Visual Storytelling in UX design

Mike Daskalov
3 min readSep 27, 2021


How to use Visual storytelling as a way to boost user experience.

Storytelling is arguably the oldest form of attention-grabbing activity we have been engaged in as a species, right alongside playing games. People are captivated by stories and not surprisingly, want to follow through. Everyone can relate to a good story and even if we’re not experts there are certain queues we recognize and expect out of a good story.

The most famous story frame, The Hero’s Journey, has come to define much of the recreational material we consume, from movies to video games and books so we are taught to expect a big payoff after the protagonist completes a feat of courage and goes over the big hurdle. Having this in mind, we cannot ignore the storyline queues we all have ingrained in us and we should start using them when we’re designing a user journey.

There are a few parts we need to take into consideration and these are based on Aristotle’s seven pillars of good storytelling.

  1. PlotWhat are users trying to achieve/overcome?
  2. CharacterWho are the users: not just demographically, but what they (and their needs) are truly like?
  3. ThemeHow can you establish a reliable and believable scenario? How will you reflect the overall obstacles users must overcome?
  4. Dialogue/DictionWhat will your design say to users and how? Does a formal/informal tone match their expectations? How much text is appropriate and what kind of imagery?
  5. MelodyHow will the overall design pattern appear pleasant and predictable to users, moving them emotionally?
  6. DécorHow will you present everything so the graphics match the setting the users can sense? Would a classic design or stylized, niche layout meet their expectations?
  7. SpectacleHow can you make your design outstanding so users will remember it?

There is a lot to take into consideration but when you have all these elements working in harmony it will fall into place for your users, giving them a memorable experience worth sharing!

How does the Visual imagery fall into storytelling besides the décor? Visual storytelling is telling the user what they need to know, not what they want to hear. Use animation, info graphs, video, gifs to help tell your story. To give a simple example, a picture of someone using your app and being excited or looking proud in sporty clothes immediately shows people that using this app makes you achieve your goals! Would describing how someone feels have the same effect? Definitely not!

  • The human brain is fine-tuned for processing visual information, and dedicates 30% of the cortex to visual processing, compared with 8% for touch and 3% for hearing.
  • The brain can identify images after as little as 13 milliseconds, far less time than it takes us to recognize and interpret a verbal cue.
  • 65–80% of us learn better visually.
  • Humans remember pictures incredibly well. In fact, we can remember 2,000 pictures with 90% accuracy over several days.

Use visual storytelling while designing your user experience if you want to relay a clear message to your users. A picture is worth a thousand words after all.


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