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The benefits of illustration in digital products

By Harrison

Last year I wrote a design forecast of what to expect from the design community in 2018. So I thought why not elaborate on the design elements that are really starting to make some moves.

In a world where design thinking is becoming stronger and more critical in order to positively affect user and customer experience. One area of design, in particular, is getting stronger and more creative every day. 

Illustration has become an important part in all areas of visual and communication design. This is because it compliments content, experience, and memorability of a brand and platform.

Yeah, yeah, but why?

Well, illustrations/drawings are in fact the oldest form of written communication. With some cave drawings discovered to be up to 35,000 years old.

Chauvet Cave, Ardèche, France. Dated to: 30,000 to 28,000 B.C. Source

Researchers have also found that 90% of the information that us humans process are visual. This form of communication wasn’t an accident either, researchers have also concluded that our brain stores two variations of a visual element, one verbal and the other visual. Compared to written, which is just stored as verbal. Through the process of storing a verbal and visual code in two separate parts of our brains when viewing an illustration as a form of communication. It makes it more likely that we can access this information making it easier to remember and actually having an impact. 

So how can illustrations benefit a product or service in 2018?


The list of benefits realistically can go on for days but let’s focus on 3 that I find the best benefits or use cases:

  1. Add delight
  2. Ease of understanding
  3. Identity

Adding delight

Delight within a digital product is something that has gotten a lot of attention within design and user experience in recent times. This term refers to providing users with great pleasure or satisfaction. This element is something that can be achieved quite simply. If successful a brand can build a sense of character surrounding their product as a result. Many brands achieve delight in different ways but two brands that are worth noting is Mailchimp and Asana.


Source: asana board

Currently, both Mailchimp and asana use delightful illustrations in-order to capture a particular moment or experience on their application. Although asana’s example is much more simple, it is an element of delight. This example by Asana displays a little Board Monster that pops out behind cards when successfully moving its location. This is surprise is something that happens randomly and is a subtle example that helps improve memorability.

Mailchimp is an absolute champion when it comes to capturing the importance of a moment through illustration. There are a number of surprises when navigating through their emailing process. The first when you try to send the email to your subscribers. This initial example displays a sweating monkeys hand about to press “that red button”. Then followed by a high five from the same cheeky monkey once the email has sent.


Ease of understanding

Illustrations are a perfect tool to help guide the user in understanding exactly what is going on whether on the platform or in a physical sense. I’m sure we are all familiar with the saying “a picture can say a thousand words”. This saying could not ring truer than this use of illustrations in this case.

Take this onboarding process for example. This app concept by Chapps uses an appealing set of animated illustrations to help the user grasp a better understanding of this new service. They achieve this by creating a nice set of illustrations for every step of the new service which helps the user visualise what they need to do in-order to participate.

Source: Chapps dribbble project


The identity of your brand or product is something that will definitely benefit from well thought out and consistent illustrations. This is an element that will help the user find a brand or service memorable and will ultimately lead the direction of any communication from the brand.

Sometimes there is just something that photography can’t achieve, Illustrations help make the impossible, possible. You can make illustrations as whimsical and fictional as you want, you can use illustrations in an abstract manner – stripped right back to help highlight the actions required on a platform or to highlight the product in its entirety. 



When using illustrations to successfully improve your brand or products identity it has to have a purpose and not distract the user from what’s most important, your product or service. Although a well-executed illustration is is quite decorative, they aren’t there to solely make your product look “cool”. When this design element is chosen, it has to be done in a way to improve the user’s experience (keep this in mind, delight is perfect at this stage).

Source: Bugsnap concept by Robbin Cenijn for ueno.


What now?
If you’re thinking about improving your brand, service, and product with illustration it is easy to lose sight of what you need compared to what you want.
remember it needs to have a clear purpose, relate to the content and ease any friction of understanding. Illustration is a powerful design element and should be considered with all digital products in the future. I salute all that dare to step into the realm of originality and not take the easy path.

I would love to see your product and how illustration has improved the experience, or if you’re thinking about getting illustrations I would love to see what you currently have and want to improve.

We identify problems and gaps in experiences for employees and customers in-order to provide the most effective solution. Want to find out how we can help? Let’s have a chat.

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Did you know this post, along with all our posts are on Medium?

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A real estate chatbot will change your property marketing game – infographic

By Harley

Today I removed around 50 email subscriptions and noticed a pattern – I hardly read them. With chatbot message open rates around 90% on Messenger it got me wondering – why haven’t more companies embraced a chatbot marketing campaign? We’ve got a handful of property clients so I began thinking – how could a property company benefit from a real estate chatbot and where do they fit in? What does one look like?

There are many arms of real estate that we could target. For the scope of this article, we’re going to look at property investment.

Why real estate chatbots though?

A huge part of real estate marketing is lead qualification. 1,000 new daily leads are useless if they do not have the funds to purchase a property, aren’t on the market or simply aren’t interested. A huge part of a property sales rep’s job is to filter through these unqualified, potentially wasteful leads. Prequalification wastes your time and wastes the lead time. So how can we automate it?

Secondly, real estate agents can occasionally get a bad rap for being too pushy and too sales-y – which is where the dehumanisation of a chatbot can come in handy (and be a secret weapon). By removing the human element from the prequalification process we make the process objective and therefore the users are more comfortable giving up information.

Finally – catching a lead outside their comfort zone can start the relationship off poorly. Wouldn’t it be great if we could scale a one to one conversation with thousands of people where they already spend most of their time? I’m talking about Facebook Messenger. In 2015, messaging apps surpassed the daily usage of social platforms.

What does one look like?

Can’t picture a real estate chatbot? That’s OK – we’ve done that for you. In the below infographic, you can see how a typical chatbot campaign might work. The most powerful part of this is that it can happen in Messenger – where we already spend a lot of our time online. Check out the infographic below.


  1. The user sees a Facebook ad
  2. They are directed to a new chat where they already spend all their time
  3. The conversation is engaging and delivers real value
  4. They opt into your broadcast list
  5. You can also collect contact information to follow up with.

What can a real estate chatbot collect?

Prequalification usually centres around a few criteria;

  • What is their timeframe to invest?
  • What are their investment goals?
  • How much do they have to invest?
  • How many properties do they own already?

This is just a small sample of the information that a chatbot can collect to qualify a lead. Contact information is of course collectable – things like email, phone number and address.

All of this can then be delivered to a sales rep to target the hottest leads ensuring that those who they do spend their time on is not a timewaster and has a high chance of becoming a client or customer.

What can you track?

Marketing is a very results-driven industry so it’s important that we’ve got metrics we can track by. Fortunately a guided conversation like this acts very similarly to a conversion funnel. I would argue that chatbot analytics can be more focused and high-resolution than web analytics as each step down the ‘tangent’ can be tracked as a drop-off point. If we see that people aren’t responding after three messages, maybe we’re sending the wrong information? Maybe we’re not offering enough value?

You can also track a slew of other analytics such as;

  • Number of conversations
  • Time spent chatting
  • Number of conversions
  • Conversion %
  • Number of drop-offs
  • Number of escalations to a human
  • Number of times a fallback was activated (bot couldn’t understand)
  • And many more

Is that all?

Certainly not. We are a firm believer that email marketing is dying and chatbots are here to replace them. Every person that opts into your list is now part of you ‘broadcast’ list.

A broadcast list is essentially a subscriber list that you can send short, focused and high-value content to whenever you want. This drops directly into their Messenger Inbox alongside their conversations with friends. These have seen insane open rates of 90%+ and re-engage leads who might have potentially forgotten about your company.

Additionally, you can also subscribe them to ‘sequences’. Sequences are analogous to drip campaigns – pre-set content that is slowly fed to someone to keep engagement going. These can be particularly handy to segment people by interest.

Of course, opting out is always an option for the user. But why would you opt out of the future?

We’re obsessed with chatbots and how they can help companies automate processes that drain resources so they can be better allocated. What sort of problems or processes are killing your time? Chat to Lexi and let us know!

We identify problems and gaps in experiences for employees and customers in-order to provide the most effective solution. Want to find out how we can help? Let’s have a chat.

Chat to us

Did you know this post, along with all our posts are on Medium?