The creation of a distinct hierarchy of design elements on the screen is an essential part of the user interface design process and is referred to as “visual hierarchy.” The purpose of visual hierarchy is to create a design that is not only beautiful to the eye but also makes it simple for users to locate and comprehend the information or activities that are the most important on the screen, all while maintaining a pleasing and aesthetically appealing aesthetic.
The creation of a visual hierarchy can be accomplished through the application of a number of different design concepts, such as contrast, size, colour, and typography. The designers are able to direct the attention of the user through the interface and highlight the aspects that are most significant by applying these principles in an efficient manner.
Variation in the sizes of different design elements is one of the quickest and easiest ways to produce a clear visual hierarchy. Because people have a tendency to give more weight to larger elements than they do to smaller ones, designers can make use of this principle to call attention to the components of the screen that are most crucial. For instance, the headline of a breaking news article may be displayed on a mobile app for a news website that is larger than the headlines of the other stories on the page. This helps the story stand out and indicates that it is given greater importance.
Utilising colour in such a way as to call attention to elements of significance is yet another method for developing a visual hierarchy. Colours that are duller or more muted in tone are typically seen as having less significance than colours that are brighter or more brilliant. Visual hierarchy may also be created with the help of colour contrast, which is something that designers can do by doing things like placing a bright element against a dark background. For the purpose of attracting attention and emphasising its significance, the “Workout Completed” button in the mobile app for a fitness tracker, for instance, might be coloured a vibrant shade of green.
The difference between two design features, such as light and dark or thin and thick, is an example of contrast. Visual hierarchy can be created by designers, and significant features can be brought to the forefront by properly utilising contrast. For the purpose of drawing attention to itself and highlighting the significance of its function, the “Play” button on the mobile app for a music streaming service, for instance, might be made to appear thicker and darker than the other buttons on the screen.
Typography is a term that describes the appearance of text on a screen, including its format, size, and placement. The use of varying font sizes, weights, and styles enables designers to establish a visual hierarchy and put an emphasis on the text that is most significant. For the purpose of attracting attention and highlighting its significance, the current temperature might be presented in a mobile app for a weather service using a font size that is significantly larger than that of the rest of the text.
There are numerous well-known mobile applications and websites that serve as living instances of visual hierarchy in user interface design. The following are some examples:
When a new post is being created on Instagram, the “Post” button is prominently displayed in the middle of the screen in the Instagram app. The button stands out from the other items on the screen by virtue of its greater size and brighter establishing a distinct visual hierarchy and highlighting its significance.
Airbnb: The search results screen of the Airbnb app makes use of colour contrast to generate a sense of visual hierarchy. The listing that has the highest price is shown in a box that is a brilliant shade of red to attract attention and emphasise its significance.
Spotify: The “Now Playing” page of the Spotify app makes use of typography in order to create a sense of visual hierarchy. The name of the music and the artist are presented in a font size that is far larger than any other text on the screen, showing the significance of this information.
The following are examples of resources that may be used to learn more about visual hierarchy in user interface design:
Carrie Cousins’s article “The Gestalt Principles: Designing for Perception” may be found on the website Designmodo: This article provides an explanation of the Gestalt principles of design, which form the basis for comprehending the concept of visual hierarchy.
The following is an excerpt from Chris Bank’s article “Visual Design: Using Contrast to Focus Your User’s Attention,” which can be found on UXPin: This article investigates the use of contrast to establish a visual hierarchy and offers examples from well-known websites as supporting evidence.
Ben Gremillion’s article “Creating Visual Hierarchy with Typography” can be found on UX Booth. This article offers advice on selecting and employing fonts effectively, as well as an explanation of how typography can be utilised to establish a visual hierarchy.