An Ultimate Guide to Visual Storytelling for App UI/UX Design
By Pooja Chawla
May 24, 2019 5 min read
Last update on: August 2, 2019

Whenever we hear the word story, the first few things that hit our minds are our favorite Netflix series, some animated movies, or our favorite childhood book.

Ever wondered why?

Because their stories have left an everlasting impression on our mind and heart. They have made us feel that we are a part of the story and have our own specific role and intrigued us to visualize every single character in our head.

This is what users are expecting from mobile applications these days. With a plethora of options available with them, they are looking forward to interacting with applications that not only serve them with the finest of services, but also give them a story to live. And one effective proven way to make this possible is looking ahead to visual storytelling for mobile app UI/UX design.

But, the questions that arise here are – Is investing in Visual Storytelling really worthy? What is the right approach to introduce this technique into your UI/UX design? And what does the future hold?

Let’s find answers to all these questions in this article – starting with digging out what is Digital or Visual Storytelling and what are its benefits.

A Quick Introduction to Visual Storytelling

Visual Storytelling in UX design, is defined as a way of making user journey smoother, easier, and effective using visual media, such as images, videos, graphics, voice, music, and audio.

The concept of Visual storytelling is widely implemented in the process of designing UX of a mobile app to avail a myriad of benefits to both the customers and brands, such as:-Benefits of Introducing Visual Storytelling in App UX Design

  • Better Understanding

Many times, users do not interpret the words written in your application the way you want to. Because of this, they do not get the core idea and respond in the same manner.

Now, here, Visual storytelling showcases visual elements that generate an impulse in their minds and attach some meaning to what they see. This eventually helps them to comprehend the core of the concept.Better Understanding through Visual

  • Ease to Remember

Since a human brain can analyze and processes a story more effectively than other types of communication elements, using visual narrative in design enables users to remember the story far easily.

Besides, this technique increases the chances of users connecting the story with certain places, time, and materials, which further enhances the chance of them remembering the story whenever they visit/see all those places and materials.Ease to Remember via a Visual Story

  • More Engagement

Another key importance of Visual narrative or Digital storytelling is that it not only helps the users to see and understand the message you want to convey, but also experience the depth of the concept. It empowers them to visualize themselves as a part of the concept and thus, remain hooked to your brand.More Engagement through Visual Storytelling

  • Higher Leads

The concept of Visual Storytelling also aids businesses to amp up their sales numbers. The technique enables the users to easily relate themselves with the main character of the story, the choices he made, and thus, make up his mind. This eventually improves the chances of them making their minds to buy your particular product/service.Higher Leads through Visual Story

  • Effective Marketing

Last but not least, Visual storytelling provides brands with a wider range of options to promote their products and services using the advanced technologies like AR, VR, and IoT. This not only helps the brand to stand out of the crowd, but also increases the chances of users remembering the brand whenever they hear, see, or discuss about the story or anything related to it.

Because of such benefits, various small and established brands like Slack, Patagonia, Toca Boca, and Slow Factory  have been continually investing their time and effort into the process of Visual Storytelling. Know this fact, you must be interested to join the bandwagon.


Before you jump into the hiring process and think of taking the backseat by handing over your UI/UX design needs to experts, let’s watch out the best way to build a visual narrative into UX design and what does the future hold.

So, let’s begin with the tips (and strategies) to add visual storytelling in app UX design.

8 Tips to Build an App UI/UX Design Using Visual Storytelling
Tips to Craft a Visual Story That Boosts Customer Engagement

  • Understand Your Target Audience

When you look into the pain points and desires of your target audience and craft a visual story they can easily relate with, they reflect better response. They consider your application as a helpful resource and connect with you at emotional front.

So, put your best efforts into understanding your target audience and building a story around it.

  • Keep it Simple yet Interactive

A simple yet interactive story is far easier for the users to grasp, comprehend, and remember than an extensive and complex story. So, look forward to creating visual stories with one-liner content. And when it comes to bringing a positive impact of visual elements on webpages and in apps, in terms of landing pages, invest into the idea of infusing visual content via F and Z patterns. [ Learn more about F and Z patterns here.]

  • Focus on Building First Impression

When talking about how to use Visual storytelling for UX design, the first impression plays a pivotal role in enhancing the customer experience.

This is so because our brain works in a way that it creates a quick impression. In such a scenario, if you do not put elements that hit their emotions or have something related to their deep-rooted values in the initial part of the story, they won’t continue to watch the story till the end. This implies all of your efforts in crafting an incredible UX design using Visual storytelling will go in vain.

So, put the most striking elements in the beginning of your digital story and bring more eyeballs to your application.

  • Add Some Human Elements

When you highlight the story of your business via a few people, the users find it easier to get connected. They feel a sense of trustworthiness which encourages them to take an action in favor of your brand. So, do not skip adding a human element in your brand storytelling strategy.

  • Use Visuals that Induces Positive Emotions

One of the important tips on creating a brand story via visual elements is to avoid negative images. This is because such images can scare the users or make them feel aggressive, which can distract them from the main idea and thus, lower down the outcome.

So, even if you are talking about something negative or sad, look ahead to building a positive tone to keep them paying attention till the end of the story.

  • Match Visuals with Typography

The next thing to consider in your brand storytelling strategy via UX design is that the typography and visual elements you pick should go in sync. This is because both the visual elements and typography have their own tone and if not choose wisely, can result into contradictory tone making the customers confused.

So, it is profitable for you to ask your hired product design team to pick the visual elements that complements the tone set by using the best typography tools that every designer should use in your app design.

  • Be authentic and Culture Sensitive

When it comes to using effective storytelling techniques for app user engagement, using stock images might lower down your hassle, but it gives an impression that even the content of your application is ‘stock’. This makes the customers feel less connected to your application and brings an adverse impact on your app’s authenticity. So, prefer to design images and other elements from scratch and add uniqueness to your application design.

Besides, do not overlook the fact that every color and creature symbolizes different things across the world. For example, White is a sign of purity for Eurpoean countries, whereas Asian culture connects the color with sadness and death. So, keep yourself updated with all such culture-sensitive matter before planning your UX design strategy.

  • Appreciate Flawless Execution

While blending the best of art and science into your Visual Storytelling design strategy is one thing, their seamless execution also matters in delivering an impeccable customer experience. So, do not overlook the quality assurance process.

Test and experiment with every element of your UX design to ensure that the strategy brings a positive and profitable impact on your target audience.

With this attended to, let’s turn towards the last core element of this article, i.e., demonstration of visual storytelling design trends for 2019 and beyond.

Visual Storytelling Design Trends for 2019

  • Interactive Storytelling

In 2019, creating an interactive story using hybrid form of communication elements is in trend. Business leaders and UX designers are bringing all the possible communication medium together to provide a seamless and effective experience – be it images, written words, animations, maps, or graphics. They are employing all these elements to provide users with the freedom to navigation information the way they want and dive as deeper into the content of a certain topic as they want.

In other words, they are crafting stories where they initiative a conversation and the target user base take it forward depending on their level of imagination; implying they are portraying their audience as the main character of the interactive story. And this will continue to be in practice for the coming few years.

  • Hyperreal Storytelling

Seeing the ongoing development in AR/VR technology and Wearables and unfathomable success of Pokemon Go, mobile app designers have been investing their time and effort into delivering an experience beyond the 24/7 cycle this year.

They have been crafting a visual story that seems more real than reality and makes an individual so immersed that they feel as the core element of the brand story. In this way, they have been putting their best efforts into building a meaningful and long-lasting relationships with their target customers and enjoying loyalty using AR/VR technologies while exploring other innovative possibilities.

  • Data-driven Storytelling

Another trend that everyone have been witnessing in 2019 and expecting in the upcoming years as well is data-driven storytelling.

As depicted by the name, this type of storytelling is helping the brands to share the colossal amount of data they researched and gathered with their audience and build an influence on them, which have been a challenge when presented in the form of text and numbers.

A remarkable example of investing in stories crafted using data is Google Trends’ Lookback Campaign of 2015, where they collected the most valuable search data of the year and presented in the form of a video to grab the attention of a wider audience and build a stronger bond.

  • Real-time Storytelling

Considering the urge of customers to remain updated with everything in real-time, Real-time storytelling based design have also become a fad in the year 2019. This type of storytelling is empowering Entrepreneurs to attract more customers by offering them an opportunity to get a sneak peek of their processes in real-time. For example, the fast food companies are using this storytelling type to let the foodies get into their kitchen, see how food has been cooked, and have small interactions with the chefs in real-time while sitting on their couches at home.

In this way, the introduction of this storytelling type into the design is helping them to add transparency and trustability into the process and increase the conversion rate.

  • Social Impact Storytelling

From Project Syria to VR-experiences showcasing the lives of homeless people and those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, various new projects and initiatives have introduced the social impact storytelling design into their processes to boost empathy for others and encourage viewers to raise funds for them.

As we have covered in this article, investing in the idea of Visual Storytelling for mobile app UI/UX design can bring a plethora of advantages to your brand. But, it is possible only when the right blend of hard work, creativity, innovation, and honesty has been created – something for which you can rely completely upon our UI/UX designers. So, contact our UI/UX design team today!

Pooja Chawla
Pooja Chawla
UI/UX Developer
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