A Portfolio and blog for Mustafa Kurtuldu


Design Drives Podcast
Design Drives Podcast

Design Drives Interview

I had the opportunity to speak with Sebastian Gier on a UX design podcast, Design Drives. We discussed the relationship between design as a creative discipline and how systems and tools shape this creativity for better or worse. Listen to the podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcast.

We also spoke about why it helps designers to customize their …

At the beginning of 2020, the Chrome team across mobile and desktop laid out a plan to improve the discoverability and engagement of installed web apps. Our work led to a greater than 100% increase in PWA installation and engagement. We achieved this by researching existing features, running A/B test experiments and user interviews to gain insight …

Richer PWA installation UI

Mobile devices and the introduction of device vendor app stores have changed users' mental model of how to discover, evaluate and install software. Users are now so familiar with app stores, and the additional information that is provided through app stores such as context about the app, social feedback, ratings etc that you see the app store …

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Why icons alone won’t save your navigation

Icon research and best practice

There is also the old joke of a kid seeing a floppy disk for the first time and asking his Dad why he has a 3D printed version of the save icon. Well a while back when I was on Twitter, a Japanese user’s asked an important question about Microsoft Excel’s UI, and the question was “Why is the save icon a vending machine?”

This user’s experience is …

Photo by Luísa Schetinger on Unsplash
Photo by Luísa Schetinger on Unsplash

User-fudged experiences

How to design for weird user behavior

User Fudged Experiences are when users do something unexpected with our products or service, usually in a hacky way. Below are a series of examples where users improvised these experiences for various companies.

Story 1: McDonald’s Milkshakes

The Golden Arches were trying to increase the sale of their milkshakes and interviewed users to find the …

UX Minimal
UX Minimal

Bu bölümde Google’da UX Designer olarak çalışan Mustafa ile tasarım süreçlerinden, animasyonların insan algısına olan etkisi ve tasarımcılar için tavsiyelere kadar uzanan birçok farklı konuyu ele aldığımız, keyifli bir sohbet gerçekleştirdik, iyi dinlemeler.

Link to Spotify

Material Money PWA
Material Money PWA

Designing a progressive web app

This article covers the process and the lessons learned when designing a PWA and the things we learned.

A progressive web app (PWA) is a website that has app like features, for example, it can work offline, send you notifications and provides more seamless integration into the native features & behaviors of your phone & desktop.

There is a spectrum of PWA UX, with some PWAs focused on content websites that let users browse them when their …

Photo by NEW DATA SERVICES on Unsplash
Photo by NEW DATA SERVICES on Unsplash

Stress testing your designs so that they are flexible

How we can be creative and realistic with the websites

For graphic designers, this will seem quite odd, but to produce boxes with rounded corners on the web was tricky to implement 10 years ago. To get them you needed hacks and horrible HTML tricks to get a box with rounded corners.

Ironically when the ability to add rounded corners with CSS standardized across all major browsers, designers didn’t want …

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash
Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

Getting started with UX research

In this article we will look at the steps to take to conduct UX research

To start with, I have to state that you should always have professional researchers on hand to do research properly, in the same way, you need a trained designer or engineer. That said, if you are starting out, or want to improve your process and site or app, diving into research is the best thing you can do to improve the work that you do.

When …

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash
Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

What are the pain points for web designers?

To better understand the designer community we have been looking at the challenges designers face

We have been exploring some of the pain points web designers faced in the industry and did a small research project to understand better what challenges designers and developers face.

This project was broken down into three activities, two roundtable discussion with new graduates, conversations with designers on social media and looking at existing …

Hacking user perception to make your websites and apps feel faster

In this article I cover different design devices you can use to make your experiences feel quick

Ever wondered why when you call up a utility company and you are put on hold, they play music? Consider how you would feel if there was no music, just dead silence. CNN ran a survey that showed 70 percent of callers who are on hold in silence hang up within 60 seconds. Because the silence would make you think the line had perhaps disconnected, and …

Designing with the Gestalt principles

This week we take a look at the Gestalt theory

The Gestalt principles are a series of laws that are used to explain why human beings naturally find organized patterns in objects they see around them. The goal with the principles was to explain why we group objects in some ways but not others.

There are many different principles, but here I am going to look at the ones that effect grouping, …

Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash
Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

Scenario based design

Techniques on how to design user flows and not just tacking on a bit of design at the end

Many years ago I was designing a website and was given a set of design guidelines that were quite interesting, shall we say. I think they were going for a Zen-like approach, in that it was a style without style, they used Arial everywhere and blue was their primary colour; it was painful to look at. I was tasked with designing the flow and UI. …

Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash
Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

Design, economics and ethics

Are ethical choices economic or moral? In this article, we look at both

I feel that we as an industry are sometimes a little unwelcoming to newcomers and at times can come across as a little condescending. Especially when beginners are caught using technology or tools that are deemed too simplistic.

Take WordPress, the free content management system used to power blogs, that makes up ~30% of websites on the internet. …

Photo by Damien Kühn on Unsplash
Photo by Damien Kühn on Unsplash

The dangers of designing for one browser

How we should always try to design for everyone

Ithought the phrase; “best viewed using Internet Explorer version 4.0 or higher” would have been killed off by now. It seems someone forgot to tell NASA. Ok to be fair that site is there for historical purposes, still, that message was littered all over the web in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

These days we are bombarded with websites asking you to …

Photo by Marcus dePaula on Unsplash
Photo by Marcus dePaula on Unsplash

Variable fonts and the digital revolution

How tools change the way we design

The tools we use sometimes inspire the things we make. Their inherent limitations become the epitome of a style that later generations look back on in awe. For example, Andy Warhol’s use of silkscreen printing defined the pop art style of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

The silkscreen’s; ability to reproduce the same images precisely at a high quality …

Polaroid photos
Polaroid photos

Homogenising the web and praying for anarchy

The tortured soul of a designer who longs for something more

Every generation of art and design seems to revolve around a political debate with the previous generation. On one side you have a custom, hand-made, personal approach to design and on the other you have a more uniform, systematic and functional perspective. From Realism Vs. Modernism to New Wave Vs. Swiss Design, the design debate pendulum swings …

Cafe in Istanbul 1905
Cafe in Istanbul 1905

Designing in context with a peace pipe

Methods to break down the design process and remove mysticism of creativity

The cornerstone of any empire is a monument that lays the foundation of what that empire represented. The Roman Empire had the Colosseum, the Greeks the Acropolis, and the Egyptians the Pyramids. To be a real empire, you need a building that awes visitors to your capital city.

In 1550 the Sultan of the Ottoman empire, Kanunî Sultan Süleyman, wanted …

Photocomposition in action
Photocomposition in action

How to become a designer

A list of methods to break down the design process

Every so often a non-designer will ask me “How can I learn to design?”. This seems to imply that design is a checkbox that you can tick, on a checklist of things.

I think the reason for this confusion is in part due to the aesthetics being very prominent. The aesthetics appear superficial and, thus, give the illusion that ‘design’ is something you …

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Beating your imposter syndrome

How we can solve our creative block and improve the way we judge our work

How do we know that we’re good designers or creatives? This is a question we often time ask ourselves. The imposter in us seems to show its ugly head every time we come to a blank canvas to start a new project.

Aforementioned in turn causes -insert skill- block — that condition where we can’t focus on the task at hand because we are too busy …

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Preserving Design’s past

So the queen is dead, long live the queen.

So this is it then. The era of Flash is officially over. When my teammates and I first heard the announcement, we collectively cried a tear and reminisced about the good old days.

Long gone are the times when we would wait 10 hours for an intro to load. Gone are the whizzing sounds of our computers fans because they are about to choke. Bye bye to …

Material Design provides a set of tools and guidance to help you make informed decisions about the different UX design directions you could take when creating an app. But what happens when the guidelines don’t fit your product needs? And what happens at Google when a designer is working on a product that doesn’t quite fit the guidelines?

Link to …

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Learning to be a creative coder

Coming to terms with the fact that coding is a creative medium

The arts have lived on the streets amongst the communities of the underprivileged fighting out against control, a response to political suffocation. Often depicted as sub-cultures, these movements of the Punk era in London were a rejection of the modernist Swiss Style of the 1940s and 1950s.

In the late 70s we saw a typographic explosion on the New …

Speed Matters

Whether you’re a web developer, web designer or web marketer, you probably care about the end user of your product more than anything else. If you don’t, well maybe we need another eBook for that!

Link to book

https://unsplash.com/@bamagal, Creative Commons
https://unsplash.com/@bamagal, Creative Commons

I want to design again…

How design tools distort what should be obvious

I miss the design app Flash. It was the perfect design tool for digital designers. It visualised code concepts like using ‘movieclips’ like variables and the ‘stage’ like a UI canvas. This made the logic of programming accessible to visual makers who didn’t have a computer science background.

It was also excellent for getting teams to work …

Picture-Domenico Zampieri, Public Domain
Picture-Domenico Zampieri, Public Domain

Developers need to design

Our industry has spent the best part of 17 years trying to convince designers they need to code.

Last week, I heard a developer refer to someone on my team as a “unicorn”. This term has come to mean someone who can do multiple things, like a developer who can design. I don’t like this term. It implies that someone with dual abilities is a rare mythical creature.

For the best part of 17 years in the industry, I have witnessed the debate/polemic …

Nature or nurture? Photo-Trang Ta, unsplash.com
Nature or nurture? Photo-Trang Ta, unsplash.com

Design nature and developer nurture

Does our upbringing make us who we are or are we born with magical talents

Imagine you’re Ada Lovelace. Your father is one of the most creative romantic poets of his generation and held up in high esteem by people from around the world. His work is an inspiration to revolutionaries across Europe, moving them emotionally with the flick of his quill.

Your mother is accomplished in multiple fields including science and …

Faster horse or too much image? Miles Storey, Unsplash
Faster horse or too much image? Miles Storey, Unsplash

Designing below the fold

How language can affect the way and the things we design

This quote is often attributed to Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. Even though there is no evidence to prove Ford actually said this, the quote has become a mantra in some design circles to mean:

Don’t ask the users what they think, and if they articulate what they want, simply ignore them. …
Image by Jason Taellious
Image by Jason Taellious

Finding the spot where art and science meet

Where both creativity and logic can coexist and enhance one another.

Whenever I think the UX world is over regulating the creative process, the story of Jonas Salk, the inventor of the first polio vaccine, reminds me that there’s always hope and a way to find that creative spark.


This article is for a new youtube series called “Designer Vs Developer”, which you can see here on our Youtube …
Image by Joanna Kosinska, on unsplash.
Image by Joanna Kosinska, on unsplash.

Just make it look pretty…

The assumption that designers and developers sole role is to either make things look pretty

I was super excited. It was my first day of my brand new job. I had just finished university and was raring to go. I had made it. I could finally call myself a “Designer”. That glorious emotion was short lived though, when my manager approached me and said that my job was to “just make it look pretty…”.


This article is for a …

Basics of UX

This article introduces a workflow that can help teams, products, startups and companies create a robust and meaningful process for developing a better user experience for their customers. You could use different parts of the process separately but they ideally work best as a series of steps.

Link: article

I’ve been searching for a way to remove the LIs and UL elements from a standard wordpress nav, wp_nav_menu, while keeping the classes from the LI and moving them to the A tags.

this is in italic and so is this

this is in bold and so is this

this is bold and italic and so is this

I’ve been searching for a way to remove the LIs and UL …