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Adrian Sule

Vancouver, Canada
With more than 11 years of professional experience, Adrian will enhance your project with his skills in research, task analysis, wireframes, flow diagrams, high-fidelity mockups, and knowledge of leading design trends, while following a user centered design approach.There's a reason, Adrian is such a well-respected and highly skilled UX & UI designer; he brings great concepts and even better execution to every project he's a part of. Click to continue

Natasha Levitan

New York, United States
Natasha has over 12 years of experience designing applications for desktop, mobile, and web platforms. Her clients include Goldman Sachs, UBS, JP Morgan Chase, advertising agencies, and startups, giving her a breadth of experience from working with a variety of customers. She values innovation and has worked with teams of all sizes. Click to continue

Alexander Tsibulski

Moscow, Russia
Alexander is a UX/UI designer with 10 years experience. He has done a lot of design practice and proven his ideas with science of UX and usability. He is focused on e-commerce projects and also startups. Alexander will provide the personal touch and powerful skills to fuel your business. Click to continue

Angel J. Perez

San Francisco, United States
Using an educational foundation with a doctorate in technology design, a master's in computational sciences, and bachelor's in physics, Angel has made significant impact at companies such as Nest, Microsoft, AKQA, and Bank of America throughout his professional career. He is a talented UX/UI designer with his finger on the pulse of the latest technology and communicates extremely well. Click to continue

Jorge Juan Perales

Madrid, Spain
Jorge Juan has more than 10 years of experience in user-centered design throughout the whole product life cycle. With a strong background in illustration, graphic design, creative direction and branding, Jorge Juan strives to deliver meaningful user experiences through strategic thinking, great attention to detail and aesthetic sensibility. Click to continue

Nicholas Huttema

San Francisco, United States
Nicholas is a designer currently residing in San Francisco who enjoys working with fresh ideas, various media, and clean user-interfaces. He is currently available for part-time freelance opportunities. Click to continue

Carlos Rosemberg

Fortaleza, Brazil
Carlos is a user experience strategist, designer, and researcher with over 15 years of experience in creating useful, simple, and pleasurable digital products and services. He is a focused problem-solver and reliable team player, bringing together strategic thinking, creativity, and user-centered philosophy in his daily work. Click to continue

Ruby Zheng

Philadelphia, United States
Ruby's passion is to design clean and smart solutions for digital experiences. She can work with you to translate your business goals and user needs into user-friendly web and mobile products. She specializes in information architecture (IA), interaction design (IxD), front-end development, and accessibility. Click to continue

Katrina Talley

Phoenix, United States
Katrina is an innovative user experience and interaction designer with more than 6 years of experience in interactive design for the web, desktop, mobile, and embedded applications. She creatively translates complex problems into elegant, usable solutions that exceed expectations and across devices. She approaches product design with a broad experience, a big picture focus, and a passionate user advocacy. Click to continue

Javier Amate

Helsinki, Finland
Javier has more than 10 years of experience designing cross-platform services for the web, mobile, and wearables. He has worked for companies with national and international presence like Nokia, Konecranes, Pfizer, Finnair, Nokia Technologies, and Microsoft. His specialties are user experience design, service design, information architecture, interaction design, research, wireframes, interactive prototyping, and user testing. Click to continue
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A hiring guide
The Vital Guide To Interaction Designer (IxD) Interviewing

With the advent of mobile and web apps, demand for Interaction Design (IxD) services has skyrocketed, causing a number of issues for designers and clients alike. IxD specialists are often mistaken for UX designers, interface-designers, or even visual designers. However, IxD deals with human-computer interaction rather than user experience or visual design.

Testimonials
“I can't say enough about how happy and confident I am in working with Enrique. He brings an enthusiasm to his profession that is very refreshing, constantly surprising us with his depth of knowledge and his capability to not only complete the task, but to surpass our expectations. He presents us with solutions that we would not have thought about ourselves, and sees the problem better than we can explain it.”
Chad Berryman
Senior Technical Lead @ Zoomedia
“Toptal has been extremely helpful to us in finding top remote talent. The ratio from interview to hire with Toptal candidates is the highest I've ever experienced in my professional career.”
Philipp Berner
Co-founder and CTO @ KeepSafe
“Toptal has helped my business tremendously by finding, vetting, and recruiting the talent I need, at the right time. I’d definitely recommend it to others.”
Xavier Xicay
CEO & Creative Director @ Tuatara Corp
“One of our biggest and most time consuming problems is finding qualified staff. We need to find the correct platform to advertise on, create a proper ad, filter through tons of useless applications to try and find the small gems, interview and test the capabilities of applicants to see if they fit our profile and finally take a risk by hiring. This was the old way of doing things! The new way: describe the job position to our Toptal account manager, interview a few qualified applicants, hire with a risk-free trial! Much faster, a lot easier and with incredible end results.”
Catalin S. Balaci
Owner @ EvoBits Information Technology SRL
“Getting set up with Toptal and finding a new team member was so easy, I don't know why anyone wouldn't give it a try. Best of all, we no longer have to worry about finding great people to help with our projects!”
Mike Branch
President & CTO @ HarborSI
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Mac Smith
President @ New Texas Internet MGT
“Carlos has the unique talent of blending both quantitative and qualitative research to keenly identify UX challenges and opportunities. He thinks methodically, empathetically, and holistically to produce data-driven strategies and well-executed designs. Over the past 8 years of working with fully or partially distributed teams, Carlos manages working remotely better by far than anyone I've encountered because of his strong communication and presentation skills. He is the first on my list the next time I need a UX designer.”
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Project Manager @ Union Station
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Conor Kenney
Director of Professional Services @ Cleveland Cavaliers
“Michael has been a great fit for our project and is an incredible designer. He just gets it in a way that can’t be taught. I have nothing but good things to say about Toptal as well. My goal was to pay Toptal to find me a high quality designer for my project, and that is exactly what happened. It was easy. Thanks for the t-shirt by the way! Being able to see the portfolio work on Toptal’s platform is what gave me the info I needed to choose Michael. I’m looking forward to using Toptal for other projects in the future.”
Edward Daniel
Co-Founder @ improvemygun.com
“Our Toptal contractor quickly came up to speed on our process and became an integrated part of our team. We look forward to growing together!”
Vitaly M. Golomb
CEO @ Keen Systems
“We had an amazing experience working with our Toptal designer. In only two weeks, we accomplished what would've taken most companies 3 months to complete. We also enjoyed working with the Toptal team to make sure we were paired up with the right designer that would fit both our company culture and working style.”
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President @ DecoratorsBest
Hire a top interactive designer now.
Toptal is a marketplace for top interactive designers. Top companies and start-ups choose Toptal Web designers for their mission critical design projects.
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Adrian SuleCanada
With more than 11 years of professional experience, Adrian will enhance your project with his skills in research, task analysis, wireframes, flow diagrams, high-fidelity mockups, and knowledge of leading design trends, while following a user centered design approach.There's a reason, Adrian is such a well-respected and highly skilled UX & UI designer; he brings great concepts and even better execution to every project he's a part of.
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Interactive DesignerAdobe Creative SuiteSketchAdobe IllustratorAndroidiOSUser Interface (UI)iOS User Interface DesignUser Experience (UX)Responsive Web Apps
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Natasha LevitanUnited States
Natasha has over 12 years of experience designing applications for desktop, mobile, and web platforms. Her clients include Goldman Sachs, UBS, JP Morgan Chase, advertising agencies, and startups, giving her a breadth of experience from working with a variety of customers. She values innovation and has worked with teams of all sizes.
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Interactive Designer
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Alexander TsibulskiRussia
Alexander is a UX/UI designer with 10 years experience. He has done a lot of design practice and proven his ideas with science of UX and usability. He is focused on e-commerce projects and also startups. Alexander will provide the personal touch and powerful skills to fuel your business.
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Angel J. PerezUnited States
Using an educational foundation with a doctorate in technology design, a master's in computational sciences, and bachelor's in physics, Angel has made significant impact at companies such as Nest, Microsoft, AKQA, and Bank of America throughout his professional career. He is a talented UX/UI designer with his finger on the pulse of the latest technology and communicates extremely well.
[click to continue…]
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Jorge Juan PeralesSpain
Jorge Juan has more than 10 years of experience in user-centered design throughout the whole product life cycle. With a strong background in illustration, graphic design, creative direction and branding, Jorge Juan strives to deliver meaningful user experiences through strategic thinking, great attention to detail and aesthetic sensibility.
[click to continue…]
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Nicholas HuttemaUnited States
Nicholas is a designer currently residing in San Francisco who enjoys working with fresh ideas, various media, and clean user-interfaces. He is currently available for part-time freelance opportunities.
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Carlos RosembergBrazil
Carlos is a user experience strategist, designer, and researcher with over 15 years of experience in creating useful, simple, and pleasurable digital products and services. He is a focused problem-solver and reliable team player, bringing together strategic thinking, creativity, and user-centered philosophy in his daily work.
[click to continue…]
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Ruby ZhengUnited States
Ruby's passion is to design clean and smart solutions for digital experiences. She can work with you to translate your business goals and user needs into user-friendly web and mobile products. She specializes in information architecture (IA), interaction design (IxD), front-end development, and accessibility.
[click to continue…]
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Katrina TalleyUnited States
Katrina is an innovative user experience and interaction designer with more than 6 years of experience in interactive design for the web, desktop, mobile, and embedded applications. She creatively translates complex problems into elegant, usable solutions that exceed expectations and across devices. She approaches product design with a broad experience, a big picture focus, and a passionate user advocacy.
[click to continue…]
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Javier AmateFinland
Javier has more than 10 years of experience designing cross-platform services for the web, mobile, and wearables. He has worked for companies with national and international presence like Nokia, Konecranes, Pfizer, Finnair, Nokia Technologies, and Microsoft. His specialties are user experience design, service design, information architecture, interaction design, research, wireframes, interactive prototyping, and user testing.
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The Vital Guide To Interaction Designer (IxD) Interviewing

In today’s technology-filled world, it will not surprise anyone if we said that pretty much every Web or mobile application is based on interactive visual elements. It’s no longer enough to simply hire a graphic designer to provide necessary visual graphics.

More often than not, you will find yourself in a need of a professional interaction designer (IxD) to add that extra layer of “good to great” to your project.

Before we jump into the hiring guide itself, let us explain what an interaction designer is not.

UI, UX, IxD: Lots of overlap and loads of differences.

UI, UX, IxD: Lots of overlap and loads of differences.

Many times IxDs are mistakenly called user-experience designers, user interface-designers or even simply graphic designers or illustrators.

This confusion arises because the field of interaction design only started a few decades ago.

The Challenge

Unfortunately an IxD’s main goals are very similar to those of a user experience (UX) designer; they both facilitate the interactions between people and their environment.

The main difference in their goals being that, unlike UX designers, who are responsible for all user-facing aspects of a software or system, interaction designers generally only look after the interaction between users and computers, frequently known as “human-computer interaction.”

This confusion makes it more difficult to decide which IxD would be right for you and your company. Note that there are important foundation concepts, principles and methodologies that are constantly used in interaction design.

Ten Interaction Design (IxD) Principles

These are the principles we will be looking at in order to help you understand the foundation and methodology behind IxD, and to help you decide whom to hire.

Meet the ten commandments of good interaction design

Meet the ten commandments of good interaction design.
  1. Goal-orientated design
  2. Personas
  3. Affective interaction design
  4. Cognitive dimensions
  5. Learnability
  6. Usability
  7. Affordances
  8. User scenarios
  9. Experience maps
  10. Response time

Now, let’s dive into the details of these principles to better understand how they add value to an interaction designer’s workflow and why they are crucial.

1. Goal-Oriented Design

Any end user interacting with an application or platform has certain goals, and an interaction designer’s job is to help the user reach said goals in the most efficient way possible. These goals consist of desired outcomes, such as accessing a bank statement, sending a file, uploading a photo, and so on.

The way to discover these goals is by conducting a user research. While it isn’t an interaction designer’s job to conduct this research, s/he has to be fully knowledgeable of the research results.

Whether s/he does the research, or if the User Experience (UX) designer provides it, knowing exactly what users expect by interacting with your product will allow your Interaction Designer (IxD) create the best possible Goal-Orientated Design.

2. Personas

“Personas” are fictional characters developed from cognitive psychology and human behavior research; they resemble your targeted end-user.

Personas are used when explaining design decisions along the process.

For example: “Peter, who is Chief Marketing Officer, would more likely use our app while commuting by train. How short would his attention span more likely be in that scenario?”

The answer to this question should help to decide, for example, how many steps should a marketing proposal application’s submission take.

3. Affective Interaction Design

This principle is allows interfaces to be designed in such way that they convey positive, expressive, enjoyable, happy and inspiring emotions when interacting with technology. Needless to say, this should be in every Interaction Designer’s interests.

Certain elements, and key aspects, of design influence the emotional response of the targeted end-user. Affective Interaction Design is used to avoid:

  • Giving users too little information to make a decision
  • Error messages that make users feel patronized
  • Bright, flashing design elements
  • Chaotic and confusing layouts

Instead, using Affective Interaction Design the following steps can be taken to change the negative emotions in the end-user:

  • Give clear, detailed instructions how to solve the problem
  • Make additional helpful resources accessible
  • Create dynamic, animated design elements to keep users informed about the current actions being taken

4. Cognitive Dimensions

To analyse and evaluate design quality and its usability, the cognitive dimensions framework is used as a lighter approach, sometimes referred to as “cognitive dimensions of notations.” Here are the 14 cognitive dimensions that Thomas Green originally defined and that are used to analyse design quality and usability:

  • Abstraction gradient
  • Closeness of mapping
  • Consistency
  • Diffuseness / terseness
  • Error-proneness
  • Hard mental operations
  • Hidden dependencies
  • Juxtaposability
  • Premature commitment
  • Progressive evaluation
  • Role-expressiveness
  • Secondary notation
  • Viscosity
  • Visibility

5. Learnability

The best, and most professional, interaction designers don’t use their creativity solely to reinvent the wheel every time a new design challenge comes their way. Instead, they use proven ways to make users feel as familiar with the interface as possible.

This is achieved by using familiar design components. For example, If a user is used to uploading a document by clicking on a green link, he would only have to overcome a learning curve if he sees an orange button instead of green.

Even though all new products and their platforms require unique design solutions and unique interfaces, every good interaction designer will use these familiar components, sometimes called “interface idiom” or “pattern.”

6. Usability

This dimension is similar to “Learnability”. The main difference is that while learnability is about making users feel familiar with the product’s interface, even the first time using it, “usability” is about making the product’s interface easy to use.

In many cases, a usability analyst might be added to the workflow for the initial usability study; this provides an understanding of the level of ease, use and learnability of the product.

Further, there are five usability characteristics, and the product must be:

  • Effective
  • Efficient
  • Engaging
  • Error tolerant
  • Easy to learn

7. Affordances

As the old saying goes, “form follows function”, the same principle applies to anything that your IxD will design. Every product should “invite” the end-user to take a specific action, based on the way it was designed.

For example, when you look at a hammer, you shouldn’t have to think too long to understand which end is for holding and which end to use to hit that nail into the wall.

Any good IxD knows that just as hammers have to look like hammers, scissors have to look like scissors and screwdrivers have to look like screwdrivers, buttons have to look like buttons, links have to look like links, input fields have to look like input fields, and so on.

By designing specific components using affordances, the end user immediately understands the underlying function of those elements.

8. User Scenarios

“User scenarios” answer two important questions:

  • What users do on the website with the product or the application
  • What is the reason behind that action

You can think of user scenarios as short stories that illustrate end users’ goals, how they achieve those goals, and what the motivation is for those actions; what made them think that those steps will help them achieve their goals?

Good user scenarios should be short, relevant and to the point, yet they should be sufficiently detailed about possible actions, motives and goals of the end user.

Here are a few questions that interaction designers should keep in mind:

  • Who is the user I’m designing for?
  • What does this user want on my site?
  • How is this user going to achieve his or hers goals?
  • Why does this user come to my site and not somewhere else?

9. Experience Maps

This could be referred to as visual representation of the user’s journey over time. To start creating experience maps your interaction designer must be fully aware of your target audience.

User scenarios and experience maps are a vital part of any interaction design process

User scenarios and experience maps are a vital part of any interaction design process.

After that comes the clear articulation of usage, opportunities, needs, goals and wants. Then come the engagement scenarios that will influence the product’s success with the end user:

  • Determine the ease-of-use at touch points and fluctuations are satisfactory, which could also become opportunities for improvement.
  • What are some of the issues and challenges that could occur when using the product and how could they impact the use and adoption of the product?
  • Spot opportunities that arise out of user-experience gaps that prevent users meeting end goals.
  • How would different devices influence users’ experience with the product’s interface?

10. Response Time

Finally, when designing and optimizing any web or mobile product’s experience, it’s the response time that becomes an important strength. It consists of the three significant time limits, which have been determined by human perceptual abilities.

In 1993, Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D., a user advocate and principal of the Nielsen Norman Group, published a book titled Usability Engineering. In Chapter 5, he describes in detail why response time is important. Here is an excerpt:

Response time can make or break an IxD solution. Design and optimize for speed.

Response time can make or break an IxD solution. Design and optimize for speed.

The basic advice regarding response times has been about the same for thirty years [Miller 1968; Card et al. 1991]:

  • 0.1 second is about the limit for having the user feel that the system is reacting instantaneously, meaning that no special feedback is necessary except to display the result.
  • 1.0 second is about the limit for the user’s flow of thought to stay uninterrupted, even though the user will notice the delay. Normally, no special feedback is necessary during delays of more than 0.1 but less than 1.0 second, but the user does lose the feeling of operating directly on the data.
  • 10 seconds is about the limit for keeping the user’s attention focused on the dialogue. For longer delays, users will want to perform other tasks while waiting for the computer to finish, so they should be given feedback indicating when the computer expects to be done. Feedback during the delay is especially important if the response time is likely to be highly variable, since users will then not know what to expect.

From Principles To Practice

There are a number of ways of applying the outlined IxD principles to actual projects. Because implementation may vary depending on the type and scope of a project, it is important to tailor interview questions in such a way as to prompt the designer to discuss general principles. Execution should be covered only after establishing the candidate has a good grasp of them.

Q: Why is contrast important for Interaction Design (IxD) and how would you use it?

This is a basic design concept. It helps set apart and differentiate what’s important on the page from the elements that serve a secondary or supportive purpose.

Contrast can make content easily readable, scannable and even sharable. I also use it to make sure the CTA (Call To Action) elements, and any other purpose-driven elements on the site, do not blend together with other background elements.

Q: How would you make sure your interaction design is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also functional?

To ensure design serves its functional purpose, it is necessary to know what the main functional priorities each interface or element have to serve. Then the next step is to think about the range of actions this interface and elements can perform.

The range of possible actions should never overwhelm or confuse the end-user . To achieve this “functional minimalism,” avoid unnecessary functions and features; break complex functions and tasks into smaller sub-task steps without limiting the user experience, instead cut down on functions.

Q: What are the most important and fundamental elements of any interaction design system?

The following three elements are fundamental to all systems, especially when it comes to interaction design: control, trust and explorability.

Control is the most important; when users feel in control of the interface they feel more comfortable using it. When end-users feel comfortable in control, they will start to trust it.

They trust that the interface will prevent them from creating errors or make them uncomfortable, which might happen if the user didn’t have full control of it.

Lastly, confidence is gained by having full control of the interface and trusting it. And with confidence, users feel free to apply their own abilities to explore the interface by themselves.

Q: How would you effectively use consistency for your interaction design (UxD) work?

Good interaction design must be consistent. End-users will quickly learn patterns, repetitive actions and consistent functions. Therefore, not sticking with consistency will only confuse your end-users, making them feel uncomfortable with the interface.

As an example, if your “Buy It Now” button, “Subscribe” link or a clickable “Add To Basket” element is orange, then every one of these elements should be orange. These are your CTA (Call To Action) elements, and orange would therefore become what the industry calls an “Action Color;” it should remain consistent across all your CTA elements.

Q: How would you ensure your interaction design (IxD) system always tracks the state?

As a result of the popularity of browser-based products, which exist in a stateless environment, interaction designers should ensure our systems track, as a minimum, the following interactions:

  • Whether this is the user’s first time of using the system / application.
  • If not, at what stage was the user when the last session was finished?
  • What gained the user’s interest in the system?
  • What are the stages or steps has the user taken during the current session?
  • And finally, what step is the user taking now in the current session?
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