Good design is good business. - Thomas J. Watson

Designers at thoughtbot lead the front-end development and the product, visual, interaction, and user experience design on our projects. We practice validation-driven design, focus on best practices, contribute to open source, adhere to Agile and Lean philosophies, and constantly improve our process.

We work to understand your goals, the problems you are solving, and the people you are servicing. We test prototypes with your existing or potential customers, ensuring that we build products that people want. We leverage best practices and design patterns in application interface implementation, and we always work directly with our clients.

We want the work we do to have a positive impact on the world. Our goal is not just to build a product, but to build the right product. A meaningful product that meets real people’s needs and can support a viable business.

Design Thinking

We use design thinking in our product development process to keep us aligned with our goals, and help us invest our time and money wisely.

Design Thinking combines empathy, creativity, and rationality to solve human-centered problems. It is the foundation on which our Product Design Sprints are built, and helps guide the design process from then onward.


We use empathy to see the world through our customers eyes and understand their problems as they experience them. There may be technological, financial, political, religious, human, and social and cultural forces involved. It is our job to develop a holistic understanding of these problems and forces and contextualize them in the greater world schema.

In addition to our own perspective, we aim to understand the perspectives of as many other people as possible to better diversify our understanding.


Creativity is opportunity discovery. We use creativity to generate insights and solution concepts.

The most creative solutions are inspired by unique insights and intersecting perspectives. Empathy empowers our ability to understand different perspectives and be creative.

Collaboration inspires creativity. More perspectives, ideas, and insights lead to more opportunity.


We use rationality to fit solutions to the problem context through experimentation, testing, qualitative, and quantitative measurements.

Design Thinking should pervade all of our processes, from engineering to marketing to business development. In a complex business ecosystem design thinking can be used as a holistic approach to facilitating and maintaining a symbiotic relationship with your customers.


Fanboat—the companion mobile app to Stattleship—allows users to keep up with their favorite teams & players, and track their own predictions directly on their phones.

Fanboat hero

The Problem

After the launch of their web product, Stattleship approached us for a follow up engagement to add mobile functionality to their business. The original application allows sports fans to see interesting stats from their favorite teams and players, and make predictions about their performance. They wanted a way to make the stats and information from their website more fun, interesting, and accessible on a mobile platform.

The Solution

Stattleship was able to quickly and cost-effectively validate their assumptions through a simple mailing list solution. It helped gauge how interesting the product could be, what stats users might be interested in, and what additional information users were looking for. Using this research, we were able to design and build a mobile application which delivered a compelling mix of user-specific statistical sports data and prediction results.

Thinking the Interface

We collaborated with Fanboat's team to create a user experience that would be memorable and easy to use. We used wireframes to map the user interface for low fidelity testing.

Fanboat wireframes

The User Experience

We designed an engaging user experience, letting users customize, personalize, and take ownership of their sports feeds. The visual design language expanded on Stattleship's strong pre-existing branding.

Fanboat render
Fdn logo

Financial Diligence Network

We took the FDN platform from an idea to a polished, public facing application in five months. We then assisted in hiring an entire team for continued product development.

Fdn hero

The Problem

Financial Diligence Networks (FDN) came to thoughtbot seeking to build a network to enable financial firms to conduct research, share data, and organize information more effectively.

The Solution

Throughout the process, thoughtbot refined the core features necessary for building a desirable application for financial firms, in terms of function and value, through iterative testing and development.

Discovery Process

We crafted an amazing user experience with the FDN by team gathering goals, performing market research, user testing, and prototyping to identify problems and validate solutions.

Fdn steps


A new social platform for the financial industry demands a strong, dependable, and trustworthy visual brand. We designed and assembled custom iconography to reflect that.

Fdn nav icons Fdn file icons

They literally wrote the playbook on how to run an amazing software company. — Ben Arent, Redis to Go