When designing for the web, some of the most important decisions we, as designers, have to make concern visual hierarchy. What does that mean, exactly? Let’s explain:
Most people understand and expect to see certain elements in certain places on a website. For example, your logo typically resides in the same place on all pages of your site. Usually we place the logo in the header, often in the upper-left corner. It serves two functions up there:
- People will know that they’re on your site, which reinforces your brand.
- It acts as a button to get back to the homepage from anywhere on the site.
Your logo is important, so the size and placement is top-left where the eye tends to automatically go first. But other content may be equally if not more crucial to convey. On e-commerce sites, logos tend to be relatively small so that the visitor’s eye goes to product offers first.
It is also important to size your text with visual hierarchy. When writing copy, think about priority. What is the first thing you want people to read on the page? What is the second thing, third etc.? Make a list.
When everything is on the same visual level, you overload and confuse the viewer. Create a focal point.
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