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Jake Frey

New York, United States
Jake built Fancy which was deemed one of the best apps of the year from Apple and Google. Other clients include Apple, Twitter, Snapchat, Shopify, Hermès, and Kanye West. He's privileged to work on amazing projects with brilliant people. Click to continue

Jeffrey Davis

Phoenix, United States
Jeffrey has been working alongside entrepreneurs to help build their businesses for 5+ years. Most recently, he has worked with a digital agency in London called Grampy. For those 2 years, he traveled the world consulting C-level executives and building digital experiences for leading brands. Click to continue

Michael Clingerman

Seattle, United States
Michael is a skilled designer with twenty years of brand identity, product development, and graphic design experience as an art director and an independent designer and artist. He directed interactive design for Yahoo!, where he specialized in advertising, branding, product development, UI/UX, and ideation, and has recently finished a thirteen-month project for Microsoft as a senior UI/UX design lead for a next-generation big data CRM platform. Click to continue

Bill Tribble

Tokyo, Japan
Bill is an award-winning digital product designer and UX consultant with over two decades of professional experience in design, UX, media, and education. He has been a leader, an entrepreneur, a teacher, and a designer working in a wide range of media, and his user-centered designs are unique to every product. 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

Fabio Muniz

São Paulo, Brazil
Fabio is a product designer with 5+ years of experience working with venture-backed startups in NY, SF, and EU. He has designed mobile apps that were featured in publications and app stores, and websites with over 100k monthly visitors. Currently Fabio is also writing about usability for TestLodge and mentoring DesignLab's and Springboard's UX courses. Click to continue

Tamara Olson

New York City, United States
A self-employed UX designer and developer, Tamara spent several years at Google, first as a UX manager in Ads (DFP), and then as UX design lead for Google Classroom. She has crafted experiences for Apple (apple.com redesign), The Paperless Post, Conde Nast, and The New York Observer (2009 Webby nomination, best newspaper). Tamara is an adjunct professor at FIT, teaching interaction design, and holds a Master’s from NYU’s ITP. Click to continue

Maureen Murphy

Long Beach, NY, United States
Maureen has been a UX architect for fourteen years and has experience with websites, web-based applications, kiosks, widgets, and mobile interfaces. She’s also good with content and data. She believes that all users' needs matter--not just edge cases--and she prides herself on tenaciously finding usable and scalable solutions to complex problems. Right now, she’s playing with prototyping tools, eager for what they bring to the table. Click to continue

Alexandra Jones

London, United Kingdom
With a formal background in music, fine art, and new media, Alexandra has been working as a user experience designer for the past five years within academic and creative industries across 4 countries. She has partnered with both small and nimble startups and innovative, market-leading blue-chip brands at both top-line strategic and granular levels—including Johnnie Walker, Waitrose, Barclays, Weetabix, KFC, World Animal Protection, and more. Click to continue

Natalia Cackowska

Warsaw, Poland
Natalia is a user experience designer and researcher with nearly seven years of experience creating web and iOS applications. Most of her experience comes from designing large enterprise software and SaaS web applications, where her analytical, design, and user research skills are put to work. Click to continue
A hiring guide
The Vital Guide To User Experience (UX) Design Interviewing

A user experience (UX) design expert is a multi-talented jack-of-all-trades who possess knowledge in the areas of psychology, design and technology. As with any area of design, there is a high level of subjectiveness. This guide will help remove some of the subjectivity by allowing you to discover what makes a great UX designer and help you make the right hiring decisions.

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“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!”
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“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.”
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Director of Professional Services @ Cleveland Cavaliers
“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.”
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“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.”
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CEO & Creative Director @ Tuatara Corp
“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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Head of Sales and Customer Success @ WorkRamp
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Co-founder and CTO @ KeepSafe
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Jake FreyUnited States
Jake built Fancy which was deemed one of the best apps of the year from Apple and Google. Other clients include Apple, Twitter, Snapchat, Shopify, Hermès, and Kanye West. He's privileged to work on amazing projects with brilliant people.
[click to continue…]
UX DesignerAdobe PhotoshopSketchWeb DesignMobile App DesigniOS UI DesignUser Experience (UX)eCommerceApp DesignUser Interface (UI)
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Jeffrey DavisUnited States
Jeffrey has been working alongside entrepreneurs to help build their businesses for 5+ years. Most recently, he has worked with a digital agency in London called Grampy. For those 2 years, he traveled the world consulting C-level executives and building digital experiences for leading brands.
[click to continue…]
UX DesignerUser Experience (UX)
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Michael ClingermanUnited States
Michael is a skilled designer with twenty years of brand identity, product development, and graphic design experience as an art director and an independent designer and artist. He directed interactive design for Yahoo!, where he specialized in advertising, branding, product development, UI/UX, and ideation, and has recently finished a thirteen-month project for Microsoft as a senior UI/UX design lead for a next-generation big data CRM platform.
[click to continue…]
UX DesignerAdobe IllustratorSketch 3User Interface (UI)UX Scenarios
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Bill TribbleJapan
Bill is an award-winning digital product designer and UX consultant with over two decades of professional experience in design, UX, media, and education. He has been a leader, an entrepreneur, a teacher, and a designer working in a wide range of media, and his user-centered designs are unique to every product.
[click to continue…]
UX DesignerAdobe CCSketchPrincipleAdobe PhotoshopAdobe IllustratorVisual DesignAgileColor TheoryResponsive Web AppsInformation Architecture (IA)User InterviewsUser Interface (UI)
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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…]
UX DesignerSketchAdobe IllustratorAdobe PhotoshopInterface DesignAdobe SuiteAndroidWindowsiOSUX DesignInformation Architecture (IA)Prototyping
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Fabio MunizBrazil
Fabio is a product designer with 5+ years of experience working with venture-backed startups in NY, SF, and EU. He has designed mobile apps that were featured in publications and app stores, and websites with over 100k monthly visitors. Currently Fabio is also writing about usability for TestLodge and mentoring DesignLab's and Springboard's UX courses.
[click to continue…]
UX DesignerPrincipleSketch 3Mobile App DesignWeb DesignUser Experience (UX)Sketch App
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Tamara OlsonUnited States
A self-employed UX designer and developer, Tamara spent several years at Google, first as a UX manager in Ads (DFP), and then as UX design lead for Google Classroom. She has crafted experiences for Apple (apple.com redesign), The Paperless Post, Conde Nast, and The New York Observer (2009 Webby nomination, best newspaper). Tamara is an adjunct professor at FIT, teaching interaction design, and holds a Master’s from NYU’s ITP.
[click to continue…]
UX DesignerHTMLCSSAdobe PhotoshopSketchOmniGraffleWordPressUX ResearchUser Experience (UX)UX Design
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Maureen MurphyUnited States
Maureen has been a UX architect for fourteen years and has experience with websites, web-based applications, kiosks, widgets, and mobile interfaces. She’s also good with content and data. She believes that all users' needs matter--not just edge cases--and she prides herself on tenaciously finding usable and scalable solutions to complex problems. Right now, she’s playing with prototyping tools, eager for what they bring to the table.
[click to continue…]
UX DesignerProcess Flows
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Alexandra JonesUnited Kingdom
With a formal background in music, fine art, and new media, Alexandra has been working as a user experience designer for the past five years within academic and creative industries across 4 countries. She has partnered with both small and nimble startups and innovative, market-leading blue-chip brands at both top-line strategic and granular levels—including Johnnie Walker, Waitrose, Barclays, Weetabix, KFC, World Animal Protection, and more.
[click to continue…]
UX DesignerSketchOmniGraffleWindowsiOSUser FlowsPersonasUser Experience (UX)WebsitesWireframing
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Natalia CackowskaPoland
Natalia is a user experience designer and researcher with nearly seven years of experience creating web and iOS applications. Most of her experience comes from designing large enterprise software and SaaS web applications, where her analytical, design, and user research skills are put to work.
[click to continue…]
UX DesignerUX DesignUX ResearchPrototyping
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The Vital Guide To User Experience (UX) Design Interviewing

A user experience (UX) design expert is a multi-talented jack-of-all-trades who possess knowledge in the areas of psychology, design and technology. These designers have a thorough understanding of the user and business goals and filter those into the digital experience so that your product feels intuitive, simple and facilitates the user and business goals.

The questions presented in this guide help identify user experience designers with the experience to produce masterful digital products.

As with any area of design, there is a high level of subjectiveness. This guide will help remove some of the subjectivity by allowing you to discover what makes a great UX designer and help you make the right hiring decisions.

The Challenge

User experience design encompasses many facets of both the design and development process. A great user experience designer will be an empathetic communicator who is curious and uses both qualitative and quantitative data to validate design hypotheses. The work of a UX designer is difficult to measure due to the varied nature of the role and output of the work.

Finding a UX designer requires a highly-effective recruiting process in conjunction with considered questions, as outlined below, which help identify candidates who are true experts.

UX design is a growing discipline with an extremely broad definition

UX design is a growing discipline with an extremely broad definition.

UX design is a growing discipline. It was created by Dr. Donald Norman, a cognitive science researcher, who first defined the importance of user-centered design. User experience actually has a formal definition (ISO 9241-210), but it boils down to: How people respond to what they experience. Effective UX design allows users to find value in the system and their interactions within it.

This extremely broad definition translates directly into the various skills that an expert UX designer will deliver:

Strategy and Content

  • Competitor Analysis
  • Customer Analysis
  • Product Structure/Strategy
  • Content Development

Wireframing and Prototyping

  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping
  • Testing/Iteration
  • Development Planning

Execution and Analytics

  • Coordination with UI Designer(s)
  • Coordination with Developer(s)
  • Tracking Goals and Integration
  • Analysis and Iteration

Such varied output can make any designer’s head spin, not to mention that of a hiring manager. So where do we start when interviewing UX Designers?

Strategy and Content

Before designing the digital experience, a UX designer’s job is to work on the strategy and content of the experience, working together with relevant experts. Strategy involves assessing the market and competitors, ranging to market positioning to full sitemap analysis and product feature content audits.

In addition to getting to know competitors, UX designers discover the product demographic and create detailed user personas. From here, a good UX designer will develop content and a strategy that differentiates the product and speaks directly to the target demographic. The following questions will support you in finding an excellent UX designer, from a strategy and content perspective.

Q: What is the definition of User-Experience?

A good definition, and an expected answer, should be somewhere in the lines of Nadeem Khan:

“It is a process that solves a problem of design, by taking into account the user’s goals and needs.”

Good responses may vary depending on the diversity or the key focus of the UX candidate. From a research perspective, a good UX designer can broaden their answer to include covering, “using data and research to guide product decisions, where user and business goals are taken into account.” A good candidate will have, above all else, the ability to use empathy and science to back up product design decisions.

Q: How would you best describe user-centred design to a client who is unfamiliar with the process?

Excellent answers will focus on placing the user in focus and making design decisions based on the evidence provided by users during research, data collection and the iterative approach to designing a service, product or tool. Placing the user in the centre of the design process is essential.

Q: What do you do on a personal and professional level to advocate for good usability?

A great UX design candidate will be able to outline several different examples of how they advocate for good usability. At the core, testing and iterating ideas, prototypes, concepts and products, and using user- generated data to inform design decisions will guide good usability.

The candidate may also talk about technical issues, such as cross-platform accessibility, or designing for access in environments where constraints from the user or technology limit a user experience. For example, making sure that blind people or people with restricted eyesight can read and access a website to gain information.

Wireframing and Prototyping

Once a UX designer has gathered data and research on the key user profiles, the next job is to start using that data to begin mocking up wireframes and later prototype products to further support (or reject) the initial data gathering. This phase should be rapidly iterated upon and the wireframes will later act as blueprints for a user interface or visual designer to step in and continue with the product design. The following questions will support you in finding an excellent UX designer, from a wireframing and prototyping perspective.

Q: Do you specialise in wireframing and functionality design, or other areas of design?

There are many different design profiles. From UX to UI, Visual, Interactive and Print, plus a surplus of emerging design fields, such as game design and more. With all these different profiles, a good UX designer will identify with being a UX designer. He or she will validate this by using examples that illustrate user-generated research adapted for designing new interaction patterns, interfaces and systems that solve design problems.

Q: What kind of data would you use to validate your design?

This question seeks to understand whether a UX designer uses valuable data points to either support or reject design decisions. Good answers will vary depending on the specific design to be validated, but this is the point and what the client should be looking for.

The ability to provide an answer that is relevant to a particular problem will set apart a designer who knows what s/he is talking about. Other thing to look for are metrics on specific features and patterns in design, data gathered from user interviews, surveys and in-product testing.

Q: Do you have a prototyping tool and wireframing tool preferences?

The software that a user-experience designer uses varies greatly due to the large number of products available. A UX designer may start with pen and paper prototypes, then use tools like Axure, Balsamiq, Justinmind Prototyper, Solidify App, Filesquare, Mockingbird, iPlotz, InVision, Framer.js, XCode, Quartz Composer or others to both wireframe and prototype their design.

Execution and Analytics

A good UX designer will be able to keep track and iterate upon the user experience as the product evolves. Part of this is good communication with other designers and teammates, including UI designers, visual designers and interaction designers. Setting goals and iterating towards them is part of the expertise of a UX designer.

Q: Give me an example of a project where the requirements changed halfway through, and how did you approach this?

Listen for answers where the designer talks about being agile to iterate on various requirements, as well as advise the client to backup any changes to requirements with data generated from users. This is somewhat subjective, as you will have to check whether or not the candidate’s approach to evolving requirements will be a good fit for your project and organisation.

Q: How do you provide clear instructions for other designers and developers to work from?

A good UX designer will be an excellent communicator, both with users and other teammates, using empathy to guide them through communication patterns. A possible answer is to provide a clear brief plus instructions in the form of user personas, sitemaps, information architecture, wireframes and prototypes, as well as effectively communicating verbally or through writing to the relevant team members.

Q: Where does your role as a user-experience designer finish?

A user-experience designer’s work is never finished and there is always more testing and iterations to make.

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