Our digital commons are saturated with content. Can your brand’s voice rise above the clutter?

Gone are the days of “set it and forget it,” at least when it comes to bringing a new product to market. Even if your business offers top-of-the-industry quality, today’s internet users are inundated with content that may steal their attention away from your product. The tyranny of choice reigns, so it’s up to you to convince your target audience why your brand offers them something truly unique.

In order to take their narrative into their own hands, digitally-savvy businesses, news outlets, and organizations are turning to UX design to tell their stories on their own terms. Visual storytelling empowers you to build user experiences from the ground up, allowing you to influence how consumers understand your brand or project from start to finish.

To help you get a sense of UX design’s true storytelling potential, we rounded up seven of our favorite visual storytelling experiences that truly stand out from the pack.

1. One Ocean — The UN Development Programme

With the gentle sound of lapping waves playing in the background and intuitive site navigation inviting further exploration, this L&T original centers around the stories of local communities who rely on a clean ocean to survive. The United Nations Development Programme’s “One Ocean” project promotes sustainable development to benefit the four out of every ten people who are fed from the sea, and to protect the rich biodiversity of the world’s oceans. The UN — wanting to keep the focus on those fighting to protect their families, livelihoods, and environments — opted for a minimalist design that lets the stories of three fishermen from across the globe shine front and center.

2. Millennials Are Screwed — Highline

It’s a scary, complicated time to be seeking entry-level employment, and, for millennials, a volatile global economy and patchy social safety net have raised the stakes. This long-form article from Highline, a division of HuffPost, tackles the financial issues plaguing millennials with a UX design that couches dire messaging in compelling, timely graphics. By evoking a style reminiscent of the 16-bit video games familiar to 20- and 30-somethings from their childhoods, “Millenials Are Screwed” meets its audience where they are, making a time-intensive read ultimately worth every minute.

3. Go Places — Heineken

Who says that UX design can only benefit potential customers? Heineken created an interactive experience for job seekers that outpaces the traditional career board by miles. “The Interview,” a choose-your-own-adventure video that asks you to answer questions about your work and personal habits, eventually gives you a character type that links to related positions within the company. This design gets high marks by making applicants feel like they’re in on the fun.

4. Your Beyond Awaits — Mitsubishi Motors

For its Outlander PHEV, Mitsubishi created a UX site that chronicles the travels of drivers from Paris, France, to Bergen, Norway. Integrated videos capture the passengers exploring the Scandinavian coast in kayaks and wandering German forests in search of the perfect landscape photo. Bringing users along for the ride — thanks to breathtaking natural cinematography — makes this design one of our favorites.

5. The Law of the Jungle — Disney’s The Jungle Book

Disney’s 2016 live-action reimagining of The Jungle Book was a box office smash hit and a critics’ favorite. To promote the movie, Disney created an immersive UX design that steeps visitors in the lush world in which the film takes place. A dramatic score greets visitors, while captivating visuals featuring choice scenes from the movie plunge the viewer into the action. For anyone who might have shrugged off the remake, this site goes above and beyond your typical promotional experience, piquing the audience’s curiosity with the same strategies the film uses to charm and ensnare.

6. 52 Places to Go in 2018 — The New York Times

When the year’s hard-hitting headlines become too much to take, the New York Times travel site “52 Places to Go in 2018” offers an enticing escape — whether you’re just daydreaming or ready to book your next trip. Thanks to intuitive scrolling navigation, destinations come alive with geographic locations illuminated on world maps and mini-articles detailing must-see stops in each city and region. If the goal is to inspire some serious wanderlust, this UX design has done the trick.

7. The Museum of Mario — IGN

IGN, a trusted news source for video games, designed a UX homage to everyone’s favorite Italian plumber (sorry, Luigi!). The site features easy scrolling functionality, while hidden interactive features allow you to click on various elements to liven up the experience. With original music from Mario games going back decades, this design brings the history of a global phenomenon to life. Don’t blame us if you end up bringing your old N64 out of storage.

If the potential of UX design speaks to you and your organization, consider attending L&T’s February 22nd, 2018 panel in New York City’s Financial District. We’ll explore user experience and interface as drivers of visual storytelling, and discuss their role in a changing media landscape. Register now!

Author Jake Dawe

Jake works with our clients and L&T's content management team to create and publish cogent, effective marketing content. A recent graduate of Yale University with a B.A. in American Studies, Jake pursued independent research that traced the evolving voice of ``Shouts and Murmurs`` over ninety years. When he's not writing and editing, Jake is probably watching The Crown or making up for four years of lost pleasure reading. Thanks, college.

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