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Visual Storytelling for App UI/UX Design: Key Principles to Do It?

Visual Storytelling for App UI/UX Design: Key Principles to Do It?

Remember those childhood days when your attention used to remain glued to the lips of your story telling grandma until sleep would descend? Well, from the storytellers of our childhood to the history professor in school and his uncanny knack of giving a twist and tinge if storytelling to the known facts and incidents of history, we encounter story at every juncture of life. Even makers of the TV commercials or the political graffiti know it very well and they never let go the chance of telling a story to grab attention. This universal and all encompassing appeal of storytelling is now realized by the UI/UX design services as well.

For the past several years mobile app design has particularly incorporated visual storytelling in a never-before way. Visual storytelling through the mobile UI/UX actually helped branding, app marketing and pushing user engagement. As one of the most popular design and development trends of recent years, visual storytelling deserves all the focus now.

Let us explain the benefits of visual storytelling in UX design and some effective measures of utilizing this principle for UI/UX design and development.

What is Visual Storytelling?

Visual Storytelling

The most straightforward definition of the visual storytelling is what the term implies instantly. It is all about narrating a story through visuals like images, illustrations, graphics, moving photos, infographics and videos. Visual storytelling is capable of making a solid impression in the minds of the audience. The visual story unlike the text of bits or pieces of information accompanied by images can emotionally engage the audience more easily. When created right, visual storytelling can really have solid emotional impact on the audience.

A Brief History of Visual storytelling

Storytelling refers to a really old tradition which is intertwined with the human way of looking at things and interpreting things in a meaningful way. Over the ages, it has been a consistent part of every cultural expression, meaningful human communication and entertainment. Whether you sit around a campfire with your friends and try to describe something vividly or just watch a movie in the theatre, visual storytelling is pretty much everywhere.

From the rock paintings to the ancient carved tablets to the Roman murals to the Persian carpets to the Chinese porcelain artworks to the handwoven Indian clothes with intricately detailed design, storytelling can be spotted pretty much everywhere.

Ever since the computers took over the role of publishing digital contents for the larger audience followed by handheld smartphones, the visual contents went through rapid transformation and today visual storytelling became part and parcel of content strategy for any digital entity.

The Science That Makes Visual Storytelling Work

There is a cliche saying that a picture is worth a thousand words and by going by this principle humans are more attracted to visual stories than narratives without any visual reference. In this respect it is important to understand how visuals impact our perception. Let us mention here some interesting facts related to this.

  • Our brain is more capable to process visual information and 30% of our brain capacity is dedicated to the processing of visual information while only 3% of the brain’s capacity is used for hearing and 8% for touch.

Visual Storytelling Work

  • Our brain is capable to recognise any image as fast as 13 milliseconds compared to much slower perception of verbal contents.

Visual Storytelling Work

  • A whopping 65-80% of people are capable to learn visually than with other types of contents.

Visual Storytelling Work

  • When it comes to the capacity of remembering, we can remember as many as 2000 images with a whopping 90% precision for several days.

Visual Storytelling Work

  • As for the impact of visuals on user experience of apps and web interface the study of Nielsen Norman Group can just show us the positive side. A whopping 79% of web users just see or visually scan web pages and only a mere 16% just read the text contents word-by-word. This implies that even the text content should be visually scannable for an at-a-glance appreciation.

Approaching Visual Storytelling for UX

In the context of User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design or mobile app design, visual storytelling found their natural abode and quickly became integrated with the UI/UX output. As the visual narrative is capable to influence the audience subtly and often beyond the conscious limit of perception, modern UI/UX designers utilized this visual design principle to reap a competitive advantage.

Visual storytelling in the context of UX design is also capable to accompany users in their journey and deliver the optimum user experience. Visual stories narrated and incorporated properly into the user experience design can encourage users to take various on-screen actions ranging from subscribing to a newsletter purchasing an item. The impact of visual storytelling is best seen as a positive boost to decision-making.

Key Principles of Visual Storytelling for UI/UX

Visual Storytelling for UI/UX

Visual storytelling in the UI/UX has already come of age and has been extensively used across websites and mobile apps across the niches. While most of the times, they have been proven as most effective to drive user engagement and business conversion, there has always been room to improve. Considering all the shortcomings and positive aspects, here we are going to explain the key principles of visual storytelling for UI/UX design.

  • Know Your Audience

Ultimately while designing the UI/UX your prime objective is to ensure optimum engagement and garner a better response. This obviously requires knowing your audience, their leanings, preferences and behavior patterns.

  • Easy, Simple, and Interactive

The storytelling must be interactive, simple, and easy to understand. You need to tell a short and sweet story with the simple and instantly recognizable visual elements. An easy, simple, and interactive UI/UX with things like app animations can quickly drive engagement.

  • Make a Robust First Impression

For any digital app the first impression plays the most important role. This is why your visual narrative should be instantly engaging to help users relate without losing any time. Users are always restless and so you need to create a positive impression as soon as you can.

  • Humanise the Storytelling

Don’t forget to incorporate the human element in your visual narrative as most users easily relate to a story when it talks about people and real-life human situations. To encourage users to take an action always ensure humanising the storytelling.

  • Ensure Inducing Positive Emotions

Another important aspect is to create a positive vibe with the visual story. A positive impact created by the visual story incorporated into UI/UX always helps converting more sales and helping you achieve your goal.

  • Use Appropriate Typeface

Another important thing is to use the right typeface along with visuals in your UI/UX design. By choosing the mutually appropriating or perfectly contrasting images and typeface you can deliver a better design. Typeface always helps extending the design impact beyond cliches.

  • Authentic and Audience-Specific

For creating visual stories, you can always use stock images. But stock images create a wrong impression that your contents are not genuine and authentic. Moreover, stock images lack the culture-specific element that can connect your audience. This is why always use authentic images in your visuals.

Wrapping Up

Visual storytelling will continue to have a great influence on modern UI/UX design trends of web and mobile app development. As the competition among digital apps are increasing with no respite and as the users are grossly restless and impatient in behavior, visual narrative in UI/UX design will help apps stand out above the competition.

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Written by Kapil Antala

Kapil Antala is a Design Lead at CMARIX InfoTech, a leading UI/UX Design Services Company with 12+ years experience. Kapil firmly believes that design is an art, which requires scientific execution to bring commercial results. He leads execution of Design Driven Engineering (DDE) at CMARIX for web, mobile and custom software development services.

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