Have you ever wondered, why some website just catch your interest on the spot and makes you naturally scroll through them? While others can make you sleep out of boredom and you cannot wait to press the close tab right away? Well, one of the prominent reasons behind that psychological impact is the optimal utilization of visual hierarchy in web design.
A visual hierarchy can be said as a design principle used to guide and give the user experience based on how we subconsciously think how things should flow. Understanding and utilizing visual hierarchy is important because it enables the user to understand what the designers (us) are aiming for, thus giving a more pleasurable and effortless experience for the user.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of visual hierarchy for web design and how to implement it in your website.
Table Of Contents
- Color & Contrast
- Size & Scale
- Reading Pattern
- Negative Space
- Typography & Style
- Repetition & Proximity
Visual hierarchy in web design can be used to enhance the effectiveness of your page. On one side, visual hierarchy in web design can help you to guide your users on which part of your page they have to focus on. On the other hand, implementing visual hierarchy in web design will help your audience find what they need on your page.
If you’ve seen a catchy website where you can surf easily through any tabs, that website must have utilized a good practice of visual hierarchy. From the placement of the website logo, the color of the tabs, and the difference in sizes of each heading, they’re all part of the visual hierarchy for web design.
Why Visual Hierarchy in Web Design Is Crucial
The implementation of visual hierarchy in web design is crucial for several reasons:
Visual hierarchy can enhance the usability of your page; Enabling your user to skim through your website easily and find what they need. Especially when your website has a lot of content.
Visual hierarchy in web design will also improve the readability of the important information on your website by using factors such as colors, size, and weight.
Better user experience means longer retention and session duration. This means that implementing visual hierarchy in your web design can also aid your domain’s authority. Moreover, a good usage of visual hierarchy for a web design will make the website more engaging and appealing.
Ultimately, the purpose of our website is to convert into revenue. Visual hierarchy can assist us in this matter because we’ll be able to guide the user to take a desired action such as clicking the “purchase” button and so on – hence the improvement in conversion.
To use an effective and efficient visual hierarchy in your web design, there is a set of principles you can use. Implementing this will guarantee that your website will have a better flow, appeal, and overall user experience.
The first cardinal principle in implementing visual hierarchy for your web design is color and contrast. Color and contrast are powerful tools you can utilize to emphasize buttons, messages, hyperlinks, and many more. Furthermore, color can be used to establish a brand identity on which your users can remember your website.
In addition to that, contrast, combined with text size and other elements can be used to create a visual hierarchy to draw attention to important elements. For example, the benefit your audience will get, what your website is all about, which button to press to take action, and so on.
This is an example of the use of color and contrast in our homepage. We give emphasis on where to take action and who can we help.
The next cardinal principle of implementing visual hierarchy in web design is the utilization of size and scale. They could be used to emphasize the important information on your page. Here’s an example of the usage of size and scale on our homepage:
We make different emphasize on the page based on the importance of the information that we want to convey. From what we do, who is the aim, and how we can help our user with. The importance of each piece of information is designed based on the hierarchical sizing of the text.
Additionally, there are a few tweaks you can add to your website to maximize the usage of visual hierarchy as follows:
- Consistent size and scale for information with the same level of importance, such as headings, buttons, explanatory paragraphs, and so on.
- Different sizes of images can also be utilized to create a sense of depth in your page.
- Different scales and sizes can also be implemented to create different visual interests.
Utilizing these tips can help you to pick and choose where to put your user’s attention on.
Reading pattern is also one of the most important factors to consider when implementing visual hierarchy in your website design. There are two types of reading patterns, namely the Z pattern and the F pattern as follows:
These are the common reading patterns that we, humans, are psychologically used to. It usually starts at the top left, then comes to the right, bottom, and so on. Implementing this into your web design will help your user’s readability throughout your website, hence improving the user experience of your site.
Negative space is one of the most crucial parts of visual hierarchy in web design if not all design. The blank space emphasizes and strengthens the importance of the information placed inside of it. Furthermore, negative space will also help your audience not get tired of the abundance of information and get them to stay on your page longer.
Using the combination of negative space with size, we put the emphasis of this part of our page towards the number of achievements that we got. This way, we can lead the attention of our visitors towards the numbers that we want to show them.
In addition to size and scale, we can also tweak the perception of our audience with the usage of different font pairings. Italic and bold text can be used to emphasize different things, Combined with different sizing, it can help to emphasize the most important things on your page.
Furthermore, you can use different colors and textures for the background to create a visual hierarchy. For example, a plain monochromatic background, combined with bigger and bolder text, will give a stronger meaning to the text instead of plain text on a colorful background.
Last but not least, repetition can be used to show the same level of importance for a lot of things. If there are few buttons with the same size and tone, the user will assume they have the same level of usage and importance. If there are two paragraphs with similar lengths, they will also assume the second one has the same usage as the first.
As an example, here’s the usage of repetition in our website:
The usage of the same size of boxes, the same tone of color, with the same hierarchical size of text tells the audience that these three boxes have similar usage.
Additionally, the usage spacing or proximity is also important to tell the audience that even though they have similar usage, they are different.
In conclusion, the utilization of visual hierarchy in web design is essential. It can guide the visitor on which information they have to focus on first and which ones are the most important. It will also improve your website to be more appealing and engaging, and get a higher conversion as a result.
A good website that implements this will have a higher conversion and retention rate because it lets the audience know where to look and where to click. On the other hand, a great website design with a great product, might not get any conversion if there is no implementation of visual hierarchy at all.
A good practice of visual hierarchy in web design can simply be achieved by implementing the 6 fundamental principles on each page of your website: color & contrast, size & scale, reading pattern, negative space, typography & style, and last but not least, repetition & proximity.
Question 1: What is the common mistake I must avoid in implementing visual hierarchy in web design?
There are a few things to avoid as follows:
- Using too many different text sizes
- Using too many vibrant colors that hurts the user’s eye
- Not being consistent with the alignment and hierarchical design of your website
By Aleyna Akarsu– The Expert in Web Development, Marketing, and Online Business.