Best Practices for Creating Great Visuals on Your Employee App

Best Practices for Creating Great Visuals on Your Employee App

Last updated on May 24, 2022 at 04:14 pm

Creating amazing visuals for your employee app is an important part of driving engagement with your content. And that’s because we are literally wired to process images better than text. According to the Visual Teaching Alliance

  • The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text
  • The sense of a visual scene can be felt in less than 1/10 of a second 

A picture really is worth a thousand words. But not all images are created equal. You’ve experienced this while scrolling through social media. Some images are just way more compelling than others, right? Think about what you’re drawn to. Videos? High-quality images (looking at you, National Geographic)? Gifs? Memes and humor? 

When creating images for internal communication, a lot of the same tactics that work for social media can work for your employee audience. To help you get started, I’m sharing my six tips for making great employee app visuals. But keep in mind, you can use these same best practices on all your channels.  

Tip 1: Use Quality Images

When posting to your app or any of your channels, you always want to make sure your images are large enough to use in the digital space you are placing them. If your image is too small and you enlarge it to fit the size requirement, your post will look pixelated. Pixelated images look blurry or grainy. This can cheapen or make your post look unprofessional.

blurry employee app image beside a high-quality image

Tip 2: Avoid Using Generic Templates

I am not saying to not use a template, but I do recommend that if you do, make sure you have a way to make customize your template for each post. 

If you have an employee of the month post use a photo of the employee versus a generic clip art graphic you found online. This will be more engaging and will get more clicks on your post. Generic thumbnails that don’t stand out will most likely be scrolled past.

generic employee app content template

Stock Canva Template

stylized employee app content template

Customized Version of the Same Canva Template

Tip 3: Make Your PDFs Stand Out

Our clients share a lot of PDFs to get information to their teams. Whether that’s a newsletter, a checklist, an employee handbook, or other instructions, there are a lot of times that you’ll need to design PDFs.

Rather than writing your content in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and saving it as a PDF, elevate your PDFs to the next level. With pre-made templates in Canva or Google Slides, you are never on your own when it comes to making visually stunning PDFs. 

But why is it important to make these look appealing? A few reasons: 

  1. When you hold yourself to your company brand standards even for internal documents, you create a stronger sense of brand identity for employees. This helps create stronger alignment between what an employee reads internally with what they see on social media.
  2. A well-designed PDF makes it easier to draw attention to important calls to action.
  3. A thoughtfully designed document is easier to read and looks more professional. This reflects well on you and helps employees get to the key points of your message.

generic vs. designed pdfs

Tip 4: Keep Brand Guidelines in Mind

There’s a reason your marketing team are sticklers about branding. Using consistent fonts, formats, colors, and tone helps people recognize your brand and even understand what you stand for. And we think there’s real power in aligning internal comms with external. 

Think of the employee journey with your company. Each employee applied to work for you and saw all kinds of external messages. They’ve been to your website and social media platforms. And all of that external content is carefully curated with brand standards.

When internal comms doesn’t use that branding and guidelines internally, that experience on your communication channels can feel disjointed from what they’ve previously experienced. Not to mention, holding yourself to using certain colors, fonts, and styles creates a beautiful and professional-looking in-app experience.

So, if nothing else, try to do the following:

  1. Keep your fonts consistent. Don’t use more than three fonts, and whenever possible try to use your brand fonts. 
  2. Be consistent with your logo use. Your marketing team will love you forever if you follow their guidelines for how to use the logo.
  3. Have fun with color, but don’t go crazy. Again, we think that using your brand colors internally is a great way to create cohesion across your company. But if you choose to use different colors, follow brand best practices and pick roughly three primary colors (PRO TIP: You can also use shades of your primary colors). 

Tip 5: Use Video 

Video is a great content medium on apps. They are great for conveying information and controlling the tone of your messages and people are used to consuming videos on their mobile devices already. 

When you make videos, you don’t have to worry about them looking hyper-professional. Your audience will actually relate to a non-polished video compared to a stuffy, corporate one because it feels more authentic. And it’s a win-win because that saves you money on fancy equipment and software and time.

My three big tips for videos are:

  1. Get to know your audience and what they want before filming. 
  2. Keep phone orientation in mind when filming. Some videos work better selfie-style (like TikTok) but some need to be horizontal (like for your website).
  3. Don’t forget to choose or make a thumbnail for your video. We’ve all seen videos where the thumbnail is stuck on someone making a silly face or of just a black screen. If you want people to engage, you need an engaging thumbnail. You can choose a compelling frame from your video or you can even make one from scratch.

Tip 6: Take Advantage of Free Tools

Clip Art and low-quality images from google are not your friends. Luckily, there are A TON of free/inexpensive tools out there that can help you source high-quality images, edit content/graphics, and more. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Canva: Content creation/editing (P.S. this comes with background removing capabilities and other ways to modify images)
  2. Raw Pixel: Content creation/editing
  3. Unsplash: stock image library
  4. Free Pik: stock image library
  5. Creative Commons: stock image library 
  6. Mixkit: Stock video and images
  7. Pixel Hunter: Free image resizing tool

theEMPLOYEEapp Visual Support

We know that you wear many hats as an internal communication professional…graphic designer is sometimes one of them. But without time or training, creating your employee app (or intranet/email) graphics can be stressful. That’s why we provide our clients with basic templates to get started in addition to our consultative services where we walk through all the strategies that will help you be successful in launching an app.

But the real secret sauce for making content visuals is to learn what your audience responds to. Just like with social media, one size does not fit all. Your employees might love pictures of other employees. They might love animated gifs. They might love thumbnails that include all the relevant information on them. You just won’t know until you ask and test!

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