile development processes, which is really valuable for our team. Before we started working with Table XI, our team had a broken process for projects. We did not have the regular cadence of Agile development such as retrospectives and stand-ups. We certainly weren’t having any UX-to-development transition meetings because we didn’t have any UX work at that point.

How did Table XI perform from a project management standpoint?

Table XI has been modeling outstanding communication and project management to us. At this point, they continue to bring value by teaching the Agile approach to others in our organization. It’s certainly a very strategic approach to work.

Right now, we have a weekly stand-up via video call. We also use Slack and email as standard communication tools. The senior UX designer and I still communicate using video twice a week.

What did you find most impressive about Table XI?

Table XI is a company that really works side by side with you to solve problems. They’re not just spewing off strategies from an ivory tower or giving you documentation of approaches or things that may work. They’re going to give you materials, but they’re also going to get down side by side with you to help. They really want to understand and become a part of your organization. I noticed really early on that they often use “we” and “us” when describing the project. They want a deep understanding of who we are as a client and what we’re trying to accomplish. When we are successful, they are successful with us.

Are there any areas Table XI could improve?

It would be nice to have a tighter discussion about the budget every week. While we get a tremendous amount of value, it comes at a high cost for that type of service. When you’re really very deeply in that work, there could be a little sticker shock when you see the price on a monthly basis. I don’t think we ever asked for weekly updates on that. Maybe it’s on us to ask for that, but it’s something that they should consider. There should be a clear expectation up front about the budget and how often it should be discussed.

5.0
Overall Score I was quite sad when I stopped having so much side by side time with their designer. It was a really wonderful, transformative experience for me. It has been amazing.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I was stunned at how quickly they were able to meet our needs and deliver what we needed.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It is expensive, but we get tremendous value for the team, the product itself, and me personally. The people they mentored are now able to echo what they’ve learned to the organization.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They’re obviously a company that wants feedback in order to improve their processes and deliverables every step of the way. The quality they deliver is incredible.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would if they seemed to be a good fit. I would absolutely recommend them and say, “You don’t have a choice. Stop looking for anybody else.”

Custom CMS for Professional Development Non-Profit

"Table XI is always thinking, learning, and staying on top of the industry."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Jun. 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Table XI converted a Drupal platform to Ruby on Rails, created both backend and frontend interfaces, and developed a matching algorithm for a non-profit organization.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago
Executive Director, Non-Profit
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Table XI has remained extremely responsive and dependable, proving their expertise by always assigning appropriate roles to the best of their respective team. Overall, Table XI meets expectations and delivers exactly what they promise.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I am the Executive Director of a non-profit organization. We connect other nonprofits with professional women who want to volunteer their skills and expertise on short-term, specific volunteer projects. We have two employees.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Table XI?

We were looking for an efficient and effective way to be able to identify women in our database based on their particular skills and interests, as well as their geographic location, in order to match them with those who came to us with very specific project needs. We needed a matching algorithm to be able to do this more efficiently instead of doing it manually. We had worked with two different providers with two different iterations of the site, but as we grew the business, we realized that we needed to have a more sophisticated matching algorithm. We needed to have some various components be more malleable, basically things we, as a small and lean, but mighty team, could make adjustments to ourselves concerning the content management system.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

We began through an inception meeting, which was a planning and strategy session where we could really identify the appropriate road map that could help us reach our end goal. After that meeting, we worked with Table XI to create our minimum viable product.

They overhauled our website that was previously on Drupal and put it on Ruby on Rails. They developed a custom built platform on Ruby on Rails and essentially built out the entire backend, and then the frontend interface. They built a content management system on the frontend and on the backend and developed various tools including both the matching algorithm and the project wizard.

The project wizard is essentially a tool that helps our non-profit organizations scope their volunteer projects, so they can select a project opportunity from a list of about 160 different types. They select that project, fill out a form to add in additional details, and then Table XI built a system by which those non-profits could then view, select, and invite volunteers to review a project invitation. Table XI was able to really refine that matching algorithm, and in the future, they made it to where we could sort not only by criteria, but also by a keyword search. They definitely showed their expertise because they had been working with several other clients who were quite similar.

We continue our work with Table XI, and it fluctuates from maintenance to ramping up and doing more development work, which we’ve done a Phase 2 of this past fall. Most often, it’s purely maintenance and checking issues.

How did you come to work with Table XI?

We are located in Chicago, so we had looked at agencies throughout the country, but we had a preference for a Chicago based agency in order to make it an easier process in terms of development. We also had a pretty tight budget, so we were looking for an agency that could work within that budget. Really, we were looking for an agency that had experience in developing matching algorithms. Table XI came through meeting all of those requirements, and a partner of ours had recommended that we look into them. We had gone through an RSP process to identify vendors who had expertise in that matching algorithm in particular. After a review process, we selected Table XI because they had worked with similar entities both in the non-profit and for-profit space.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in June 2014, and have been working together since.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Our project match rates is at about 80%. They’ve really given us a new face through the design work that they’ve done, and really helped us to be able to better manage our operations. We rely heavily on our technology platform. They have been tremendous in helping us to accomplish our goals and to further our mission.

How did Table XI perform from a project management standpoint?

They have been very responsive. They’ve always been very efficient in getting back to us quickly and making sure that every question we have is answered. I would speak very highly of them in regards to project management. We have check-ins whenever we have significant development work going on, but during times of maintenance, we check in periodically or as needed. We meet in person quite frequently, particularly when we have a lot of developmental work going on, and they’re always happy to host it in our offices. From a collaborative perspective, they’ve been really easy to work with. We have a really tight budget, and they’ve always really helped us stay within that budget while also helping to ensure that the technology continues to advance. They’ve always been very generous with us, and have been very strategic so that they can help us identify the priorities we need to focus on for the time being, and then map out a timeline for other priorities moving forward.

What distinguishes Table XI from other providers?

Table XI is always thinking, learning, and staying on top of the industry. They’re bringing forward a very good team that they’ve assembled, and always brings forward experts in those areas. I really like that they’re able to share best practices and knowledge with us, and we can know that they are giving us the best advice out there.

Is there anything Table XI could have improved or done differently?

I know when we initially started working with Table XI, design was just kind of a component that they were adding in. I think they were merging with another agency at that point, and I can say that within the past few years, the design has continuously improved. That was one area that was an issue at the beginning, and we could tell they were still working out the kinks, but they’ve progressed quite a bit. I feel pretty confident in their design work.

5.0
Overall Score The team is great. They’re really easy to work with. They’re really smart and a lot of fun too.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    A couple of projects took a little bit longer than anticipated, but a lot of that fell on our shoulders in terms of scheduling. For the most part, they’re very responsive and able to keep us on deadline.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They are expensive, but they’ve always really worked with us and been very generous in offering their pro-bono support.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I think they’ve always met our expectations. They’ve been able to help us meet our end goal as well.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

React Native App Dev for Global Manufacturing Company

"They’ve worked to understand how customers are going to be using our app and what their skillsets are."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Dec. 2016 - Apr. 2017
Project summary: 

Table XI developed an iOS and Android app used to control and monitor hardware devices, taking a leading role in UX, inception of the concept and iterations.

The Reviewer
 
5,001-10,000 Employees
 
Illinois
VP, Fortune 500 Manufacturing Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

They internalize customer needs and take their time to understand ultimate goals. They are phenomenal project managers, and they’re well-versed in both the technical and aesthetic aspects of development. They delivered based on user expectation, and they’re a flexible and dedicated team.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We specialize in the production of fuel meters, primarily for the backs of fuel trucks which deliver home-heating oil and propane globally. I am the vice president of the Americas division. I am in charge of all operations, from Canada to Brazil.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Table XI?

We have a strong market share and position in North America. Around 90% of the trucks on the road are using our equipment, but they don’t have a way of wirelessly communicating with those pieces. The aim was to increase efficiency for our end-customers. Through this new efficiency, we’d be able to sell incremental content via a wireless adapter and a free app.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We have worked with Table XI’s mobile group on specking a wireless adapter which could plug into our existing hardware. They determined what our desired outcome was, and how we wanted to go about achieving it. Controlling hardware was a new area for their team, so we brought in some pieces of equipment for use during the development process. Table XI built a series of stories which satisfied our needs, and assigned values to each of those.

We prioritized them, and started work on the iOS and Android mobile app which drivers could use at their convenience for controlling the equipment while they’re out making deliveries.

Throughout the process, we had weekly calls, and, every two weeks, we had a showcase demonstration. Because our system is hardware-based, we performed much of the functionality testing ourselves. Every new feature and bug-fix which came out went through a testing protocol on both our sides.

We ended up adjusting our scope as we went, depending on budget. This was a critical aspect for us on this project, and we knew that we’d have to trim some things, as we got closer to the end.

The app developer had to learn our internal protocol, in order to talk to the register. This was done through a new serial-to-wireless adapter which we developed exactly for this project. There was a steep learning curve for our own system early-on in the project.

The app controls the equipment on the back of the truck, allowing drivers to set up, start and end deliveries, and print tickets. There are some basic features in place for communicating in a more comfortable way with equipment which typically sits in the backend of a truck. Many of our locations are in places like Canada and Minnesota, where it’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach -20 °F, while people are out delivering fuel. Drivers communicate with the register via a wireless signal, by means of phone or tablet.

The application allows us to collect data and analytics. This aspect has been trimmed down quite a bit, but we can see how many people are using the app, as well as other general information. We have the hooks in place to pull more useful marketing data, and understand the average delivery size and slow rates. We ended up trimming this scope in order to keep our budget.

How did you come to work with Table XI?

We had used them on a project for another division of the company, so I knew a bit about Table XI from the start. This original project was for a web-based password-protected customer portal which allowed users to download user manuals for equipment, service records, and so on. We interviewed three or four different companies, looking for experience with developing this sort of tool, as well as a level of expertise which we lacked.

Currently, I would rather evaluate people on their ability to handle the inception process, and internalize our customers and what we’re trying to get out of the project. This is something which Table XI does really well. They ask many questions and take a full day to really understand the scope of a project, and what they’re trying to gain out of it.

How much have you invested with Table XI?

The cost of their work has been around $90,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started the initial scoping with Table XI in December 2016. The project ended in April 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We have formally launched the app three weeks ago, and haven’t yet reached the sales level we want, but we have certainly created a lot of industry interest and excitement.

The biggest metrics for me, in terms of the project itself, were budget and timing. We went a bit over-budget, but the timing hit, and Table XI completed the work ahead of one of our major trade-show events.

We are opening Pandora’s box in a way, with everyone wanting the app to do everything. We are setting the right expectations, and will start building the next set of features which people have been asking for, now that they have their hands on our app.

How did Table XI perform from a project management standpoint?

They do a very good job in providing regular work updates. On the content side, the one challenge for a budget-constrained project is making sure that we have tight check-ins on where we stand. From a content and development standpoint, the project management is phenomenal on Table XI’s side. They’ve worked to understand how customers are going to be using our app and what their skillsets are; they covered not only the look-and-feel part of the UX side, but also the technical side, making sure it’s a quality product.

Table XI has primarily used GoToMeeting for updates. We’re fortunate to be on the north side of Chicago, while they’re located downtown. There were several instances where we simply took the train into the city and paid them a visit.

What did you find most impressive about Table XI?

It’s really the quality of the work, and the way in which the end-customer and user are internalized. They make sure that the product will not only be functional, but also give us the professional look-and feel we want in order for it to represent us and the company.

Are there any areas Table XI could improve?

We would appreciate having a way to really understand the daily impact of the work on our budget. Many of the scope items can change, as bugs are found or features are updated.

4.5
Overall Score It’s been an overall positive experience. All of us have opportunities for improvement, but Table XI is good about taking feedback and working with us.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They’re very flexible, and have internalized deadlines in the best way possible. Table XI doesn’t have a huge team, so there have been some capacity constraints, but they’ve otherwise been good about hitting deadlines.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’re definitely not the cheapest solution, but there’s a lot of value behind the quality of the product. We’ve been back to Table XI twice now, and will have a continued work contract.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Table XI focuses on meeting the full intent of each storyline, and on making sure that the end-product is as high-quality as what we’d expect.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have referred them a couple of times. Table XI does great work, and, if it fits the budget, I’d have no problem recommending them again.

Application Dev for University Leadership Institute

“They listened to us, which was critical since no one has ever done something like this for leadership development.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Dec. 2016 - May 2017
Project summary: 

Table XI worked with an internal team to design and build a custom app that sends SMS notifications. The completed MVP includes software that matches students to leadership programs.

The Reviewer
 
1,0001-5,000 Employees
 
Houston, Texas
Tom Kolditz
Director, Ann and John Doerr Institute for New Leaders
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Instead of offering a ready-made app, Table XI showed a keen understanding of the project requirements and developed a unique solution. Table XI’s people also collaborated well with internal developers and excelled at project management.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Rice University is a private research university in Houston, Texas. I am the director of the Doerr Institute for New Leaders, which is a cross-university leadership endeavor. It is designed to be the most comprehensive development strategy of any top-20 university. There are 10–12 leadership opportunities at Rice. We have various boutique agencies like the Center for Civic Leadership and the Center for Engineering Leadership.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Table XI?

Because the Doerr Institute is central to the university, we wanted to improve its visibility. We needed to make sure that all prospective and incoming students were aware of the leadership development programs offered by the institute. We also needed a software tool that could take students’ personal characteristics and match them with an array of opportunities at the university.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Our collaboration with Table XI started with research on similar matching strategies. They had worked on a similar solution for matching mentors with mentees, specifically businesswomen. We went through a 5-day design sprint and tested a prototype at the end of that period. One of Table XI’s biggest contributions was figuring out that this needed to be an SMS-driven process. Students don’t like to go to websites because it’s cumbersome and requires a laptop. They don’t like apps because it’s too much of a commitment to download one. 

Backend software designers at Rice teamed up with Table XI’s team. We created an SMS text bot that conversed with students and analyzed their statements. It sent back a list of 4–8 recommended activities at Rice. The bot connects to the website on the backend. Our combined team designed the frontend and the SMS text input. They created a pattern of tiles that go back to students’ phones and describe recommended activities. There are links that take them to various websites for leader development entities.

We also offer a professional leadership coach to every student at the school who wants one. It’s a huge benefit, and students can take advantage of this service for one semester. We have to make sure that all students understand the purpose of the coaching program as well as how to connect to it. This information is included in the SMS tool.

How did you come to work with Table XI?

We contacted our own software designers and asked for recommendations. The main reason we chose Table XI was that we were scanning for similar types of matching software. We’re a leadership-oriented organization, so we knew about a mentor-matching program done by a women’s organization. We hoped to find an organization like Table XI that might have already done something similar and had the applicable code. We had to build the argument that we wanted to choose this specific company rather than opening a competitive bid.

How much have you invested with Table XI?

We have spent between $50,000 and $200,000. We analyzed their fee structure using our in-house software developers. The impression was that Table XI offered appropriate prices.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Table XI in late October or early November 2016. Our first design sprint was done in the first week of December. The project was completed 3 weeks ago when they delivered a minimum viable product. We’ve tested everything. There may be advancements that we will add later on.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The project has gone smoothly, and the product has been better than I expected. We’ve had 4 separate product testing sessions with student stakeholders. There was a small number of representative students involved. Every session we’ve had has been highly successful, with the product being rated between 4 and 4.5 out of 5. Many of the recommendations they gave us were details that we decided not to include for specific reasons. We’ve aimed the software itself at 300,000 prospective students. It will be used at a fairly robust scale.

How did Table XI perform from a project management standpoint?

Our project manager was an exemplary organizer and implementer. Their use of our time was very efficient. The design sprint was straightforward and similar to a workshop. Most of the communication was done via video conference, either through Skype of Zoom. Table XI’s team went twice to our location.

Table XI has been successful at forming an impromptu team with our own people. Some of our developers were not exactly easy to deal with in a social sense, but Table XI’s team was persistent and able to do it. They made sure that questions were answered, things were clarified, and so forth. They were pleasant to work with.

What did you find most impressive about Table XI?

Table XI helped us create a product that we thought would be effective, rather than steering us in the direction of a preferred design. Instead of trying to sell us something, Table XI made our ideas a reality. They listened to us, which was critical since no one has ever done something like this for leadership development.

Are there any areas Table XI could improve?

No. They did exactly what we needed them to do.

4.5
Overall Score It was a positive experience.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Table XI met every deadline that we established.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their fees were fair, but I also wouldn’t characterize Table XI as a bargain.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    We received what we needed on time and at a reasonable cost.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    We’d definitely refer them.

Software Dev for Medical School

"[T]hey were very patient with us, and truly a pleasure to work with."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Jul. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Table XI redeveloped a database involving sample submitting and billing for medical researchers. They focused on straightforward user experience and ease of access to users who had been used to a past system.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Lebanon, New Hampshire
Christian Lytle
Administrative Coordinator, Norris Cotton Cancer Center
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Table XI built a system and delivered exactly what they promised. They were able to refine and adapt the system to our needs, as well as be flexible and scalable, handing off maintenance to in-house programmers when possible. The team is patient, efficient, and communicates regularly.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I work for the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and also for the DNorris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which is on a separate campus. Within the town, we say that there is a Dartmouth community, and I am an administrative coordinator for all Shared Resources, namely the facilities which offer services to the researchers within and outside the Dartmouth community. We offer scientific services such as bioinformatics, various testing services, advice, access to Instrumentation, and lots of other items, anything from flow cytometry to next-gen sequencing, imaging, histo-staining and so forth. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Table XI?

With all our shared resources, sample tracking and billing for those samples becomes a huge situation. We’re handling thousands of samples per year, in multiple locations and departments and even schools. Coordinating this is very difficult, and we need a database which allows us to accept samples, track the samples, and then bill for these things. We also need to be able to give researchers access to instrumentation allowing them to reserve time on these instruments. It’s not a trivial situation, and the system we originally had was an in-house one which had been build eight years ago. We lost our programmers for that, and, given its multilayered nature, it became a dead system at that point. We needed to replace it with another system.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Table XI was flown out in order for their team to visit all our shared-resource facilities at Dartmouth, and find out what the needs and wants were for each one, and how those may or may not have fit into our system. Table XI put a proposal together for us, and we went forward with it.

They took the bones of the system they had developed at Northwestern University, and started slowly adapting it to what we wanted. We rebranded it to RaDar (Resources at Dartmouth), and built the system up to the point of being launched.

I’ve launched many databases, and it’s always a scary proposition. There are always things which we hadn’t considered, or which can go wrong. I can say without a doubt that this was the easiest launch I’ve ever undertaken. The system worked as advertised, people adapted to it quickly, it was user-friendly and straightforward, and most of the glitches we encountered were on the financial end. This was mainly because tracking financials is different in every institution, so fitting the software into the Dartmouth system took a little effort, not to mention that, as soon as we launched it, the school decided to change the system we’d be using. We had to go back and retool that a bit, but it was certainly not because of anything Table XI did.

We had a good launch, and it was clear that the system was working well. We were then able to acquire some grants to improve the system. We were able to refine it even further, working with Table XI to add enhancements and fit the system with our financial and scientific needs.

We’ve wanted to refine some of the reservation-type modules for reserving instruments and selecting services which fit our cores a bit better than the original system did, like a Sanger sequencing ordering and tracking module. This has been going very well for us, and we continue down this path today.

There are two ends to the software: the user end and a management one. A user will click on our RaDar site and select the core or shared resource which they want to order from. It can be either a service, reserved time on an instrument which the researcher wants to use, or an item which they want to obtain. Users then choose the billing code they want to use, and the system tracks where the service will take place, or they may view what the state of their order is in. After completion, the system will automatically invoice the bill and show billing from a user standpoint.

From a shared resource standpoint, we have a management side of things, where we can see the orders coming in, the bills being processed, what instruments have reserved time, and so on. We can manage items, block items, choose whether they need notifications, etc.

We go through billing at the end of the month, collecting and journaling all invoiced orders through the system, using our administrative staff. The transactions are completed at that point, and we can track any trends with services and instrument use, as well as the types samples going through.

We want to stay up with technologies, and, even though everyone will have a computer typically, students will tend to be on the move a lot, bouncing between classes and other things. Having the ability to access the system using a smartphone made perfect sense. This is something which we’ve just launched, and are still touting to people, but users have been very excited about finding out that they can simply pull their phone out, reserve an instrument, check the status of their data or the instrument schedules, and so on. It makes it that much more user-friendly to use the mobile side of our system.

How did you come to work with Table XI?

There were companies which provided software for our purpose, and we looked at them very closely. There were also groups which could be hired and brought in to set things up on our behalf. I was at a meeting, and had heard representatives of Northwestern University talk about their experiences of bringing up a similar system to the one we were looking for, and working with Table XI for the task. It was also an open source system which made it attractice. Having heard their presentation, and it sounded like it would be right up our alley. We talked to the people at Northwestern, who got us in contact with Table XI. We sat down, told their team what we were looking for, and tried to work some preliminaries out. It looked like the collaboration would work, so we decided to go with Table XI.

A part of the billing structure for the other software solutions of this type was to charge based on the amount of work done through the system. The provider would take a percentage of what we were charging. This was certainly reasonable, but our concern was more with finding a nice company which wouldn’t be bought out after a while. This did indeed happen with at least one of the companies we were looking at, although I can’t say how it has affected them.

We were also looking to bring in some of our own programmers in order to manage the system. After we’d finished the system (not that we really can finish a system like this one), and it became more of a maintenance one, we’d use on-site programmers who had knowledge of the software and could perform basic maintenance. We could go to Table XI when we needed bigger changes. We appreciated the flexibility of working with them, and being able to take the system over more ourselves, as it was brought to a satisfactory position.

How much have you invested with Table XI?

The initial cost of launching the system was around $70,000. That system could’ve worked perfectly fine for us, but, since then, we’ve gotten $80,000 in grants for additional items. We’re working on spending additional money for further refinements. I should point out that many of these refinements were not needed for us to be able to use the system. They are mainly to have RaDar fit more precisely to how we do things here at Dartmouth. 

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Table XI in July 2015. The initial process took a little more than one year. It should’ve gone faster, but it took us a while to make some decisions. Once we went forward with the development, there was a four-to-five-month period, again with some hold ups on our part, before we launched the system and introduced it to Dartmouth. The collaboration is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The biggest thing for us was not to lose the tracking and financial functionalities of our system. Shared resources aren’t out there to make money, but to provide a service to the Dartmouth community, and try to break even. In doing that, we provide services of well above $3 million. Having not had downtime, and being able to slip into the system easily and with huge improvements over the previous one, was a terrific way to go for us, and it was extremely important to the administration and the stability of the Shared Resources. 

User experience has been all positive. This is not to say that people don’t have little issues, but this is what the grants are for. We’ve implemented a search function which was initially meant for looking up individual order numbers. Sometimes, when people go to the front page, they know that they want to order, but aren’t sure necessarily what Shared Resource may contain an instrument or a service. The thought was that we needed the ability to search for services and other things across the site, and this was one of the improvements we made on the site. The mobile part was another advancement which we didn’t have before, and which will make the system more user-friendly.

Everyone has loved the new system, and they find it very user-friendly. With the previous one, getting to order something took seven or eight clicks, while this one only requires filling a couple of fields and placing an order. It’s much more streamlined.

How did Table XI perform from a project management standpoint?

They are extremely organized, and the delays have not been on their part. We could have probably launched the system three months earlier than we did, but we ran into problems with getting the information to Table XI. There is some red tape within the college, but they were very patient with us, and truly a pleasure to work with.

Table XI setup a GoToMeeting instance, and we gather there every other week, going through documents and the progress of the work. They maintain a queue, and notify us whenever an item is being worked on. The feedback is constant, and amounts to a number of emails. We can quickly log into the system and setup a new request in the queue.

When Table XI first came out to Dartmouth, they sat down with our resources. We brought them out again a little over a month ago, in order to really assess the system. It was a huge help, and it refocused us, clarifying our goals.

Are there any areas Table XI could improve?

I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. We have not been displeased with their performance. The communication is solid, and we can tell Table XI what we want and don’t want. I can’t say we’ve run into a situation of needing to improve something.

4.5
Overall Score It’s been a great experience all around.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Not all deadlines are right on time, but it was not always their fault. We sometimes thought things would take less time than they actually did, and this is on both ends. Overall, the majority of timelines have been met. Things progress as advertised.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    For us, it was something which needed to be turned around quickly, and we got a very good product quickly. I found the price to be reasonable, compared to what Table XI was doing for us.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The quality of the product is good. It’s done exactly what we needed it to do, and has more than met our expectations.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer