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The Power of Visual Hierarchy

One problem I see all too often in websites is the failure to use good hierarchy. Visual hierarchy is the most important principle of web design. It’s the order in which the human eye perceives what it sees. Essentially which things visually stand out as having the highest importance, second highest, etc.

There are certain pieces of your website that are more important than others. Your logo, your products, and call to action buttons are usually amongst the top. You want more attention to go to these areas. As an example, if your website has 8 different sections of information, but only three of them are key to getting people to understand who you are and what you do, the visual hierarchy should reflect this. The site should actually be designed to show that those items are more important. This could mean bigger buttons, flashier images, including them in the main body of the page instead of just putting a small link at the top of the page, etc.

Certain websites are cluttered with several call to action buttons, bold text on every page, multiple boxes of information on the home page and so on. There are many examples of how not to do it. When everything is made to look important, the result is that nothing really stands out. The site has no visual hierarchy and the reader is left to wander the site and hopefully find the key information they are looking for.

You have to start out by determining what the goal is for the visitors coming to the site. Do you want them to call you? Email you? Buy something online? You need to decide who you are trying to communicate to and what you are trying to communicate to them. If you start with a specific goal, you can easily see what information you will need to highlight to accomplish this.

This concept of visual hierarchy is vital in building successful websites. Whether you are building one yourself or hiring a professional firm. Have the goal firmly set in mind and ensure you use visual hierarchy to help you achieve it!