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Visual Hierarchy in User Experience (UX) | Ultimate Guide

Navdeep Singh Gill | 11 October 2022

What is User Experience?

User Experience (UX) can be an incredibly complex topic to master, especially with new terminology emerging all the time and new UX best practices emerging regularly. Even within a single user experience, visual UX requires its field of study due to the importance of appearance in creating a positive user experience. That said, there are some fundamentals to great visual UX, no matter what specific area you're designing for. One is a visual hierarchy, the order and significance we assign to different elements on a website or in another type of interface. It creates structure and meaning within an interface by determining which elements should be more prominent than others. Read on to learn more about how visual hierarchy works and why it's essential to creating a positive user experience through your designs.

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What is Visual Hierarchy?

Visual hierarchy refers to the order and significance we assign to different elements in a design. It creates structure and meaning within an interface by determining which elements should be more prominent than others based on the user's needs and the goals of the design. It applies to every aspect of a design and the elements within it. It doesn't just refer to images and photos but also fonts, colors, and even things like spacing, sizing and positioning. It plays a crucial role in UX as it helps users to understand and navigate an interface. A good visual hierarchy will make it easier for users to find what they need, understand what they find, and accomplish their goals efficiently.

Why Visual Hierarchy is important in UX?

Visual hierarchy is one of the most critical aspects of UX design. It plays a crucial role in creating a positive experience for users as it helps them to understand and navigate an interface quickly. It is essential in mobile apps and interfaces with smaller screens, where users will have less time and space to interact with the app. With less room to work with, it's even more critical to create an interface that is clear and easy to navigate. Beyond just the user experience, it is also key to branding. Every visual element of your website, app, or marketing materials contributes to the overall impression of your brand, so it's essential to get it right. It can help ensure that your visual elements send the right message and help your customers connect with your brand.

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How to choose the right Visual Hierarchy?

The first step to creating a successful visual hierarchy is determining what content you want to prioritize. By identifying which information is most important, you can determine which design elements should be most prominent. For example, if you're designing a product page with images and descriptions of the product, the images will likely be more important than the descriptions. The visual hierarchy for this page should reflect this.

The principles of proximity and emphasis often determine it. Proximity refers to how close or far away elements are from each other, while emphasis refers to the size, color, and placement of those elements. To illustrate how these principles might be applied, let's look at an example of a product page. First, we'll examine how proximity could create a visual hierarchy. For example, the primary image of the product is placed in a position of prominence at the top of the page, while the secondary images are placed lower. This communicates to the user that this first image is the most important.

How to create a solid visual hierarchy?

A solid visual hierarchy guides the user to page/screen features and provides appropriate visual cues. User research is needed to learn more about your users, but here are some general facts:

Users react very quickly (in milliseconds) when they encounter an interface and develop an intuition about whether to stay or leave. The user's eye follows a culturally shaped, predictable reading path. Western left-to-right users use the F and Z pattern. It amplifies these natural patterns and guides users along well-constructed paths to their desired goals. Also Break up these patterns to emphasize the user's focus. Users prefer recognition over memorization. That's why it's so important to be able to scan things instead of just reading and memorizing them.

With these in mind, you can imagine how you can show your users what is most important as they try to reach their goals in their contexts. You can select and scale items to highlight and not miss the information that is most important to you. These points are precious.

Gestalt Principles: These are useful for the human eye. Use them to help users group visuals, identify what's important on each page, and build trust in your brand.

Consistency: Familiar icons, menu hierarchies, colors, etc., are essential user tools.

Focus: Use this UI design pattern to show the user what's essential from the start.

White Space: The key to crisp, clean, minimalist design. Use to calm the user's eyes and draw them to essential foreground elements.

Typography: Display his 3 layers of text for desktop access screens and his 2 (skipping the middle layer) for mobile with optimal fonts, colors, and contrast.

A peculiarity of mobile UX design: Small screen users should be able to recognize elements and navigate much more accessible quickly.

Typography and style: While fancy fonts are better suited for some industries, flashy text and special effects (embossed, washed-out text, etc.) distract users, and even the slightest distraction degrades the user experience.

  • Primary: Use the header to grab the user's attention with core page/screen information such as B. Newspaper headlines. His first two words in the headline should convey the user's gist of the section below.
  • Secondary: Use subheadings to make it easier for users to scan and navigate your content.
  • Tertiary: The body, is small but still legible.
The process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users and enhancing user satisfaction. Click to explore about our, User Experience Design Tools and its Principles


Visual hierarchy is the order and significance we assign to different elements in a design. It creates structure and meaning within an interface by determining which elements should be more prominent than others. It is based on three core principles: proximity, emphasis, and importance of content. It can be created with the following considerations in mind:

  • The proximity of elements
  • The size of the elements
  • The color of the elements
  • The placement of elements

Beyond just being an essential part of visual design, it is also key to creating a positive user experience. It helps users to understand and navigate an interface quickly, and it also helps them to connect with your brand.