“Designers can create normalcy out of chaos; they can clearly communicate ideas through the organizing and manipulating of words and pictures.”
—Jeffery Veen, ‘The Art and Science of Web Design’
Organizing the highest priority content is part of a designer’s job description when it comes to website design. Content which is placed in the layout of a certain site follows an asset pattern of hierarchy. This also applies to any headers, menus or typeface which is present on the site: it all follows a set pattern when displayed. Web designers adopt the practice of organizing content from highest to lowest priority, starting from the first page to the last. This is effectively known as creating a visual hierarchy for a site, which is a boosting tactic in the design world.
The overall design of a site is important in regards to garnering traffic and conversions. Design is not a rudimentary practice that can be overlooked in a site, but it is a core part of your marketing strategy. Design is the basis on which people will judge your product and services and where there is no visual hierarchy, there will be less impressive results.
The Human Perception of Design
Human nature has a wide-ranging perception when it comes to visual aesthetics and themes. We do not process information as blocks and figures of data but instead look to appealing visuals through our natural tendencies. When we come across new reading material, it is preferred to be in larger print with multiple pictures for better comprehension. Whether we were engrossed in comics or coloring books, the illustrations which we perceived were prominent enough to grab our attention. This is where visual hierarchy comes to play, as it is considered to be one of the most significant principles behind good web design. The order in which we look at an image or art piece is what the techniques cater to, and does so for good reason.
Why a Visual Hierarchy is Important?
The idea behind employing a visual hierarchy is allowing easy comprehension of content alongside pleasing visuals. The way designers present these visual elements has a lasting impact on the overall experience of the user. Once the components of a site are organized in the proper format, users are able to navigate and easily interact with products and services without extra hassle. Even if you are using affordable web design at the cheap price you do not have to sacrifice the design integrity of your site.
When the customer enjoys the process of looking through your site, it can only mean good things for your business.
There are certain characteristics that designers can easily use to change the perception of their users. Part of the information includes:
- Sizing, where the larger the element, the more attention it will get from visitors
- Color, where brighter colors are more likely to draw more public attention
- Contrast, where contrasting colors in a dramatic manner will catch the eye easily
- Alignment, where elements which break away from the alignment of others will be more noticeable
- Repetition, where repeating styles give the impression that different content is related to each other
- Proximity, where elements placed closely together will also look related
- Whitespace, where the more space around elements is engaging to users
- Texture and style, where richer themes are more enticing than flat ones
Making a Powerful Visual Hierarchy
Even men in the prehistoric era had a healthy respect for the visual elements they saw on the daily. A justification for this is that it may just be the way our brains are set to function and how we categorize data as a whole. We group the elements that seem similar in nature and organize them into patterns that have some meaning. This inadvertent categorizing is inherent to our nature and even in the most basic form we look towards hierarchal statures as a means of effective communication.
So how does one make a powerful visual hierarchy? There are different kinds of products which have their own methods of construction but they all share a common solution. The focus on hierarchal elements is helping UI content organization in all kinds of industries. There are a few basic blocks that always help in creating hierarchies.
Know Your Business Objective
When you rank the elements on your site on the basis of your objective, you will need to be sure of what your priorities are. If your business does not have a specific goal in mind, you will not know which items rank first in the hierarchy and which rank last.
The human eye is automatically drawn to certain movements and points of interest. This is how the majority of trends develop and the application of people following patterns can be seen in web design as well. When we view web pages, there are bigger items that catch out an eye and demand more attention. Visual hierarchy comes to play here as a powerful tool where we correlate the size of the object with its overall importance. When you make your most important element the biggest, you will be able to garner the kind of attention that will benefit your business.
The Choice of Color
The color choice is imperative to the way users perceive a site. Even if your focus is on mainly blacks and whites, each choice you make will have its own connotations. Colors themselves come in their set hierarchy, such as blacks and reds which get more user attention and soft cream colors are often disregarded. But the use of contrasting colors can add and reverse effects by inviting more attention. The visual hierarchy goes through a hug impact where you can put a call to actions against the desired colors and get more traffic.
The Proper Fonts
When you are creating your design, you need to select the right kind of font. Creating a visual hierarchy entail not just the kind of font you use, but also how you are using it and where it is placed. The weight and style of the font being used will be as vital as its placement and organization on your site.
Layout as a Visual Element
The layout of your web pages can act as an effective visual element as with a variety of page layouts based on your web products, you will be able to provide users with greater readability and better content.
The importance of visual hierarchies and their importance is what leads to a balanced and well-designed site, suitable for all kinds of customers and users.