Hire the top 3% of freelance mobile app designers.

Toptal is a marketplace for clients to find top mobile app designers from around the world. Each Toptal app designer is thoroughly vetted and trusted by top companies for their most critical mobile apps and mobile app design projects.

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We've been blown away by the level of talent we've been able to hire through Toptal.

Brad Rozran, Optimizely

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Our Exclusive Network of Mobile App Designers

George Barbu

Freelance Mobile App Designer

During the past five years of working as a user interface and user experience designer, George has helped startups around the globe by solving their problem...s using proven user-centered processes and transforming business needs into astonishing digital experiences. He specializes in mobile interaction design, with a focus for fintech startups. 

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Mike Slone

Freelance Mobile App Designer

Mike is a highly experienced and successful product, UX, UI, visual, and branding designer with many years of experience creating large- and small-scale des...igns. He has worked for global clients in many industries including ExxonMobil, Reebok, Taco Bell, Nike, and many others. He has also provided his design leadership and experience to startups in healthcare, higher education, and SaaS companies. 

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Alexandre Brito

Freelance Mobile App Designer

Alexandre is a user experience designer and strategist with 10+ years of experience working for companies like Deutsche Bank, Philips, Vodafone, KLM, Intel,... Pernod Ricard, Asics, and Toyota. He designs better ways for customers to experience products and services that improve their lives as well as the business' bottom line. What drives him is simplifying complex things, understanding behavior, and creating real, innovative experiences. 

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Mathieu Barre

Freelance Mobile App Designer

Mathieu is a passionate visual designer who meticulously crafts UX/UI designs, product designs, web designs, and motion animations. He keeps up to date with... industry trends via his research on substantial apps. He and his partner run a Paris-based mobile agency where he also works as an art director while his partner handles the visuals and branding. Mathieu expresses himself well and has worked for large companies and startups. 

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Ocean Lio

Freelance Mobile App Designer

Ocean has over seven years of experience as a UI/UX designer in the computer software industry—working at Autodesk. He’s especially skilled in visual design..., user experience design, and testing. Notable projects that he’s worked on was as the lead designer for Autodesk’s SketchBook application and on SketchBook Motion which won iPad App of the Year in 2016. 

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Daniel Sigvardsson

Freelance Mobile App Designer

Daniel is an award-winning multi-disciplinary designer. His passion lies in working with startups to create clear images of who they are and helps visualize... problems they are trying to solve. Daniel will work with you or your team to identify and develop the assets your company needs to get off the ground. In solving design challenges, the main priority is always making your business grow. 

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Illia Strikhar

Freelance Mobile App Designer

Illia is a UX/UI designer with a passion for crafting state-of-the-art-online products with the purpose of helping people. With five years of experience in... product design, Illia can do everything from customer discovery and concept validation, to designing low fidelity prototypes and eventually turning them into pixel-perfect, goal-oriented design. 

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Gokhun Guneyhan

Freelance Mobile App Designer

Gokhun is an interaction designer with several years of experience and a special interest and expertise in on-demand and wellness startups. He's worked with... various startups in the US and in the UK as a contractor or freelancer. In his career, he's done the entire project life cycle from user research, user testings to creating user flows, wireframes, UIs, and prototypes. 

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Stephen Callender

Freelance Mobile App Designer

Stephen designs brands, software applications, and IoT hardware solutions in Austin. His variety of experience comes from founding and running a design and... PR agency and also launching two tech startups – one a consumer interactive video app and the other data-driven solutions for airports and airlines. Stephen is a team player, eagerly takes on responsibility, and is always up for doing things differently and breaking the mold. 

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Gabriel Maldonado

Freelance Mobile App Designer

Gabriel has an MBA in digital media management and spent a year overseeing the planning and execution of the first native mobile app for Sears Corporation.... He specializes in UX/UI human-centered design solutions on internal and external platforms, offering maximum visibility and efficiency for clients. He also enhanced the CareerBuilder's client platform based on extensive design research and UX/UI best practices. 

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Jenna Law

Freelance Mobile App Designer

Jenna is an award-winning director of design. She has partnered with clients such as Microsoft, Jaguar, UK Government, GSK, Jack Daniels and more for over 1...3 years. Her unique hybrid skills—of UI, UX, brand and product design—has seen her exceed business and user expectations time and again. Her process for success: user-focused, experience-driven, design-led. 

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Hire Mobile App Designers Seamlessly with Toptal

1
Talk to One of Our Industry Experts
A Toptal director of design will work you to understand your goals, technical needs, and team dynamics.
2
Work With Hand-Selected Talent
Within days, we'll introduce you to the right mobile app designer for your project. Average time to match is under 24 hours.
3
The Right Fit, Guaranteed
Work with your new mobile app designer for a trial period (pay only if satisfied), ensuring they're the right fit before starting the engagement.

FAQs

  • How are Toptal mobile app designers different?

    At Toptal, we thoroughly screen our mobile app designers to ensure we only supply experts of the highest caliber. Of the more than 100,000 people who apply to join the Toptal network each year, we accept fewer than 3%. You'll work with design experts (never generalized recruiters or HR reps) to understand your goals, technical needs, and team dynamics. The end result: expertly-matched talent from our network, hand-selected to fit your business needs.

  • What is the no-risk trial period for mobile app designers?

    We make sure that each engagement between you and your mobile app designer begins with a trial period of up to two weeks. This means that you have time to confirm the engagement will be successful. If you're completely satisfied with the results, we'll bill you for the time and continue the engagement for as long as you'd like. If you're not completely satisfied, you won't be billed. From there, we can either part ways, or we can provide you with another expert who may be a better fit and with whom we will begin a second, no-risk trial.

  • How fast can I hire mobile app designers through Toptal?

    Depending on availability and how fast you can progress, you could start your no-risk trial with a mobile app designer within 48 hours of signing up. Most of our engagements start within 2 weeks of discussing your project with us.

Tap Into World-Class Talent

  • Trusted Experts Only

    All of our talent are seasoned experts who ramp up quickly, readily contribute as core team members, and work with you to minimize onboarding time.

  • The Right Fit

    We have a knack for matching you with the right fit. Start working with your new hire on a no-risk trial period, paying only if satisfied.

  • Scale as Needed

    Hire in under 2 weeks and scale your team up or down as needed, no strings attached.

  • Seamless Hiring

    We handle all aspects of billing, payments, and NDA’s. Let us take care of the overhead while you focus on building great products.

  • Flexible Engagements

    Choose the engagement type that suits your needs — hourly, part-time, or full-time — with the ability to change anytime.

  • Expert Talent Matching

    Focus on your project and enjoy support from your dedicated account executive and expert talent matcher.

Guide to Hiring a great Mobile App Designer

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.

How to Hire a Great Mobile App Designer

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.

Top Mobile App Designers are in high demand.

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