15Jul 2022

Why are Illustrations Important for UX Design?

User experience, commonly denoted as UX design, is a process whose main goal is to create a program that enables an excellent user experience.

The purpose of UX design is to produce simple, effective, useful, and enjoyable user experiences. Illustrations take care of functionality and emotions, assisting in the enhancement of UX design.

Designers use visual representations to assist in communicating the interpretation of complex ideas and concepts. They aid web developers in creating a narrative for users to assist them in making simple decisions. 

Customers find visual content more engaging and intriguing when it comes to marketing and making purchase decisions. UX designers must, therefore, obtain product solutions by knowing the client and user needs.

With illustrations, you can easily improve your site’s UX design by adding value to your products or categories. While designing a user interface, you may get acquainted with a variety of different features, which are justifiable interaction processes that pave the way for better UX/UI design. Other functionalities serve as a communication mechanism between the product and the user at the same time.

Furthermore, these aspects help both developers and designers in creating a story for users to make critical decisions.

This article will go over the advantages of utilizing illustrations for UX designs but first, let us understand what illustrations are.

What is an illustration?

An illustration is a visual representation of a certain topic, text, or process. It seeks to complement, explain, and even enhance the concepts that individuals acquire from the other collection of knowledge, which is usually in the form of text.

An illustration imagines a setting, purpose, and technique. The purpose of communication is the primary distinction between it and pure art.  

Paintings, sketches, graphic arts, and published works of art are examples of illustrations. Illustrations deliver a message and provide information.

Illustrations are created for a myriad of purposes. They are included in a variety of printed media, both dynamic and printed. Furthermore, they successfully serve as decoration, bringing elegance to the media or area in which they are used. 

Etsy is a good example of how eCommerce brands use illustrations to capture and attract users’ attention.

Etsy’s Accessories section with illustrations – Image credit: Etsy com/c/accessories

Types of illustrations for UX Design

Illustrations use different styles and methods to explain information and make interaction clearer between your users and your UX Design. Here are some of the examples of how you can use illustrations for your UX and UI Design;

1. Themes

This art style aids in establishing the tone and overall concept of the app or software. Themes create great visual connections to make the UX emotionally appealing when the user interacts. Furthermore, themes help save the user’s time and energy as they can be installed easily using plugins. They also help create the desired effect on readers, as well as enhance the user experience. 

A theme like Drile will effectively communicate your eCommerce site’s offering, leading to improved sales conversions.

Drile furniture theme for WooCommerce & WordPresss – Image credit: Themeforest.net

2. Rewards

Another well-known type of UI illustration is rewards. Badges, stickers, diamonds, trophies, and other items of that kind incorporate gamification into the user experience and track their progress. Amazon uses such illustrations to invite and attract their customers to shop with them.

Reward illustrations by Amazon – Image credit: Amazon.com

3. On boarding

The idea of onboarding originated in the realms of human resources and employment and applied to UX Designs. It handles a few strategies and steps that help newbies to learn how the interface’s functionalities work.

Furthermore, it is launched whenever new upgrades and features are released or when consumers engage with an unusual functionality.

4. Entertainment

UX graphics are frequently intended to entertain users, even if they have little to do with performance. Nonetheless, it does govern aesthetic fulfillment and sentiments directly. After all, elegance, attractiveness, and pure enjoyment could be trustworthy components in retaining users.

5. Tutorials

These UX drawings show the visual cues. They engage the descriptive possibilities, with the primary goal of explaining or motivating specific functions. This type of graphic makes the UX more user-friendly for people who can’t read the prose or don’t like it.

They function exceptionally well in mobile interfaces with a limited screen area. It also means that the most microscopic picture features should not be addressed in order to avoid causing confusion. Tutorials are an excellent idea for apps geared towards addressing children and teenagers.

Adobe uses incredible illustrations in its tutorials, with patterns and icons, making it easy for learners to understand the concept, polish their skills, and create seamlessly.

Tutorial illustration by Mailchimp – Image credit: Helpx.adobe.com/illustrator

6. Mascots

Acodie – the own mascot of Acodez

They serve as the interface’s go-between since they have been personified. Mascots can make a significant difference in the atmosphere and tone of an app or website.

Sometimes they serve as a figurative face for a product. The symbolic quality of these visuals makes them notable: they live on in the encounter. At Acodez, we have a mascot named Acodie, and this website is themed with Acodie on every page – in various forms and emotions.

When to use illustrations

a. To make data visually appealing

Individuals react to visual information quicker than almost any other sort of data. Visual analytics using illustration is an excellent approach to combine your brand style with data that your users can understand.

b. To narrate a tale

Animated characters and scenes are beneficial in taking consumers on an exciting and educational journey. Illustrations, either used in onboarding or to lend meaning to an icon, can assist lead a user through an encounter

c. To express an abstract idea

When developing something revolutionary, for instance, the appropriate imagery may not exist. An illustration is far more successful at expressing abstract or intellectual information than it does at conveying actuality.

d. To add character

You can play around with the shades, size, styles, and designs of a vector illustration to suit your tastes and add a little flair. Adding individuality to your graphics will build your brand’s connection with customers and make your website distinctive. In fact, this is actually an important part of the overall customer experience.

Importance of using illustrations for UX Designs

1. Visual triggers

Often individuals comprehend graphics better than text. Designers can use this powerful feature to improve the visual efficiency of website designs. According to Henry Dreyfuse, an industrial engineer, photos are less exposed when combined with adjacent and background components, whilst words are heavily reliant on legibility.

When people from different countries use apps or websites, visuals in the user interface (UI) can make it more international. As a result, this rationale has a strong link with drawings. Colors, characters, distinguishable features, and layout will quickly alert the user and reinforce the written message.

2. Emotional appeal

We are emotional beings, and our shopping decisions are no exception. Various apps and websites are improving user experience. They restructure the criteria hierarchy to include an exclusive top tier with fun, enjoyment, and pleasure. A user interface (UI) can make you joyful by assisting you in completing a difficult activity.

Everything you put into the graphics has a profound effect on human emotions. By studying behavioral patterns and elements that influence emotional appeal, UX designers can produce images that are a powerful tool for correlating user engagement with feelings from the beginning of encounters. Illustrations have a huge impact on sparking emotions.

Generating an emotion around your goods will allow consumers to connect with your brand and do business with you. Illustrations have the ability to express powerful emotions that your brand symbolizes.

3. Creating brand recognition and awareness

Visuals, as opposed to words, have a greater impact on long-term memory. The impression is enhanced when the images are instructive, produced in accordance with the aspirations of the intended audience, and adhere to a standard design concept.

This approach renders graphics incredibly helpful in generating a recognizable interface design and promotes the branding of a  website. And it is for this reason that illustrations are commonly used in onboarding. 

For instance, Shopify uses unique, user-friendly illustrations in the form of cartoons, enabling site visitors to identify with the platform’s product and service offerings easily. It’s an effective onboarding tactic.

Cartoon illustration by Shopify – Image credit: ux.shopify.com

Visual analytics using illustration is an excellent approach to combine your brand style with data that your users can understand. You can use a logo maker to create professional logos and attach it to your illustrations.

4. Storytelling

Because great graphics may maintain user attention for an extended period of time, they can serve as a kind of storytelling. Designers can employ interactive drawings in UX design to motivate people to join up.

When it comes to motivating consumers to subscribe, designers need to comprehend the content and see a visual rather than read about it. Illustrations may easily teach users how to use an app while entertaining them at the same time.

5. Originality and uniqueness

Graphics provide a touch of originality and a sense of style to a user interface in this competitive market. It is critical to stand out. People will not want to try your goods if it is not appealing to them. This is why many businesses use illustrations as cover photos on their landing pages, reviews, and blog posts.

In this case, developers can change the designs to reflect the preferences of their intended audience and align them with the commercial principles or goals behind a certain topic or project. This aids in the discovery of intriguing colors and patterns, symbolism, environments, and personalities that would effectively attract a specific group of users. Illustrations provide personality to a UX and help firms become distinctive. 

6. Aesthetic value

Illustrations, in addition to their great functionality, add aesthetic value to the design. The Innate human yearning for beauty and delight remains undefeated. Yes, productivity and efficiency are the cornerstones of any interface. 

However, attractiveness is an appealing façade that draws the public’s attention to your brand’s product, helps them like using it, and gets them to want to use it repeatedly and feel thrilled while doing so.

Illustrations are a tried-and-true technique to achieve this goal since they offer artistry, design, and elegance to your interface. A website that is practical and user-friendly, with illustrations that symbolize your products, will definitely sell.

7. Effective support to the copy in web interface

Graphics effectively support the copy used in the web or mobile interface. As previously stated, visuals are often a more general tool of communication than a copy. Even so, there are a few potential pitfalls to be aware of. 

The speed of perception may not be the only element we require: individuals can recognize graphics really quickly; however, if the information they convey is unclear or could be double-read, the efficiency will not result in a great user experience. 

Quick collecting of visuals that results in incorrect comprehension is not recognition; it is simply fast noticing. Not only does recognition imply rapidity, but it also implies the correct action or information that the visual element should provide to the user.

 Therefore, if you do want to prevent confusion or incorrect correlations, keep your visual representation instantly evident.

8. Sense of humor

Because designers must expend considerable effort in order to facilitate user contact, subtle humor that expresses emotions behind words cannot fail to please. This can benefit designers when it comes to user maintenance.

Designers can employ amusing and interactive images to represent a successful transaction, an error page, or anything else that is necessary. Illustrations assist designers in reducing the negative aspects of the UX by providing the much-needed levity that can save the day and even add depth to otherwise dull but inevitable pages.

9. Simple and fast message transfer

Users will ignore a website or application that starts with nothing but text. Illustrations also perform more effectively in long-term memory, guaranteeing that your clients recall more about your business than reading.

Customized graphics, such as iconography and pictures, can greatly enhance the interface’s simple and accurate navigation. This feature is critical, and it is the primary reason for turning everything into images and labeling content groups with visual signals. 

Nevertheless, keep in mind that if by any chance the images will be decoded incorrectly or not at all, they will require extra copy content support. Usability testing will be extremely useful in determining which parts are completely clear and which have to be clarified with text.

Common resources for illustrations

Even though you’re not a digital artist, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the potential provided by UI illustrations. The tools listed below will assist you in telling your tale, allowing users to interact with your product and improving your design skills:

  • Ouch – These illustrations offer an extensive library of graphics for designers to use to grade up any layout or creative job. These different graphics are specifically made to enable your designs to look beautiful and support people in any product you provide, whether you are a professional designer or simply wanting to spice up your project. From brightly coloured bold to minimalist monochrome, you will undoubtedly find something to fit your design scheme here
  • Design Vectors – A personalized illustration may be required for your website or app. The quickest way to obtain it if you’re not an artist is by the use of a vector creator. 
  • Lunacy– This is software filled with smart features to help you become a great designer is another option to easily integrate illustrations and other types of imagery into your interface designs. With a plethora of fantastic icons, photographs, and graphics pre-installed, this toolkit is a refreshing change of pace from normally difficult asset management.

Things to put into consideration

Undoubtedly, it is hard to please each user and every current cognitive scheme, but here are a few general features of graphic design that must be considered before applying the illustrations;

  • The intended audience

When selecting the appropriate illustrations, it is important to consider your targeted audience; know the image context, and the group of people this product is intended for. 

Ensure the illustrations are relevant and create the appropriate emotion. You may test your graphics with your users in the same way you would any other aspect in your designs to ensure you get it correctly.

  • Stick to your brand’s requirements

Consistency contributes to excellence in practically everything we undertake. Adhere to any company standards you have when determining what type of illustrations work best to suit your projects. 

Alternatively, you can choose a design that reflects your users and develop basic rules that highlight what to do and what not to do. For instance, If choosing stock photos, you would like to ensure that you’ll be able to find a similar style in the future. This is where discovering picture collections can help to maintain uniformity.

Do not be afraid to repurpose and recycle! You can utilize illustrations for anything as provided you have the legal rights and vice versa.

Final thoughts

Illustrations are a powerful tool that adds passion, beauty, and storytelling to whatever message they convey. The use of illustrations for UX Design is an excellent approach to enhance the beauty, emotion, and clarity of your mobile app. 

This practice enhances user experience by creating a more cheerful atmosphere, establishing a more personal connection between a company and its customers, and smoothing out a poor encounter.

Choosing the appropriate illustrations for your design may make or ruin it. When used correctly, graphics can increase user experience, establish a brand’s identity, and create a loyal link with people.

However, if not carefully considered, illustrations can communicate the wrong information and have long-term negative impacts on your eCommerce site conversions. Therefore, it is critical to make deliberate judgments about when and how to incorporate illustrations into your designs, as well as test their usefulness along the way. Never utilize imagery solely for its aesthetic value.

Acodez is a leading UX agency in India, having experience working with a variety of clients, ranging from leading corporate houses to one-man start-ups, from across the globe. We also are a leading web design company in India, where we handle every aspect of a web project, starting from UX, to UI development, to back-end development to content development and digital marketing.

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Rajeesh PK

Rajeesh PK

Rajeesh P.K. is the Director and Creative Head at Acodez . With an experience of 10+ years in UX Design & User Interface Design, when coupled with his expert coding skills in HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript, makes him one of the top UX Architects in India, with more than 15 international awards to his credit.

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