UX Design posts

The Toptal Design Blog is a hub for advanced design studies by professional designers in the Toptal network on all facets of digital design, ranging from detailed design tutorials to in-depth coverage of new design trends, techniques, and technologies.
Cameron Chapman
The Role of Color in UX

A well-thought-out color palette can elevate a design from “good” to “great” while a mediocre palette can detract from a user’s experience and even interfere with their ability to use a site or app.

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Miklos Philips
The 10 UX Deliverables Top Designers Use

Regardless of the environment or size of a project, UX professionals need a variety of deliverables to help facilitate design communication with various stakeholders and teams, document work and provide artifacts for meetings and ideation sessions. Here are 10 of the most common UX deliverables.

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Bree Chapin
Stay Cool: Take Design Feedback Strategically

Getting and receiving feedback—without losing your cool—is an art. This article explains how to encourage your audience to give you quality feedback that begins with preparing a killer presentation that highlights the key problems to solve, walks your audience through your thinking, and foments constructive discussion.

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Sergio Ortiz
How to Design Delightful Experiences for the Internet of Things

The next wave of IoT will connect millions of devices. The skills needed in this new paradigm will shift from component thinking to whole systems thinking.

In this article, Toptal designer Sergio Ortiz writes about the Internet of Things, its design implications, how it will change the way businesses operate, and how we see the world—and how to help make homes, cities, and factories smarter and more efficient.

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John Roose
How to Conduct Usability Testing in Six Steps

What can be done easily and inexpensively to substantially improve your product designs? User testing. User testing digital product designs is imperative if you are to design “useful” products.

This six-part process by Toptal designer John Roose describes how the insights you gain from observing how actual users use your product are well worth it.

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Bilal Mohammed
How to Hook eCommerce Shoppers through UX Design

Flipkart, India’s leading eCommerce marketplace, questioned why they were losing customers and asked themselves: How do you build a loyal customer base, increase engagement and solve the issue of app uninstalls? What behaviors should be studied to come up with a winning solution? The answer lay in designing a habit-forming experience.

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Miklos Philips
A Rant Against Pretty Designs

Often, designers make the mistake of designing apps for their own vanity, focusing on the veneer instead of designing a great user experience. As Steve Jobs once said, “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like.”

In this article, Toptal UX Designer Miklos Philips discusses Jobs’s point of view and clarifies the importance of designing for people.

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Bree Chapin
Stop Making Garbage: A Guide to Designing Interfaces That Last

We are a throw-away society—products wear out far too quickly or are replaced by something shinier, newer, or more trendy.

In this piece, we look at designs that have stood the test of time and break down what made them successful. No matter what you’re working on, these guiding principles will help you stop designing disposables and begin creating designs that last.

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Jônatas Vieira
20 Testimonial Pages to Inspire Future Customers

Check out a collection of testimonial page inspirations created by different designers from around the world. Toptal designer Jônatas Vieira curated a selection of designs that each empowers its brand story.

Some of the screens are captured from live products, some are still in development, and some are purely concepts designed to push the bounds of what is even considered possible.

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Cai Cardenas
20 eCommerce Mobile UIs That Make Shopping Easier

Check out a collection of mobile eCommerce inspirations created by different designers from around the world. Toptal Designer Cai Cardenas curated a selection of designs that each delights their users.

Some of the screens are captured from live products, some are still in development, and some are purely concepts designed to push the bounds of what is even considered possible.

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Jason Gonzalez
Logo Animation Inspirations to Make Your Brand More Relatable

Check out a collection of brand animation inspirations created by different designers from around the world. Toptal Designer Jason Gonzalez curated a selection of designs that each finds a way to energize its respective brand.

Some of the designs are captured from live products, some are still in development, and some are purely concepts designed to push the bounds of what is even considered possible.

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Francesca Gilibert
Please Your Readers With These Blog Layout Inspirations

Check out a collection of blog layout design inspirations created by different designers from around the world. Toptal Designer Francesca Gilbert curated a selection of designs that each finds ways to communicate a blog’s unique personality.

Some of the designs are captured from live products, some are still in development, and some are purely concepts designed to push the bounds of what is even considered possible.

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Michael Abehsera
Retain Users With These Mobile App Onboarding Inspirations

Check out a collection of onboarding design inspirations created by different designers from around the world. Toptal Design Blog Lead Editor Michael Abehsera curated a selection of designs that each finds creative ways to retain users.

Some of the designs are captured from live products, some are still in development, and some are purely concepts designed to push the bounds of what is even considered possible.

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Michael Abehsera
Taking IKEA Out of Its Box and Redesigning It for 1.6B Users

Although IKEA is one of the world’s most well-known retailers, its online presence doesn’t reflect the same success. Too many users find that the brand’s online presence is cluttered, difficult to navigate, and doesn’t reflect a more modern lifestyle.

In this article, Toptal Lead Design Blog Editor Michael Abehsera leads a redesign of IKEA’s online presence, exploring how the user experience can be overhauled to fix some of its most pressing issues.

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Santiago Baigorria
Upgrade Your Analytics With These Dashboard Design Inspirations

Check out a collection of analytics dashboard design inspirations created by different designers from around the world. Toptal Designer Santiago Baigorria curated a selection of designs that each offers insightful analyses.

Some of the designs are captured from live products, some are still in development, and some are purely concepts designed to push the bounds of what is even considered possible.

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Micah Bowers
Don't Underestimate the Power of Your Brand Story

A brand story is a powerful tool, but trial-and-error is required to use it well. If persistent, you’ll develop a unique voice, and your work will be infused with unexpected strands of meaning and purpose that thrill clients and the people they’re trying to reach.

In this article, Toptal Designer Micah Bowers walks us through one of his own branding projects to show us how to develop an effective brand story. Most of us might know a good story when we see one, but how do we write an engaging one ourselves?

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Luciano Vizza
What Google and Adobe Can Teach Us About Feature Creep

Most designers know that feature creep is a big time problem, but knowing is only half the battle. How do we stop feature creep from smothering our projects?

In this article, Toptal Designer Luciano Vizza guides us through the steps to recognize and dispel feature creep in your next project. One extra feature might not sink the ship. But, it doesn’t take long for one feature to become 20 features, and before you know it, Captain, you are going down with the ship.

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Jônatas Vieira
Turn Error Into Opportunity With These 404 Page Inspirations

Check out a collection of 404 page design inspirations created by different designers from around the world. Toptal Designer Jônatas Vieira curated a selection of designs that offer a unique solution.

Some of the designs are captured from live products, some are still in development, and some are purely concepts designed to push the bounds of what is even considered possible.

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Jônatas Vieira
The Complete Guide to Cross Cultural Design

Designing across cultural boundaries has broader implications and more challenges than Google Translate can solve. Designers must consider not just language differences, but also cultural tendencies, values, and taboos.

In this article, Toptal designer Jônatas Vieira gives us the tools to navigate cultural boundaries and shows us one of his own projects that taught him the value of cross-cultural design.

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Michael Abehsera
Design for Reality, Not Glory

Designers too often work for their ego and choose to redesign the next billion-user start-up to boost their career, rather than doing something that will really help them grow. We receive no substantial criticism when publishing portfolio work online, but when we design for reality we put ourselves in a position to learn.

In this article, Toptal Lead Blog Design Editor Michael Abehsera shows us how to kill our egos, design for the small and local, and to always be students.

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Bree Chapin
The End of Sandboxes: Changing the Unit of Design

Most people know that the world of digital products, and how we design them, is changing every day. The question that we must ask then is: how will this affect the role of designers in the future?

In this article, Toptal designer Bree Chapin gives us an overview of user interactions today and how they are changing for tomorrow. Keep reading to learn how designers have to pivot and redirect their foci to create products and services that can adapt for the future.

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Tanya Junell
The Definitive Guide to Building Apps For Children

Recent studies have found that in the U.S., 75 percent of children younger than eight have access to a smartphone or tablet, as do 36 percent of kids under the age of one. Although video games and apps have always carried the stigma of being detrimental to youth development, science has proven that some products can actually enhance a child’s cognitive strength. This presents a great opportunity and responsibility to digital designers and developers to influence tomorrow’s generations in a positive way.

In this guide, Toptal Designer Tanya Unger breaks down the differences and similarities between designing for kids and designing for adults. Then she presents a proven framework and offers some additional tips.

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Kent Mundle
Get Inspired With These Data Visualisations

Check out a collection of intuitive data visualisations created by different designers from around the world. Toptal Technical Editor Kent Mundle curated a selection of designs that each offer unique UI solutions to data.

Some of the designs are captured from live products, some are still in development, and some are purely concepts designed to push the bounds of what is even considered possible.

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Kent Mundle
These Design Inspirations Can Change How We Read The News

Check out a collection of intuitive news UIs created by different designers from around the world. Toptal Technical Editor Kent Mundle curated a selection of designs that each offer unique UI solutions to news interfaces.

Some of the designs are captured from live products, some are still in development, and some are purely concepts designed to push the bounds of what is even considered possible.

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Nick Vyhouski
Everything You Need to Know about UX Sketching

UX sketching is a crucial, yet often overlooked, aspect of user-experience design. Sketching is a very efficient way of communicating design ideas while allowing designers to try out a multitude of options and iterate them before settling on one.

In this post, Toptal Freelance Designer Nick Vyhouski explains UX sketching step by step and outlines a range of tips and techniques used by leading designers.

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Andrew Graunke
How CrunchBase Should Be Designed

Despite the widespread use of the start-up tracker CrunchBase, Toptal Freelance Designer Andrew Graunke believes that its site could use a redesign. Can the redesign transcend an aesthetic makeover, and improve user and business goals as well?

In this article, Andrew walks us through his thorough redesign and reorganization of the CrunchBase website. His process includes wireframes, design reviews, and a usability test.

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Darko Stanimirović
Usability Past Its Breaking Point: A Toptal Design Talk

Should usability ever be sacrificed for design experimentation? What is there to be learned from products that challenge the expectations of users? Might portfolio projects be the ideal venue in which to push these boundaries?

In the first Toptal Design Talk, Toptal Technical Editor Kent Mundle and freelance designer Darko Stanimirovic discuss these questions over the contentious online portfolio for the art studio, Ro-Lu.

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Goran Ramljak
When We Should Redesign: An Automotive Case Study

When is the best possible time for a company to conduct a website redesign? What needs to be done in a redesign to ensure another won’t be needed for a long time to come?

In this article, Freelance Designer Goran Ramljak walks us through his redesign case study, exposing key issues with the automotive digital space in the process.

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Kent Mundle
Home Smart Home: Domesticating the Internet of Things

The impending adoption of Smart Home technology is looming. What will this mean for domestic life as we know it? For as long as people have kept homes, the dwelling has been a refuge for isolation. With the security concerns surrounding Smart Home technology and the rise of the Internet of Things, has our concept of the home changed forever?

In this article, design editor Kent Mundle questions where Smart Home technology is now, how it relates to the history of home automation, and what might be next for the market.

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Kent Mundle
What Is Strategic Design Thinking and How Can It Empower Designers?

Freelance designers often work on a project-to-project, short-term basis, a reality that sometimes limits the extent to which they can design products that have a major effect on the big picture. How can designers leverage their abilities to have maximum impact on more significant projects?

Strategic Design Thinking questions the role of design as a discipline, suggesting that it can offer more than the crafting of products and artifacts. Designer Kent Mundle outlines how designers can better communicate their abilities and establish a vocabulary to increase the potential value of their projects for clients.

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Danielle Reid
The World Is Our Interface: Design Beyond The Screen

Toptal Freelance Designer Danielle Reid presents a number of exciting technologies and various interfaces to interact with them, while taking a historical perspective on interactions with man-made objects that have evolved with us to where we are.

From typewriters to touchscreens and beyond, UI design is constantly evolving to improve user experience and boost productivity. Find out what the next generation of connected devices will bring to the table.

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Bojan Janjanin
Are All Trends Worth It? Top 5 Most Common UX Mistakes That Designers Make

Many modern web trends offer a lot of visual appeal and the temptation to follow them blindly is quite real. These trends are not always bad, but they can be dangerous if not implemented with caution. In this article, Toptal designer Bojan Janjanin discusses some of the most common UX mistakes and some insights on finding the balance between what looks nice and what is actually usable.

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Nermin Hajdarbegovic
The Industry Could Do Without Pixel Density And PPI Marketing

Like it or not, once you start chasing pixels, you are more likely to end up with a bigger screen. This means more backlighting, more GPU load, more juice, and a bigger battery. Huge phones with insanely high pixel densities are a triumph of cunning marketing over sensible engineering.

The trend is not making hardware better in a noticeable way, yet it’s making it more expensive and less efficient. It is no longer improving the user experience, either, and in some cases it is even degrading it.

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Lucijan Blagonic
Make Website Design Decisions in Your Browser: My Process for Designing Websites

With an ever-growing device landscape, it is becoming increasingly difficult to design consistent user interfaces across all devices. Using paper and pencil, or design tools that do not properly mimic the dynamic nature of web browsers across multiple platforms and screen sizes, can sometimes lead to obvious inefficiencies. However, the web browser can be used as a critical and efficient tool for designing websites and interfaces.

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Darko Stanimirović
Usability And The Art Of Portfolio Design: A Toptal Design Talk

Is it ever safe to sacrifice usability for experimentation in web design? What can be learned from products that challenge the values of web designers? Are portfolio projects potentially the perfect venue to push the boundaries?

In the first Toptal Design Talk, Toptal Technical Editor Kent Mundle and freelance designer Darko Stanimirovic discuss these questions over a contentious website portfolio for the renown studio, Ro-Lu.

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