Let's build something your users will love.

We are a team of designers and developers that make web and mobile applications for our clients. We aim to create great user experiences powered by well-made software.

During the sales process, we will seek to understand the jobs your users need to be done. When we start a project, we'll typically run a product design sprint where we create and test a prototype with real people in the first week.

We then design and code while focusing on quality and maintainability. We work iteratively and deploy working code regularly. We have no project managers. Everyone you hire is a designer or developer.

 
$25,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
50 - 249
 Founded
2003
Show all +
Boston, MA
headquarters
  • thoughtbot
    41 Winter Street, 7th Floor
    Boston, MA 02108
    United States
other locations
  • thoughtbot
    1384 Broadway, 20th Floor
    New York, NY 10018
    United States
  • thoughtbot
    85 2nd St, Suite 700
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    United States
  • thoughtbot
    3rd Floor, Griffin Court 15 Long Lane
    London EC1A9PN
    United Kingdom
  • thoughtbot
    600 Congress Ave, 14th Floor
    Austin, TX 78701
    United States
  • thoughtbot
    555 Fayetteville St, Suite 300
    Raleigh, NC 27601
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Our clients are any organization creating a new product or service under conditions of uncertainty. They want customer feedback and rapid prototypes. They know that designing great productsand achieving product-market fit is hard.

We've worked with organizations such as Yammer, Postmates, LOLA, Iora Health, edX, LevelUp, Tile, JoyDrive, and SplitFit. 

Escape the City: In-house Prototype to Foundation that Secured Funding

Escape the City, founded in 2010, started as a community driven project with a mission to help over a million people quit jobs they are unhappy or unfulfilled in.

After outgrowing an in-house developed solution, they needed a safe option. Escape the City knew that in order to attract investors, they needed to build a robust platform with experienced and mindful product experts.

Improving conversion and code for NYC startup LOLA

LOLA is a New York City startup that offers subscription services to delivers 100% organic feminine products to your door. They launched in 2015 and have had great growth and early traction. LOLA came to thoughtbot to support new product launches, improve customer conversion, and stabilize their codebase.

Joydrive: Going from concept to Super Bowl Sunday

Joydrive reduces the stress of purchasing a car by providing customers a hassle-free online storefront where they can browse multiple dealers for new and used cars, get immediate Kelly Blue Book trade-in value, and have cars picked up and delivered right to their front door all in a single app. Joydrive came to thoughtbot looking for a strategic technical partner to help them bring their product idea to life. After successfully beta testing with thoughtbot, Joydrive was ready to product launch with a Super Bowl Commercial that announced this new service to the world.

How thoughtbot is helping Splitfit disrupt the fitness industry

SplitFit was founded by three childhood friends who saw an opportunity to revolutionize personal training. Having been in the fitness industry for years they realized that between noon and 5pm gyms typically have unbooked trainers on staff who are being paid to wait until their next session. By building an easy way for people to find and book these trainers people would be able to access training at a lower price point while still generating additional revenue for the gym.

Reviews

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Mobile App Development for Personal Training Startup

"They were committed to understanding what we were trying to do and helping us be successful at all levels."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Sept. 2016 - Mar. 2017
Project summary: 

thoughtbot developed and designed a mobile app to better serve a specific user base. thoughtbot coordinated all wireframing and user interface design and continues to provide maintenance services.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Boston, Massachusetts
COO, Personal Training Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The app has proven to be reliable since its launch, a product of thoughtbot’s passion for the project and desire for its success. They were organized and transparent as to all stages of development. Their creativity and vision has led to a strong product and a healthy ongoing engagement.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the COO of a Boston-based startup. We're making personal training more accessible and more affordable to people by splitting the cost of personal training.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with thoughtbot?

We wanted to develop a tool that allowed gyms to post their personal training availability and gave users the ability to book sessions with those personal trainers.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We approached them only with an idea and some research that showed there would be a market and interest for this app. They helped us translate what were simply ideas into an MVP. Once we had the basics of a product, we collaborated to get that into the hands of users to get feedback. Our app used Ruby on Rails, and we worked with UserTesting for the user acceptance testing and Marvel to manage mockups and wireframes.

What is the team composition?

We had one designer and anywhere from two to three developers.

How did you come to work with thoughtbot?

We sent out an initial RFP, and taking direction from our initial investors, we decided to search for firms that had a presence in Boston. We wanted to work with people we could sit across the table from. We put out our proposal and ultimately selected thoughtbot through that process.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent about $500,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We reached an agreement in August 2016, and we did our first design sprint in September 2016. Our MVP was available in the marketplace and in the hands of users in December 2016. We’ve made several rounds of changes over time. We still continue to use thoughtbot for maintenance and support, and they occasionally do some development work for us.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I don’t have exact metrics, but the product has been very reliable since its launch.

How did thoughtbot perform from a project management standpoint?

They were organized and easy to work with. I found all the members of their team to be personable and knowledgeable. We weren’t tech people so it was important to have guidance, and they were generally capable of explaining every step to us.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The aspect of partnership with them was important to us. They were committed to understanding what we were trying to do and helping us be successful at all levels.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They prove their value by virtue of what they develop, but they’re a high-end firm. We knew it would be expensive to use them going into the project, so I can’t criticize them for that, but they’re a high-end firm.

Any advice for potential customers?

I should have spent a lot more time thinking about what I wanted. Considering those initial user requirements and specifications would have saved a lot of time and money. They were useful in getting us from a blank piece of paper to an MVP, but it would have been better to have that figured out internally.

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

Web and Mobile Development for Fantasy Sports Company

“I was very impressed how safe we felt with our decision to hire thoughtbot from day one.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
May 2017 - Jan. 2018
Project summary: 

Using Ember.js, thoughtbot built custom features for a fantasy sports website and mobile app. Deliverables include writing code and managing the backend development.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
New York City, New York
Justin Seeley
Director of Product, DRAFT
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Thanks to the improved functionality, there was an 8% increase in users depositing money on the site. The developers' ability to deliver high-quality work and complete major updates before the deadline was crucial to the success of the engagement.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

My names is Justin Seeley and I'm the director of product at Draft. We're a fantasy sports company, with a website and a mobile application for both iOS and Android.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with thoughtbot?

We needed to get our website up to date before September 1st, which is the beginning of the NFL season. Our website was lagging behind the app to the point where we had to ship twice as many features on the web just to catch up.

We needed a developer who works in Ember [an open-source JavaScript web framework].

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The thoughtbot developer is running the entire backend development of our Ember application, as well as owning basically all of the Ember codebase. He built 4-5 big features on the app. This required ingesting a lot of the API in order to allow users to add players to different lists and other features.

In addition, the developer helped us interview candidates when we were trying to hire a full-time web developer. He also taught one of our other web developers a little bit of Ember.

How did you come to work with thoughtbot?

A friend recommended them, so they were one of several companies up for consideration. Our CEO made the final call to hire thoughtbot.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent between $100,000-$150,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Work began around 8 months ago, and is finishing up this month [January 2018].

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The biggest metric of success was that we were able to ship 5-6 major features before the September 1st deadline.

Since launch, we’ve seen a 10x jump in traffic on the website. Some of the credit for that goes to marketing, but the site and the new code performed well. A metric that's important to us is the deposit rate, which is basically the percentage that people deposit on our site. That rate increased from 22% to 30%. Some of that growth is due to the features that thoughtbot implemented around allowing users to play with the site before depositing.

How did thoughtbot perform from a project management standpoint?

They're great at communication, checking in frequently even when the developer was working remotely. He was always communicating what he's working on, and asking intelligent questions about how things should work.

The developer’s ability to act like a product manager for our other web developers saved me time as well. His ability to grasp what tasks needed to be done without a lot of direction was very helpful.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Definitely their professionalism, and the quality of their work. I was very impressed how safe we felt with our decision to hire thoughtbot from day one. We knew we were in good hands because their developers are extremely talented. It took a lot of the pressure of hitting the deadline off because we had confidence that the work would get done.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They don't work on Fridays, and it would be nice if we could get that extra day.

5.0
Overall Score Excellent quality and professionalism.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They delivered on our major deadline.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    A little bit pricey, but worth it for the quality.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They're very talented developers who deliver good work.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would feel extremely comfortable recommending them.

Custom RAILS Development Data Analytics Firm

"Their ability to understand our core technical and business requirements is bar none."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Apr. 2013 - Sept. 2014
Project summary: 

Using Ruby on Rails, Thoughtbot built an interactive web platform for 140 partners to share healthcare data. They provided visual and feature design, data processing, and back-end development. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
London, United Kingdom
Managing Director, IT Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

End users praised the platform's fluid, accessible structure, and the internal team was impressed with its solid code. It generates few support requests. Thoughtbot excels at providing custom, high-quality solutions that meet exacting requirements. Their transparent communication is a key asset. 

BACKGROUND

Could you briefly describe your organization?

I work for a specialist data analysis company, focused at the moment on health care in the U.K. We work with national and local organizations, including government agencies, to help them use data and information to guide their decisions, whatever those decisions might be.

What is your position?

I’m the managing director.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with thoughtbot [formerly New Bamboo]?

We had an intelligent product, which we had created and shared with 140 organizations plus the NHS [National Health Service] every quarter, and we wanted to turn this into an interactive online platform. We had the data knowledge and the vision, but we were not Web developers. We had the technical knowledge to undertake the data analysis, and we knew what we wanted to do with the data. We had an idea of how we wanted it all to look and feel, but because we weren’t trained as developers, we simply couldn’t build the platform ourselves. For that reason, we went in search of outside expertise.

SOLUTION

Could you describe the scope of their involvement?

We initially approached thoughtbot in April of 2013, and shaped the project, the requirements, with some initial work on visuals and functionality. We started the website build probably in July of 2013, and the initial, minimum viable product went to market in November of 2013. We then disengaged from thoughtbot for a short time, but went back to them in the spring of 2014 to make some changes and upgrades to the platform’s core functionality. Then we went back to them again in August and September of this year [2014] to make some additional improvements to the functionality. In all of these cases, they’ve been serving as our core development team.

How did you come to work with thoughtbot?

We looked at firms in the London area that had significant technical development expertise and had a track record of building interactive, data-driven websites. I suppose it was more of a gut-feeling approach because any decent vendor could have developed what we wanted, but we wanted a partner that could offer more than that. We wanted a company that would not only be able to build our platform to our unique specifications. We wanted a company that would be in a position to provide additional strategic insight. We wanted them to be able to provide key recommendations in areas in which we have little knowledge.

We knew that we needed to go through a fairly intensive iterative design process, with people that would understand what we were trying to do and, quite frankly, were perfectionists like we are. Unless it was exactly our vision, it wouldn’t be good enough. The reason we chose thoughtbot is because they demonstrated that they could do what we wanted, technically, but much more to the point, they demonstrated that they had a passion for what they did.

Could you provide a general cost estimate for this engagement?

Total spending for the project was probably half a million dollars.

When was this project complete?

The relationship is still ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the quality of their performance?

There isn’t any real way to track metrics and isolate their own individual contribution. Because they’ve worked alongside us as more of a collaborator, it isn’t all that effective to monitor metrics in that way. However, anecdotally, our end-users have been very impressed with the functionality and accessibility of the platform. Rarely do we come across defects or malfunctions. We’ve been very impressed with the overall quality of the code they deliver to us; it’s always viable and in accordance with our specifications.

When working with thoughtbot, is there anything you’d consider unique about their strategic approach or development methodology that distinguish them from other vendors?

Their internal drive for delivering high-quality, viable solutions is a key differentiator. Their ability to understand our core technical and business requirements is bar none. Those two characteristics combined with their transparency and responsiveness make them one of the best vendors out there. It’s extremely difficult to come across that mix.

In retrospect, are there areas in which you think thoughtbot could improve as a service provider?

As with any relatively small business, continuity of staff is always a problem, and they have sometimes had to change members of their team. It hasn’t occurred during a piece of work, but between finishing one element and starting the next. That’s not always worked out so well. They haven’t put as much thought as they could have into the fit of a particular developer on our team. Certain temperaments and personality types are better suited to our corporate culture than others. On a high level, I know they understand this, so I would have expected more thought put into which developers are newly incorporated into our team.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’ve openly acknowledged that they’re relatively expensive, but they’re bloody good at what they do. That’s a value proposition, and I’ve chosen to agree with them, others might not.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Custom RAILS Development For Consumer Interests Nonprofit

"The end quality of the product was as solid as we could have hoped for."

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

A scrum master and development team from Thoughtbot augmented a team that develops consumer advocacy programs. Most of their work involved information architecture and functional back-end development. 

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
London, United Kingdom
Jo Wickremasinghe
Head of Product, Which?
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

In less than a year, the sites have begun to generate considerable traffic. All of Thoughtbot's developers are uniformly talented, meticulous, and collaborative. The team's agile methods enabled them to turn projects around promptly while brainstorming ways to make the process more productive. 

BACKGROUND

Could you briefly describe your organization?

I work for the consumers association of the U.K., and our mission is to make consumers as powerful as the organizations with which they interact. This is a nonprofit organization. We generate revenue through our members’ subscriptions, which give people access to product reviews and content that we create, for specific advice around best products to buy in the market, or how to manage your finances, or any consumer-related issues. The revenue from those subscriptions is funneled into our campaigning efforts on behalf of consumers, such as having more transparent ticket pricing, energy prices and so on.

What is your position?

I’m the head of products on the digital team.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Could you describe the business challenges that you were attempting to address when you first approached thoughtbot [formerly New Bamboo]?

For us, it was getting a team that could come in and do some custom development work on the specific verticals we wanted to launch. We have our own in-house development team, but these were areas where we wanted to try new products and services. We weren’t really sure if we wanted to invest in a permanent head count to build out a team and work on these projects. Working with an agency gave us the flexibility to allocate resources with an agency to build something. If the product didn’t work, we could choose to kill it off without having committed in long-term overhead costs. We’ve worked with other digital development agencies before. Thoughtbot has great reputation among them, and our in-house development stack is unrivaled. We really only wanted to work with firms that had an established reputation with our technologies.

SOLUTION

Could you describe the scope of their involvement?

They worked primarily as an extension of our development team. In-house, we had a product manager and business analysts, so we wrote all the stories in the backlog, and then thoughtbot provided a scrum master and the developers. They performed all the custom development work, and it was a kind of team effort. Our people were signing off on the user stories during phase, and the iterations were only one week apiece. The process was very agile.

They also contributed some thoughts around our information architecture, but it was pretty much performing the customizations. We had several in-house user experience, interactive, and visual designers. As a result, we provided them with the design assets they’d need, and they built it accordingly. They had some valuable ideas around the visual design, some of which we took into account, and some that we chose to disregard. I’d say the majority of their work was relegated to technical responsibilities, rather than visual design.

How did you select thoughtbot as your solution partner?

We knew of them in terms of the [Ruby on] Rails community. One of our architects had done a bit of Web research, and suggested that we speak with them. We spoke to a couple of other agencies and, from our perspective, we decided to give it a go and see how we worked together. We’ve now worked through four different projects with them because the first project went really well, and we continued from there. That first project was basically a trial run with them, and its success inspired us to continue using them.

Could you provide a general cost estimate for this particular engagement?

£115,000 [approximately $181,000].

When was this completed?

This is still ongoing. We’re always making adjustments and enhancements.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, and user feedback that would demonstrate the quality of their performance?

I don’t know the stats off the top of my head. The first site we launched has done very well. That one launched less than a year ago, and it’s doing well from a traffic perspective. It’s definitely meeting our expectations. I think that’s mostly due to the design and marketing of the product, not the development itself, its functionality certainly plays a role. We wrote the technical requirements, and they custom built the functionalities in accordance with them. The advantage of using them is that they work in a very agile fashion. If we built something and it wasn’t quite right, we could change it quickly in the next sprint and test it again only a week or two later.

The fact that they’re so proficient at working in an agile fashion meant that, as a whole team, we were able to get things delivered quite rapidly, and iterate on them, rather than waiting three months for something that didn’t match our requirements. We were able to look at each prototype after one iteration and see what was working and not working. The end quality of the product was as solid as we could have hoped for because of the process we used as a team. They followed through on all of their commitments. They were excellent at retrospectively looking back at the work and determining how we could improve the process. Overall, that resulted in a higher quality product, but it was a combination of them working really closely with us to do that.

When working with thoughtbot, is there anything that you’d consider unique about their approach or development methodology that distinguish them from other vendors?

I’ve worked with six or seven developers from thoughtbot because they have a habit of rotating developers every six to eight weeks on a project. To me, the rotations have been seamless. They have very competent developers. They do loads of pairing and code reviews. It seems to me that the quality of their developers is equal. They’re all really quite good. As a client, I don’t see a drop in velocity when they take one developer off and bring another in. They provide a consistent level of service that I haven’t seen in from agencies, or even our in-house team. Their engineering standards, development standards, and the way that they have that consistently through their team is very impressive. I’ve yet to be disappointed in one of their developers.

In retrospect, are there areas in which you think thoughtbot could improve as a service provider?

Their developers are so adept at self-managing, I’m not really clear on the value I get from their scrum master. Perhaps because we’re a digital development team anyway, we’re not like some of their clients that completely outsource their development responsibilities. We work with them very closely, so I feel like the scrum master is almost not doing anything because our product managers or business analysts will make sure that the user stories are there, and groomed in the backlog, and the team is ready and set up to go. I’ve just not really seen a return on investment from the scrum master, but that said, I’m really happy with the package we get from them. That’s the one area that I have some skepticism about, and it’s more because that particular resource seems unnecessary for us.

4.5
Overall Score There have been challenges along the way but, overall, we’re very satisfied, and the relationship continues to improve.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We’ve had some communication issues on people’s holidays, and people being out of the office, that have impacted my dates. It’s few and far between, but something people should be aware of.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’re quite expensive versus other agencies, but they’re very high quality.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I’ve been very happy with the quality of work.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve no problems referring them to others.