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Today 25% of downloaded apps are used only once. Chances are, that if you look at your phone you’ll probably find at least 3 apps that just take up of your screen’s real estate and you haven’t deleted yet.

A lot of money and energy is spent just to make you download an app. However, that’s only half of the battle. Turning those download numbers into actual engaged users is the next most important step. This is where the onboarding experience comes in, as if you want people to use your app, they need to understand it.

The first contact can lead to success only when you’re well prepared. The term onboarding literally means helping newcomers quickly adapt to the new conditions so that they could perform well. Graphic designer agencies and mobile app design, in general, took the idea together with the term. In UX design, onboarding is the short process of comforting users and give them the initial introduction of the product.

When creating the mobile app onboarding experience you need to set a clear visual hierarchy on the screen. Before you start, think of how often you read the instructions when you buy something new. You almost never do, right. This can only show you that users are rarely ready to devote their precious time to learn a new product before starting to interact with it.

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Onboarding not only introduces your mobile app to users but it could be a great engagement tool as well. Best-designed onboarding tutorials engage consumers by making them want to try more of the app’s features. Humans are mostly visually and aesthetically driven. That’s why it’s essential to create a beautifully harmonious experience that makes them like our app from the very first second.

Keep on reading if you want to find out some great tips by skilled graphic designers on how to create engaging illustrations for mobile app onboarding.


Usually, there are 3 or four screens applied for onboarding. That’s completely enough to give an insight into the functions and benefits of an app without making the stage too long. It also helps boost usability right away. 

Introduce only the basic functionalities. That way you’ll help people remain focused throughout the process. Also, make sure they’re able to opt-out of it at any point along the way. 


Big amounts of text during onboarding (or anywhere else) can be an instant turn off for consumers. Keep in mind that people learn by doing.  Provide them with an interactive app experience. This interactivity gives users the ability to complete the gestures they need to lean and flow seamlessly into the mobile app experience.

Storytelling through illustrations 

The storytelling approach is highly effective in marketing and user experience design. By uniting different blocks of information you can create a story to make them more memorable and set a strong connection between parts.

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Building an original character that shows the story, sets the atmosphere and share your message is another great option. This can present the app’s benefits in a way that corresponds to its mood and voice.

Set an Emotional Appeal

When creating for human, you need to keep in mind that we’re all emotional creatures. The best user interface won’t just help you to complete a task, but will also put a smile on your face while doing it. 

The most effective way you can achieve that is with illustrations. Every part of them, like shapes or colors, could have a significant impact on igniting emotions. Implementing the right illustrations in your mobile app’s onboarding experience can be a powerful way to connect it to user emotion from the first second of interaction.

Illustrations can transfer your message and mood, to create the atmosphere needed before the user actually starts using the mobile app. Furthermore, it gives it a recognizable, unique look.

Grow Brand Awareness

Images stick better in long-term memory. As we mentioned in our last point custom illustrations can make the app easily recognizable. If they are informative and designed especially for the target audience and their expectations their impact will surely grow even more. Illustrations are highly effective in building a recognizable user interface design that supports mobile app branding.

When users first start interacting with a mobile app, they set goals, they’d like to achieve with its help. You can add illustrations within the very first screens so that these potential goals are visualized in an original manner. This also makes interactions way more user-friendly as the app actually seems to understand the users’ needs.


With the growing number of mobile apps out there, it’s crucial to stand out. Otherwise, people might not even try to understand the benefits of your app. If this can’t make you turn to illustrations, we don’t know what can.

Onboarding illustrations easily set the tone of your mobile app and what users should expect from it. However, to successfully keep their attention they have to be original. This includes finding interesting metaphors, color schemes and characters that appeal effectively on your target audience. Illustrations can differentiate you from your competitors and help for an authentic user interface.

Be Careful

We already mentioned above that pictures are a much better way of communicating that copy. Of course, there are also some pitfalls you might like to consider carefully. The speed of perception is important, as the onboarding process is short, but it’s not the only thing you need.

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The illustration can be perceived very fast but if the message is not clear enough, they could be double-read, which will result in the opposite of achieving higher engagement. Recognition should mean not only speed but getting the right information, that the visual element is supposed to bring to the user.

 If you want to achieve higher engagement and better user experience through illustrations, make them clear to avoid wrong associations.   

Final Thoughts

The first impression is crucial for the use of your mobile app. Onboarding is a great way to introduce its useful functionalities and show users why they need it. Digital illustrations improve user experience and boost engagement rates. That’s why we’ve shared some handy tips on how to use them to achieve the best and most engaging onboarding experience.

Make your mobile app recognizable and user-friendly. Try using these tips and you might be surprised by the impact the smallest changes can make.