Importance of Visual Hierarchy

February 5, 2015

An average webpage contains loads of information and each user group differs in terms of their purpose for visiting a webpage. Some may be searching for a specific product or service, whereas others may be seeking information on a particular subject, or just be there for casual browsing. To accommodate the varied needs of different user groups, web designers emphasize on the principles of visual hierarchy during the design phase. When visual hierarchy is applied to website design, it makes it easier for users to get exactly ‘what they want’.

Clear demarcation

Visual hierarchy provides clear demarcation for website content. Here, content refers to everything from text to banners, images, videos, navigation items, forms, diagrams, links, and call to action buttons. Depending on the business need, visual hierarchy can be applied to make it easier for users to differentiate between different content groups.

Effective guidance

Visual hierarchy can be used to effectively guide users to the information, product/service or anything else they might be looking for on a website. If content is not presented properly, users are likely to move on to the next best alternative. Most users don’t want to spend too much time searching for things that they want, so a guide, in the form of visual hierarchy design, is likely to be appreciated.

Effective communication

When the need is to convey a specific message, for example, a new product launch or a special offer, visual hierarchy can be put to good use to ensure maximum views or clicks. The required content can be accentuated using visual hierarchy tools, something that is likely to increase the number of hits. Further, this can be achieved with minimal changes in the code. For example, just applying the h1 tag to the required text will do the job. However, more elaborate methods can be utilized for a really spectacular and distinctive look and feel.

Connect the dots…tell the story

A content heavy page without proper visual hierarchy would appear a jumbled mess. In comparison, if visual hierarchy is applied properly, users will easily be able to connect the dots and get the story you are trying to tell. Visual cues can be provided at appropriate places to make it easier for users to decipher the sequence with which to read the story. Most of us like a good story rather than browsing through mundane looking content. Visual hierarchy can help connect with users at an emotional level.

Sell, sell, sell…

For something to sell, users should first notice it. Visual hierarchy can be useful here by enabling a strong emphasis on the targeted content, all while ensuring a consistent look and feel, as per brand guidelines. Visual hierarchy allows for subtle highlighting of content, which works better than most of the louder forms of sales communications.

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A seasoned Internet Media professional with more than 10 years of experience in varied domains such as website design & development, digital imaging, social media marketing, and search engine optimization. We are intrinsically technology geeks with an insatiable appetite for new developments in the digital landscape.