How to Create Engaging App Interfaces Using Visual Content

June 1, 2023

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Visual content is just as important to building a quality app as text content. It’s the intuitive interface that simplifies the user journey during the interaction. Minimalistic design and human-centricity will always remain the main ways to ensure user loyalty.

It’s important to keep track of current trends in UI/UX application development to come up with a successful content strategy. Depending on the business area where the app is used, points of interaction with it vary.



The Role of Visual Content in Mobile Apps

Visual content attracts attention and makes textual information easier for users to comprehend. Moreover, audiovisual elements in content help efficiently memorize information. Mobile apps can use:

  • Illustration
  • Photo
  • Video
  • Animation and 3D animation
  • Icons
  • Infographics
  • Data visualization
  • Text visualization

An important condition is that the interface should not be overloaded with visual elements, as this creates an excessive cognitive load for the user.

This is especially important for mobile apps since the small size of the display requires maximum attention to visual elements. “Color chaos” and an abundance of fuzzy graphical elements may result in users deleting such an app shortly after installation.

Tips for Creating a User-Friendly Mobile App Design:

  • Establish a consistent color scheme;
  • Use legible fonts to reduce cognitive load for users;
  • Make navigation menus, buttons, icons, pop-ups, and other elements extremely clear, using contrasting fonts and frames (if necessary).

If the developer uses text as a visual element, it’s important to use short, well-structured paragraphs and large or bold headings, with lots of empty space between them. Also, the color of the font should be well-perceived by users.

Overall, a user-friendly mobile app design requires a balance between visual elements and usability, making it easy for users to interact with the app and retain information.



5 Effective Ways to Visualize Apps

Visual content in a mobile app can be applied to these types of user interfaces:

  • Graphical interface;
  • Command line interface;
  • Voice interface;
  • Touchscreen interface;
  • Augmented reality interface;
  • Gesture-based interface.

For each of the types, visual components are needed to attract attention to the main functions of the mobile app, not to distract from them.

1. Photography

A quality stock photo, or if you’re talking about a specific brand app, a picture of a product or service, is a great opportunity to grab user attention. They can be used to make the story more informative, enlightening, and appealing to users.

Here are a few ideas on how you can use photos in an application:

  • Creating a digital collage with photos applying different visual effects as background for your text;
  • Applying various visual effects, e.g., flipping, rotating, or cropping;
  • Overlaying photos on various shapes;
  • Changing the brightness or shading of images.

Of course, when it comes to a corporate app of a particular brand, you can use not only stock photos but also organize your own photo shoots. It can become part of your advertising campaign or a presentation of your specific brand product/service.



2. Icons

High-quality icons are a navigation element necessary for the simplest and most convenient interaction with the app. In some way, they can be considered “the face of the app,” therefore, they should always be unique, eye-catching, and memorable.

Such graphical elements are supposed to perform the following functions:

  • Convenient arrangement of information;
  • Help users navigate inside the app;
  • Decorative functions;
  • Visual communication.

Icons are often key elements in navigational app structures and “set the rhythm” of the entire app. And if we are talking about a corporate brand application, the company logo can well be used to create a unique icon design.

So how do you design icons? Here are a few tips:

  • The size should be user-friendly (864 x 864 pixels by default);
  • Your app icons should be automatically scaled for different gadgets;
  • Make sure the icons do not contain a large number of small elements to avoid visual “noise”;
  • The icons should be vivid and clearly visible in both light and dark interface styles.

Also, the design of the icons should not only be unique but also easily recognizable. Your brand’s logo and corporate color scheme can also be used here.



3. Illustrations

Like photos, branded illustrations can also be a great way to create an engaging story for your readers. How to properly use this visual element in mobile app development? Read on to find out:

  • Use unique illustrations. For a mobile app, it’s important that the illustrations match the “soul” of the brand;
  • Depending on the overall style of the app, use the appropriate type of graphics. These can be flat, strict, or even brutal patterns, 3D graphics, glowing with extreme realism expressed in their volume and depth;
  • Create a set of illustrations for the light and dark themes (if used).

Another way to use illustrations in mobile app development is to showcase specific features or functionalities of the app, such as automotive engineering consulting services for an app focused on car maintenance and repair. This can help educate users on the app’s capabilities and attract them to use it for their needs.

All in all, you want to make sure your illustrations have a distinctive design and perfectly match the style and mood of the app.



4. Animations

2D and 3D animation is a type of interactive content that increasingly attracts and retains people’s attention. The use of dynamic content also facilitates perception compared to static images accompanied by text descriptions.

Here’s how you can use animation in mobile apps:

  • Animated buttons and icons. Such elements make user interaction simple and clear;
  • To increase your app’s recognition and brand coverage, you can animate your company logo;
  • Responsiveness to user commands. This simplifies interaction with your app’s interface and, therefore, provides a pleasant user experience.

Incorporating animation into a mobile app is a time-consuming process since there are OS requirements that must be met. Plus, just like your app’s navigation, its animation must also be intuitively understood.

Additional requirements for animated content include:

  • The same pace of movement throughout the entire app. For example, if certain elements move slowly, abrupt “spikes” can lead to user dissatisfaction or negative feedback in the app store.
  • Conscientiousness and purposefulness. The animation should have a specific purpose of use, such as simplified navigation, drawing attention, simplified data perception, etc.
  • Animated content should make it easy for all users to interact with the app.

Simply put, the main function of animated content is to visualize the interaction of the user with the mobile app. For example, if a button gets bigger or changes color after being clicked, the user knows that the app is reacting correctly.

In this way, users can learn how to use the app and all of its functions.



5. Infographics

Infographics are the clearest and most concise way of delivering information. Compared to regular illustrations, this visual type of content is more explanatory.

The advantages of using infographics are as follows:

  • Reduced time to deliver complex data to users;
  • Facilitated process of information memorizing;
  • Schematic explanation of complex phenomena or operations;
  • Increased degree of user involvement.

You can choose from various digital tools and software solutions to create high-quality infographics, for example:

  • Canva is a free graphic design platform that offers 100+ types of image styles and 250,000+ pre-made templates;
  • io is an online service developed to help designers create diagrams and charts. It can also be used to create UML models, mind maps, and business layouts.

Make sure your infographics include visual cues for users, as well as separate fields and simple boxes to present organized groups. In diagrams, use footnotes with percentages or other types of ratios.


Proper use of visual content is necessary to ensure that users have an informative and enjoyable experience with your app. If we’re talking about the “pay-to-play” type of app, this means increased brand reach and customer retention.

About the author

Roy Emmerson is a passionate technology enthusiast with a deep interest in software development. In addition to being a skilled programmer at a custom software company, he is also a loving father of twins who inspire him to stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements

Roy Emmerson

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