UI 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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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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Michael Abehsera
The Gap Between Developers and Designers is Disappearing

In the not-so-distant past, completing a design according to a designer’s vision was a nightmare. There was a huge gap (or cold war) between developers and designers; now, that war is finally coming to an end.

In this article, Toptal lead design editor Michael Abehsera talks about the prototyping tools that are spearheading the disappearing gap between design and development.

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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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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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Tidjane Tall
How to Create Custom Loading Animations to Decrease Bounce Rates

You probably wouldn’t stare at a white screen on a site or app for more than a few seconds without a page load status or time indicator. A well-crafted loading animation helps you stay engaged while you wait. Toptal Design Editor Tidjane Tall will show you how Slack, Trello, and Flickr loading animations can be done with ease. You’ll be able to apply what you learn to create your own branded loading animation from scratch.

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Tidjane Tall
A Step-by-step Guide to Designing Custom Illustrations Without Any Drawing Skills

Many designers shy away from making their own custom illustrations for the fear that they don’t have conventional drawing skills. What if we could show you how to make your own great custom illustrations, no sketching skills required? In this article, Toptal Design Blog Editor Tidjane Tall guides us through three step-by-step illustrations each with different styles.

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Waldek Graczyk
Illustration Inspirations to Help Breathe Life Into Your Brand

Check out a collection of custom illustration inspirations created by different designers from around the world. Toptal Illustrator Waldek Graczyk curated a selection of illustrations that each finds a way to represent its respective brand.

Some of the illustrations 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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Lauren Holliday
The Best Design Articles of 2016

Today, in a world where only three percent of adults spend time learning each day, reading is a competitive advantage.

To jumpstart your learning in 2017, we’ve curated the absolute best design links published around the web in 2016. You’re welcome.

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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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Tidjane Tall
The Super Simple Guide to Iconography

We often hear that an image is worth a thousand words. Well, this applies very much to icons, which replace long sentences and words to optimize visual space, usability, and aesthetic.

In this article, Toptal Designer Tidjane Tall shows us how to create 10 custom icons in less than 10 seconds each (we promise). Knowing how to design your own icons can go a long way, so learn how to craft a set of simple and effective icons to upgrade your skillset.

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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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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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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
Let’s Redesign Facebook: 10 Inspirations to Get You Started

Check out a collection of new Facebook redesigns 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 the popular platform.

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
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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Michael Abehsera
Write or Fade Away as a Designer

As freelance designers, we tend to search for any way to leverage our careers to get more and better work. However, with so many opinions online it can be difficult for designers to know how to invest their time. Writing is one of the highest ROI skills a designer can develop.

In this article, Toptal Lead Design Editor Michael Abehsera talks with some of the best designers around the world who write to leverage their careers. Keep reading to learn how you too can get writing.

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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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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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Michael Abehsera
The Art of Stealing: How to Become a Master Designer

Many people believe that designers are unicorns, gifted or special in some way. They’re not. Truth is, anyone can become a great designer if they’re willing to put in years of hard work, experimentation, and failure. All it takes is a simple mindset shift. Instead of looking at other designers’ work with envy, think of it as the key to your success.

In fact, interactive design has a lot in common with the open source software community: You can master it by stealing and copying from the best of the best. Start by getting to know Dribbble’s rebound feature.

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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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Danielle Reid
Amazing Travel UIs

Check out a curated collection of beautiful and futuristic travel UIs created by different designers from around the world.

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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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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Becze Szabolcs
Android Developer’s Guide to Fragment Navigation Pattern

Navigation in mobile applications, when done right, can have tremendous positive impact on overall user experience. Android offers application developers multiple ways of implementing navigation in their application. However, not all navigation patterns are created equal.

In this article, Toptal engineer Becze Szabolcs shows us how to implement fragment-based navigation and how it stacks up against Android’s traditional navigation philosophy.

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Alex Gurevich
Sketch vs. Photoshop: Is It Time To Switch From Photoshop To Sketch?

Sketch promises a faster workflow and greater ease-of-use than its counterparts. You can think of Sketch as Illustrator with some Photoshop stitched together, but that’s only part of the story. Many Adobe features that you don’t use 90 percent of the time have been stripped out, giving us a streamlined tool that is designed to quickly prototype everything from simple wireframes to complex mockups.

In this article, Toptal freelance designer Alex Gurevich takes a closer look at the Sketch vs. Photoshop dilemma, explaining which has the advantage from a variety of perspectives.

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Luboš Volkov
2016 Design Trends: New Tools, More Automation, Full Stack Design

2016 design trends are an evolution and extension of existing design languages and patterns. We are not reinventing the wheel this year, so this leaves room for innovative designs based on familiar building blocks. However, while the underlying basics remain unchanged, designers will have to master new skills and employ new tools to keep up.

In this post, Toptal Lead Designer Lubos Volkov lists a number of design trends that are likely to mark 2016. These industry trends are not limited to visual appearance or the advent of new tools. Some of them could potentially redefine our understanding of what it means to be a designer.

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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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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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