Digital 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.
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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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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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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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Jônatas Vieira
How Much Coding Should Designers Know?

Much of the digital design community is locked in debate over whether or not designers should code. Some are in favor of seeking out the unicorns who can design and code, while others claim they don’t exist, or just get in the way.

In this article, Toptal freelance designer Jônatas Vieira offers his own firsthand perspective on this issue. Can learning how to code elevate your career to the next level? Or would such skills go unused?

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Danielle Reid
Presenting Design Work: The Right Way

Designers spend much of their careers developing the ability to beautifully communicate the intentions of their products. Yet, some designers fail to direct these same skills towards the communication of their own work. The ability to present your design work is fundamental for any designer, as it is often the first step to landing a job with any new client or agency.

In this article, Toptal Director of Design Danielle Reid and Toptal Design Blog Editor Kent Mundle discuss what designers can do to present their work in the most effective ways. Give the products that you make some justice, and use these tips to effectively present your portfolio.

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Kent Mundle
Alternative Housing Lifestyles for Remote Workers

An often mentioned virtue of remote work is the freedom for individuals to construct their lifestyles as they wish. However, much of contemporary society has not yet shifted to allow for the total freedom that many desire, especially when it comes to housing. Why should outdated housing standards prevent us from living in the way we want to live?

In this article, Toptal Technical Editor Kent Mundle surveys a group of housing alternatives that apply to several different types of remote workers. The digital nomad has different needs than the young professional or the working parent, and their housing options should reflect that.

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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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Aleksey Abramovsky
Produce DWGs Like It's 2016: Teigha For Architecture

Today, the notion of repetitively modeling or drawing the windows, doors, and walls of standardized buildings seems archaic, so why do it? If you want to handle DWG files and ACA objects programmatically, one of the best platform options is Teigha Architecture.

In this article, Toptal Freelance Designer Alexey Abramovsky walks us through the DWG production of a small house to introduce us to the benefits of Teigha. Go from foundations to full render in this quick tutorial.

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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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Bryan Grezeszak
Top Ten Front-End Design Rules For Developers

Truly understanding design is easier said than done. Coding and aesthetic design require very different skill sets, which is why some front-end developers aren’t as proficient in design as they could be, and the quality of their work suffers for it.

In this post, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Bryan Grezeszak explains why good front-end developers have to follow essential design principles down to the pixel, and should regularly seek out advice and feedback from their designers.

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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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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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