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Is Visual Hierarchy the secret ingredient of Design?

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

Is Visual Hierarchy the secret ingredient of Design? (banner)
Is Visual Hierarchy the secret ingredient of Design?

As a User Experience Designer, your Design shouldn't only solve problems and communicate better with the users. We live in a fast-paced civilization

where everything, including our phones, laptops, television, and other electronic devices, is vying for our attention. Yet, sometimes we stumble upon a website, and it flows naturally, but we don't always have the know-how. It's common knowledge that pictures have the most significant impact on viewers. The art of designing digital things follows the same principles, to create something pleasing to the eye.

It is crucial to create something visually appealing, but it is also essential to add order and structure to the Design, which is accomplished by adhering to a visual hierarchy. Visual hierarchy refers to the group of design elements on the page, and the eye can guide to see each design element in the order of its determining importance.

Why is Visual Hierarchy important?

You must have often gone through web pages, apps, or even some random Instagram posts that you just scanned. According to a 2008 study, only 28 per cent of the text can read on average. That's when visual hierarchy comes into action. Even if you have never studied the term before, you will know it when you see it, including this blog. Visual scale guides users toward content. It determines how people take in and process the information on a page, whether it's a web page, a web app, or even a print design. It's a critical component of providing the best possible user experience.

How to craft a strong hierarchy?

On a random note, you may have a hard time looking at a page or post; it's more likely that its layout is missing visual hierarchy. When the hierarchy can be used correctly, the user knows a clear idea of what the post or article is about. Users can easily find and understand the product when the UI elements are organized and structured correctly.

A strong hierarchy can be crafted by considering various factors such as size, color and contrast, whitespace, texture and style, alignment, repetition, proximity. Let's understand how these parameters are essential and so evident.


Isn't it obvious? When the size of an object or any particular element is larger than the others around it, as shown in the above image, it will show a visual hierarchy. The more extensive subject is visible more quickly to a person.

Color and contrast

Good visual Design uses color or contrast or even both to create a visual hierarchy on the page. A shade is a powerful tool used in your content's visual hierarchy. The three primary components of color which can be used to create hierarchy are saturation, hue and lightness and darkness.

Saturation: The item with color is given greater importance in any predominantly black and white design. As shown in image 1

Hue: Certain colors stand out above others. It's a thing about bright colors; they attract better attention. have a look at image 2

Lightness and Darkness: In an almost dark design page, bright elements will come forward and appear more eye-catching. Conversely, a dark element will draw attention in a primarily light design, leading us to contrast.

Hierarchy is determining which aspect of data is the most essential. Contrast ensures that a certain point is highlighted and stands out.


White space can be anything like the space between two columns, graphics, images, text, margins, and other elements. Despite its name, white space does not have to be white. Any pattern, texture, color, or even backdrop image can be used. It may sometimes seem frustrating when a page bombards the information altogether to the users. Well, they are humans, not machines. White space can sometimes be calming; let them breathe.

Texture and Style

Visual hierarchy aims to get users' undivided attention towards the content, And adding texture and style to your work can influence hierarchy in creative ways. Textures create depth and exciting shapes. Style may help consumers engage with your theme by enforcing it. The text, colors, and space are all examples of the style. Flat, organic, minimal, skeuomorphic, retro, or illustrative are some popular styles.

An excellent way to make your content even more compelling is by matching your Design's style to the content. For example, if the content is for a retro-themed event, you could use a retro style to connect your content and Design. But everything has its limitations; make sure to use them lightly.


Alignment works like a charm to create continuity between elements. Elements aligned left, right, or diagonal will appear more related. The human eye unconsciously recognizes and follows lines, and creating visual 'lines' in your Design connects those areas of information visually. The decent alignment will make your website easy to scan. Your brain is undoubtedly not a machine but constantly monitors what it sees. Understanding how and where your users' attention will be focused will help you develop more successful and user-friendly products. Your site, app, or interface will be easier to read and comprehend if proper hierarchy and alignment can be used.

You might also think about how a lack of visual hierarchy and poorly aligned content interferes with your brain's capacity to scan. If we can't rapidly understand what we're seeing, we get upset and leave.


The use of a single element repeatedly in a design is referred to as repetition. Repetition is used to create a sense of unity and consistency throughout a design. Repetition can be a lot of things; it can be a layout. Our being consistent with elements and layout makes the users more comfortable. It can be an experience; we use repetition to not let the customer forget the experience like video games. It can also be an expectation like the user expects the website logo repeated on every page and in the same place. When we want something to stay in our mind rent-free, we repetitively think about it. The principle here is the same. We retain information better the more often we encounter it and internalize it.


The proximity principle suggests that items close together are more likely to be seen as belonging to the same group and having similar functions. For example, Proximity closeness stands for a paragraph where each sentence relates to the others or is explained simpler. The existence of visuals connects between elements in unity, and Contrarily, parts that have no connection to each other should be separated. In UI design, the practice of grouping related components together and isolating outside elements can be found practically everywhere.


This blog is just the appetizer you ordered for dinner; there's a lot more about visual hierarchy to learn. However, even applying lessons from these basic examples will help you enhance your project. You can keep an eye on your Design to observe what parts naturally catch your attention. When scanning your site, pay attention to if you're being interrupted or distracted.

Like that, you will learn how others will also perceive it. Better yet, ask your mates to review your work and ask them the same questions. Identify and work on areas that require improvement. Your website will be improved as a result.

Written by: Vidhi Panchal


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