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Hire mobile app designers

Gael Bouvyer

Brooklyn, United States
Gael is a digital product designer with an advertising background. He has experience and knowledge in front-end development, marketing, branding, and management. Originally from France, he spent time in other parts of Europe and Africa before moving to New York City in 2011. His global experience makes him an ideal candidate to join a forward-thinking team. Click to continue

Luke Peake

New York, NY, United States
Luke is an award-winning digital designer with 18 years of experience designing for globally recognized brands. He has worked for world-renowned agencies and also has managed and directed his own team of technical experts. UX is the core of everything he does. Click to continue

Mikael Kristianslund

Oslo, Norway
Mikael is a senior designer at Konseptdesign, and has 8+ years of experience in freelancing. He has worked with brands such as Red Bull, Samsung, Caterpillar, and Mitsubishi. He specializes in UI design, but is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to design. He has a background in business and design, allowing him to create simple, clean, and user-friendly products. Click to continue

Jasper Diego Story

London, United Kingdom
Jasper has delivered products for a range of clients globally, as product lead at an award-winning startup, and for Google Inc. and EMEA. He works across the full product-design cycle: from understanding customer problems, through product development and UX design, to UI and prototyping. Alongside a track-record of product design, he can deliver prototypes and implement designs across mobile and web technologies (iOS/Swift/SASS/HTML/JS). Click to continue

Cai Cardenas

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Cai is a digital product designer and founder of Overlay, a small design studio. He has spent the past 11 years working with emerging startups and established businesses around the world—creating engaging product experiences through beautifully simple interfaces. Click to continue

Jack Yeh

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Jack is a master storyteller. He designs engaging product experiences for users, and crafts compelling narratives that differentiates a brand. Jack also co-founded STEMN, an open-science startup, and has extensive experience working with fast-paced SaaS startups—helping them hit aggressive growth goals and achieve product-market fit. Click to continue

Lee Harding

London, United Kingdom
Lee is a director of a full-service design consultancy working for a diverse range of businesses from architecture, healthcare and finance, to music, writing, and food. He has created an extensive portfolio of work that embraces graphic design, web design, mobile apps, marketing, identity, and branding. Click to continue

Ismet Trako

Vitez, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ismet has been dedicated to the design industry since 2011, bringing his experience to a bit over five years. Most of his experience originates from agency work and through collaborations with great people and clients like Eat, Mediatoolkit, Lufthansa, Dell, and Heineken. Click to continue

Ivan Bjelajac

Zagreb, Croatia
Ivan is a full-stack product designer with over six years of experience. Due to his experience at top digital agencies, he's worked with big corporate clients on projects like mobile banking apps and point of sale apps, and also with lean startups on their small, quickly-changing MVPs. Click to continue
A hiring guide
The Vital Guide to Interviewing Mobile Application Designers

This guide deals with mobile application design and its goal is to provide clients with information on mobile design, and help them recognize a top notch mobile designer. It touches on multiple aspects of mobile application development, some or all of which will be relevant to the specific context in which you are looking to hire.

mobile app designers
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“Rafael is an amazing designer. His aesthetic sense is spot on, and he seems to be able to anticipate our needs before we even know what they are. He's taken the time to understand both our company and our clientele, and his solutions are consistently in-line with our values, interests, and our customers' needs. He delivers on time (if not earlier), works quickly, is well organized, and very effective. He's a pleasure to work with, and we're very happy to have found him through Toptal.”
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CTO @ Langlotz Patent & Trademark Works, Inc.
“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
“Darko did a great job figuring out the user architecture for our concept, which led him to produce terrific wireframes. His knowledge of usability and design was a perfect match for the outside voice we needed to help jumpstart our project. We would certainly recommend him and work with him again in the future.”
Rich Danker
Founder @ Prose Market
“We had a wonderful experience with our Toptal consultant. He was very reliable and punctual, delivering excellent work on a budget—we will certainly be using him again!”
Barbara Karpf
President @ DecoratorsBest
“Toptal gave us access to the best designers out there. They’re not easy to find. Those designers integrated very quickly with our existing teams. They very quickly understood our business case and the value of our solution. Toptal really allowed us to focus on building the best possible product and save a lot of time on the typical administrative pains that goes with it -- specifically, finding the best talent. Toptal designers were very responsive, always online -- and that made life very easy for us. We have ambitious goals on how to grow the application and already Toptal has been a key contributor to that success.”
Thierry Jakircevic
General Manager, Digital Solutions, Bridgestone Head Office, Tokyo @ Bridgestone Corporation
“With the pressure on and millions watching the Cleveland Cavaliers during the NBA Playoffs, Toptal delivered the talent and expertise needed to launch a brand new fan engagement platform.”
Conor Kenney
Director of Professional Services @ Cleveland Cavaliers
“Michael is an incredible designer, and has been a great fit for our project. He just gets it in a way that can’t be taught. 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. Being able to see the portfolio work on Toptal’s platform is what gave me the infomation I needed to choose Michael. I have nothing but good things to say about Toptal and am looking forward to using Toptal for other projects in the future.”
Edward Daniel
Co-Founder @ improvemygun.com
“Dean blew us away. He ranks right up there as one of the top five designers of the hundreds I have worked with in the past. He listened, was totally professional, and came up with a 3D rotating cube design completely on his own. We didn't even ask for it, and yet it has become the centerpiece of our app and how users engage with it right off the bat. What he produced inspired all of us at Votify, and put us on track for launch and investor funding.”
Michael Lawrence
Founder & CEO @ Votify LLC
“The best talent is at Toptal for sure. It's way better and faster than any other means of getting top talent.”
Rajesh Nagarajan
Co-Founder & CTO @ maxmantra
“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.”
Ted Blosser
Head of Sales and Customer Success @ WorkRamp
“One of our 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 applications, interview and test the applicants' capabilities, 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, and hire with a risk-free trial -- much faster, a lot easier, and with incredible results.”
Catalin S. Balaci
Owner @ EvoBits Information Technology SRL
“Toptal helped us achieve our goals by really understanding what we were looking for. They worked with us very closely to figure out what the right talent looked like -- from a technical, cultural perspective -- and helped us get the onboarding done quickly so the talent could be effective as soon as possible. ”
Jay Tring
Technical Team Lead, CSR Connect, Australia @ CSR Limited
“Carlos has the unique talent of blending both quantitative and qualitative research to keenly identify UX challenges and opportunities. He thinks methodically, emphatically, 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 far better 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.”
Michelle Krogmeier
Project Manager @ Union Station
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Toptal is a marketplace for top mobile app designers. Top companies and start-ups choose Toptal Web designers for their mission-critical design projects.
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Gael BouvyerUnited States
Gael is a digital product designer with an advertising background. He has experience and knowledge in front-end development, marketing, branding, and management. Originally from France, he spent time in other parts of Europe and Africa before moving to New York City in 2011. His global experience makes him an ideal candidate to join a forward-thinking team.
[click to continue…]
Mobile App DesignerVisual DesignResponsive Web Design (RWD)iOS App DesignUser Experience (UX)User Interface (UI)
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Luke PeakeUnited States
Luke is an award-winning digital designer with 18 years of experience designing for globally recognized brands. He has worked for world-renowned agencies and also has managed and directed his own team of technical experts. UX is the core of everything he does.
[click to continue…]
Mobile App DesignerAdobe DreamweaverAdobe PhotoshopWeb DesignMacPCUser Experience (UX)UI DesignUX DesignUser Interface (UI)Front-end Design
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Mikael KristianslundNorway
Mikael is a senior designer at Konseptdesign, and has 8+ years of experience in freelancing. He has worked with brands such as Red Bull, Samsung, Caterpillar, and Mitsubishi. He specializes in UI design, but is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to design. He has a background in business and design, allowing him to create simple, clean, and user-friendly products.
[click to continue…]
Mobile App DesignerAdobe PhotoshopAdobe InDesignAdobe IllustratorSketchShopifyiOSUser Experience (UX)3D LogosLogo DesignShopify DesignUser Interface (UI)Branding
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Jasper Diego StoryUnited Kingdom
Jasper has delivered products for a range of clients globally, as product lead at an award-winning startup, and for Google Inc. and EMEA. He works across the full product-design cycle: from understanding customer problems, through product development and UX design, to UI and prototyping. Alongside a track-record of product design, he can deliver prototypes and implement designs across mobile and web technologies (iOS/Swift/SASS/HTML/JS).
[click to continue…]
Mobile App DesigneriOSWeb
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Cai CardenasAustralia
Cai is a digital product designer and founder of Overlay, a small design studio. He has spent the past 11 years working with emerging startups and established businesses around the world—creating engaging product experiences through beautifully simple interfaces.
[click to continue…]
Mobile App DesignerAdobe PhotoshopiOS UI DesigneCommerce DesignUser Experience (UX)User Interface (UI)App DesignInteraction Design
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Jack YehAustralia
Jack is a master storyteller. He designs engaging product experiences for users, and crafts compelling narratives that differentiates a brand. Jack also co-founded STEMN, an open-science startup, and has extensive experience working with fast-paced SaaS startups—helping them hit aggressive growth goals and achieve product-market fit.
[click to continue…]
Mobile App DesignerWeb DesignSaaSUX ResearchUser Experience (UX)
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Lee HardingUnited Kingdom
Lee is a director of a full-service design consultancy working for a diverse range of businesses from architecture, healthcare and finance, to music, writing, and food. He has created an extensive portfolio of work that embraces graphic design, web design, mobile apps, marketing, identity, and branding.
[click to continue…]
Mobile App DesignerAdobe PhotoshopAdobe InDesignAdobe IllustratorWeb DesignUser Interface (UI)Branding
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profile
Ismet TrakoBosnia and Herzegovina
Ismet has been dedicated to the design industry since 2011, bringing his experience to a bit over five years. Most of his experience originates from agency work and through collaborations with great people and clients like Eat, Mediatoolkit, Lufthansa, Dell, and Heineken.
[click to continue…]
Mobile App DesignerAdobe PhotoshopSketchiOSUser Interface (UI)
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Ivan BjelajacCroatia
Ivan is a full-stack product designer with over six years of experience. Due to his experience at top digital agencies, he's worked with big corporate clients on projects like mobile banking apps and point of sale apps, and also with lean startups on their small, quickly-changing MVPs.
[click to continue…]
Mobile App DesignerAdobe PhotoshopSketchAdobe IllustratorPrincipleWeb DesigniOSWindows PhoneWireframingUser Experience (UX)User Interface (UI)UI DesignUX Design
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The Vital Guide to Interviewing Mobile Application Designers

This guide deals with mobile application design and its goal is to provide clients with information on mobile design, and help them recognize a top notch mobile designer. It touches on multiple aspects of mobile application development, some or all of which will be relevant to the specific context in which you are looking to hire.

Before we proceed to define what makes a top-notch designer, we need to be aware of the definition.

Mobile application designers focus on native mobile apps and work closely with UX and UI designers to apply their design to mobile interfaces.

Mobile application designers focus on native mobile apps and work closely with UX and UI designers to apply their design to mobile interfaces.

Mobile designers have many names and some of them are app designers, iOS designers, Android designers, and so on. They usually work closely with user-experience (UX) designers and user-interface (UI) designers to apply their design to mobile interfaces. Their main focus is on native mobile applications, but they should also be able to create designs for mobile and hybrid apps.

Every mobile application designer should be aware of the difference between these three platforms.

The Challenge

Native apps live on the device and they are accessed through icons on the device home screen. Native apps are usually installed through an application store (such as Google Play or Apple’s App Store). They are specifically developed for one platform, and can take full advantage of all the device features; they can use the camera, the GPS, various sensors like the accelerometer, compass, and so on. They can also incorporate gestures (either standard operating system gestures or new, app-defined gestures). Also, it’s worth noting that native apps can use the device’s notification system, access local information like the contacts list, and they can work offline.

Responsive web applications are not real applications; they are really websites that, in many ways, look and feel like native applications, but are not implemented as such. They are run by a browser and typically written in HTML5. Users first access them as they would access any web page: They navigate to a special URL and then have the option of “installing” them on their home screen by creating a bookmark to that page. Web apps became popular when HTML5 went mainstream and people realized that they could obtain native-like functionality in the browser.

Today, as more and more sites use HTML5, the distinction between web apps and regular web pages is blurring. For instance, there are no visible browser buttons or bars, although the site runs in Safari (when accessed from an iPhone). Users swipe horizontally to move on to new sections of the app. And, thanks to browser caching, it’s even possible to read the newspaper offline.

HTML5 vs. Native Apps vs. Hybrid Apps

A lot of features are available in HTML5. It possible to access some sensors, implement the tap-to-call feature, and even other functions, such as the device’s camera API. However, few web apps and websites take advantage of these possibilities.

Mobile app developers must be aware of the difference between these native and hybrid apps, as well as HTML5 apps.

Mobile app developers must be aware of the difference between these native and hybrid apps, as well as HTML5 apps.

There are, however, native features that remain inaccessible (at least for now) in the browser:

  • The notification system, running in the background
  • Sensor input such as accelerometer information (other than detecting landscape or portrait orientations)
  • Complex gestures

Of course, one can argue that many apps (native or otherwise) do not take advantage of those extra features, anyhow. But if you really need those native features, you’ll have to create a native app, or at least a hybrid app.

Native mobile apps provide fast performance and a high degree of reliability. It’s important to note that most mobile video games are native applications. We all know that video games are among the most popular mobile applications, and many of them need to utilise the hardware in the most efficient way in order to ensure smooth gameplay and a good user experience.

Hybrid apps are part native apps, part web apps. Because of that, many people incorrectly call them “web apps.” Like native apps, they live in an app store and can take advantage of the many device features available. Like web apps, they rely on HTML being rendered in a browser, with the understanding that the browser is embedded within the app. Often, companies build hybrid apps as wrappers for an existing web page; in that way, they hope to get a presence in the app store without spending resources on app development. Hybrid apps are also popular because they allow cross-platform development and thus significantly reduce development costs: The same HTML code components can be reused on different mobile operating systems.

Tools such as PhoneGap and Sencha Touch allow people to design and code across platforms, using the power of HTML. Doing justice to many of these topics would warrant posts of their own. Nonetheless, this guide is intended to provide, at least, a meaningful overview of key issues and topics relating to mobile application design. Furthermore, every good mobile application designer should be aware of all the terms used in this article.

It’s not unusual for a client to demand native apps rather than responsive web applications. In order to provide a different and unique user-experience on each device, many clients will require a native application.

Q: Native, Web App, or Hybrid: Which Should You Choose?

To summarize, native apps, hybrid apps, or web apps cater to the needs of the mobile user. There is no best solution; each has its strengths and weaknesses. The choice depends on each client’s unique needs.

Q: When designing a new application, what are the most important questions you need to know?

  • What is your app’s main goal?
  • What are the most important sections in your app? How many are there?
  • What kind of actions should be available to the user throughout the app?
  • Who is your direct and indirect competition, if it exists?
  • Which features and functions do you want to include in your app?

With the answers, the designer should be able to start searching for the best design pattern for the new application. Maybe the best question to ask when starting a new design would be: “If you came home angry and stressed out, looking to buy a cinema ticket, how you would like to application to work?”

The same question can be adjusted to any real-life situation and mobile app. If the application design works when the user is frustrated, then the application is probably well designed.

Q: What do you need to consider when designing for iOS, Android or any mobile platform?

When people are about to use something, they have already expectations (we call them mental models). For example, most users will buy a certain smartphone because they like the design principles behind its operating system, the appearance, or how the device works. So, the most important thing to consider when designing for iOS, or other mobile platform, is to consider vendor guidelines. While developers need to stick to vendor guidelines, the basic logic behind each application should be identical, regardless of vendor.

Designers should not try to reinvent the wheel by implementing some unexpected elements within the application. In order to provide an extraordinary experience, designers should experiment with improved user flow and interaction design. In the application industry, this is a standard; Apple does it, Google does it, and Microsoft is no exception.

Q: When designing for a diverse set of users who will engage with your products, what do you need to consider?

Along with device platform guidelines, the designer should consider accessibility guidelines for a range of users. Design for people who are young, old, power users, casual users, and those who just enjoy a quality experience. Embrace these accessibility guidelines as you would any set of design constraints. They are part of the challenge of creating amazing products.

Q: Why are application icons so important for an application and what should be considered when designing the icon?

Beautiful, compelling icons are a fundamental part of a good user experience. Far from being merely decorative, icons play an essential role in communicating with users. Focus on a unique shape; some icons have many colors or they feature gradients, but they all start with a simple shape. That allows them to be recognizable at a distance and at a glance. Icons are seen in a range of different sizes. They are large in the App store, get small on the home screen and even smaller in the notification centre and in groups. Make sure your design scales well and is clear at any size.

The designer should also test the icon on different wallpapers; while it might look great against a traditional backdrop, iOS raindrops for example, there’s no guarantee it looks great on all wallpapers. And try grouping your designs into folders to evaluate how they look.

Q: How to design an intuitive user-interface and still achieve the “Wow!” effect.

Intuitive means easy to understand or operate without explicit instruction. The designer should always use different visual treatment for icons that are “tappable” and icons that are used as indicators and are “non-tappable.” Once a coherent system for distinguishing tappable from non-tappable icons is in place, the designer needs to follow it throughout the mobile app. In order to achieve the “WOW effect,” the designer should play around with unique shapes (for example custom made icons), animations, and then present them in a whole new way.

For example, the paper plane is now widely recognized as the “Send” icon. When it was first introduced, it was probably a little bit confusing for a user. “What is this paper plane? What does it have to do with email?” In many applications, the “Save” icon is an image of the extinct floppy disk. A life buoy icon could be used, instead. Once users understand or discover the meaning of a new UI element, it becomes “intuitive” the next time.

Three Components of the “Wow!” Factor

If the designer is limited by brand guidelines, the “Wow!” effect can be achieved in other areas.

Let’s imagine that we have a beautiful and expensive pen. But if it doesn’t write well, we will probably abandon it and go for an ordinary pen that suits our purpose. Fancy, eye-catching design cannot always help an ineffective product, so we must always think about designing an experience that pleasantly surprises the user by helping him to achieve the intended task faster and efficiently.

It is important to note that “Wow!” factors depend on the concept from the UX/visual designer being well executed by the programmer.

Q: Should we use gestures in our mobile application and how will they affect User Experience?

With the integration of gyroscopes and motion sensors, smart devices are able to detect movement. With this, the interaction between the user and the device extends beyond the click and tap, bringing real-life gestures to the screen.

Users are intuitive about gestures. When asked how to delete an item, users tried to move the item out of the screen regardless of age, sex and gender. Enhancing the user experience with fewer taps or scrolling allows applications to become more interactive.

Q: How will 3D Touch technology from Apple change the interface?

Force Touch technology does not enable truly new gestures, it is simply an extension of gestures we are already familiar with. It will help designers and developers to add a Z-axis in order to provide more depth of information on a top layer without touching or overcomplicating the Information Architecture underneath.

Q: How many fonts are recommended and what is the best practice with typography while designing mobile applications?

Reducing the number of fonts on a screen can reveal the power of typography. Instead of using different typefaces and leveraging different characteristics (e.g. italics, bold, semi-bold), different font sizes can better differentiate discrete areas of content. Embracing a singular typeface across an entire app drives consistency not only for branding but also across channels — e.g. app, mobile site, website — thus optimizing the mobile elements across the omnichannel experience. Also, users prefer the simplicity of having one typeface while scrolling for relevant content.

Q: What are micro-interactions and why should we use them?

Micro-interactions are small, visual enhancements (for example, an animation or a sound) occurring around a use case. These scenarios may include completing a transaction, flagging an item, or prompting a pop-up message. Such interactions are subtle, but they differentiate the product by pointing the user’s attention to the right element.

Micro-interactions may be leveraged as a signal to prompt the user while accomplishing a task (adjusting a setting, for instance), thus creating a small piece of content such as a pop-up message. Apps with well designed micro-interactions are considered easier to use, more fun, and more engaging by their users.

Final words

Before designers choose to create something, they must conduct market research in order to learn what’s out there and what they have to do to create a unique and successful design.

The biggest difference between developing a mobile application and a desktop application, or even a website, is context. This is what makes mobile apps so powerful. Each app is used for its own purpose, at a specific time and place. There are several ways to accomplish the same action for mobile, and it’s up to you, the designer, to design and choose the most effective way.

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