Visual Hierarchy in Website Design

Design is about beauty. Even so, just being beautiful isn’t enough. Beauty is not the only measure of a design said to be good. The design must also be useful, or at least, able to convey information. Especially if you use design as a marketing tool.

Business websites are an example of using design as a marketing tool. Appearing with a charming design is indeed a dream. However, good website design must also be able to display information clearly. This is about making the interface as good as possible so that visitors are not confused with the information displayed.

Have you ever visited a website and then felt confused and wondering,

“Where should I click to buy?”


“Where can I start?”

If you have ever experienced it, it could be that the website pages you are visiting do not implement a thing called  the Visual Hierarchy.

What Is A Visual Hierarchy?

This term might sound a little too technical for you. However, actually the Visual Hierarchy is a fairly simple concept. Please note the following illustration.

Understanding Visual Hierarchy in Web Design

Where do you see your eyes when you first see the box in the illustration above? Maybe you will start from the box on the left, because you are accustomed to reading from left to right. It could be that you are actually directing the view in the middle box first, or from the right to the left. In essence, there is no main guide for the eye because all are shaped and colored the same.

How to Effectively Use Visual Hierarchy in Web Design

Now see the changes that have taken place. Now your attention is fixed on the box at the top left, right? A little change in color can direct the eye to the box. This makes it appear as if the box above is the most important thing to see. This is what is called the Visual Hierarchy.

The Visual Hierarchy focuses on highlighting the elements that attract the eye’s attention.

Why Is Hierarchy Important?

A well-structured website can convey information more effectively. Your website visitors can easily understand what should be seen and read next.

For example, you can see the following illustration.

Effective Web Design Principles You Should Know

When looking at this picture, there is no direction to start the view when you direct attention. This can make visitors want to switch immediately.

Compare when you see this picture.

Effective Web Design Principles - Visual Hierarchy

As if the eyes are guided to see the box above for the first time, then it continues downward. This is how the Visual Hierarchy works on a website.

A strong Visual Hierarchy provides logical guidance by showing important things first.

How to Build a Hierarchy in Website Design?

After knowing what the Visual Hierarchy is and how important its role is in design, you might wonder how this hierarchy is built on the website.

The Visual Hierarchy develops from the Gestalt Principle . Focal Point is one of the elements in the Gestalt principle , where this principle will form the Visual Hierarchy in a composition. There are several ways to make hierarchies in website design using basic design elements such as lines, shapes, spaces, colors, textures, sizes, and typography. However, this is not a basic rule in creating a Visual Hierarchy in design. Everything certainly depends on how you combine all the elements of design according to your goals and tastes.

The key to design is all about exploration.

Using Line Elements

Lines are design elements that connect one point to another, both in the form of a straight and a curve. Stand-alone line elements / elements can form a visual hierarchy on website design.

How to Use Visual Hierarchy in Web Design

The application of the line on the website in general can give a limiting impression between parts of one another. The line can also be used as a boundary graphic field to beautify the appearance of the webstite page layout.

Please see the example of

Visual Hierarchy in Web Design

In the appearance of the website above, the Visual Hierarchy is formed from elements of typography and lines as boundaries. Your eyes will first be directed to the Welcome to the website headline  and will be directed because of the East Room writing.

Another example:

UI Visual Hierarchy: Best Tips and Examples to Visualize Web Contents

In the example of this website a visual hierarchy is formed from a line, where the animation of this line will guide your eyes to see the content that is located on the web page.


The shape comes from the interconnected line points. Forms can be in the form of 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional objects. Based on its nature, forms can be categorized into three: letters, symbols, and real forms (eg boxes, circles, triangles, hexagons, etc.).

Visual Hierarchy Web Design Principles to Create Compelling Content

The application of form elements in website design can be in the form of photos or images, especially because generally photo frames are rectangular. Using photos or large images on a web page as a background can attract the attention of visitors and keep the eyes focused on one of your messages for a few seconds, before then leading to the next statement with words that are close together.

For example,

How To Achieve Visual Hierarchy In Web Design

This website uses a Visual Hierarchy formed from large backgroud photos, focused on the headset image. The point is of course to steal the attention of visitors, before then visitors are directed to the copy text to the right of the headshet image. Nike Official Website also implement the same. Here your first attention will definitely be drawn to the background photo.

Space / Whitespace

Is the distance that separates an element from another element. Although it is called whitespace, it does not mean that the actual space must be white . Blank space / whitespace can be filled with any color as long as it is free from elements such as text, images, and so on. In its physical form, identifying whitespace is classified into two elements, namely objects (figures) and background (background).

Golden Principles of Visual Hierarchy

Whitespace serves as a resting place for the eyes.

Whitespace is closely related to luxury and sophistication. Whitespace is formed by arranging text, arranging elements and guiding visitors to pay attention to certain elements. 
The most familiar example of whitespace use is Google. Google homepage is full of spaces so you can focus on the search field.

principles of visual hierarchy for designers

Color and Contrast

Color is the spectrum of light. I the density of a color is determined by the wavelength of the light.

Images for Visual Hierarchy in Website Design

Each color has its own meaning. Visual colors Hierarchy are formed from contrast between colors, or opposite colors which are also often called complementary colors. But the graphs of the following color wheels do not always refer to the formation of the Visual Hierarchy, because contrast alone can be between black and white. In essence, the contrasting colors intersect one another in the color circle graph. For more details, you can read about color theory at

The Design School guide to visual hierarchy

This has a huge influence on the Visual Hierarchy. For example, please see the illustration below. Think of it as if this is a website display, there are backgrounds, content, and CTA.

Web Design Tips: Importance of Visual Hierarchy

Your eyes will be more interested in seeing the color composition on the right. Because in accordance with complementary theory in color, the opposite color will cause high contrast so that it attracts more attention. Even though in the illustration above the density the blue color is not concentrated but still represents the blue contrast with orange.

Hierarchy with Texture

Texture is a visualization of the surface of an object. In visual design, textures cannot be touched or touched. Even so, textures (often referred to as patterns) are still widely used.

Texture can add dimensions, emphasize, and give a certain feeling or emotion.

Most Important Factors of Visual Hierarchy in Website Design

The application of textures is often used for the Visual Hierarchy. Textures can highlight elements such as titles, icons, and buttons. He draws the eye’s attention to the call-to-action and headline buttons on a website. For example, see the application on the website

Useful Design Techniques to Master Visual Hierarchy

Contrast Size Hierarchy

The size is closely related to the comparison of the size of a shape with another form. Using this size comparison you can create contrast on the design object. The aim is to highlight the interesting side or the main part of a design.

Visual Hierarchy Principles Every Non-Designer Needs to Know

Contrast Size is the key to the Visual Hierarchy.

Size / contrast hierarchy is formed from all elements in the form of typography, photos, shapes, whitespace, and lines. You can see the application on the website at

The Building Blocks of Visual Hierarchy

Where all the elements of the design are made into one unit forming an interesting Visual Hierarchy. From the elements of color, whitespace, lines and sizes of each element appear on this website.


Hierarchy is an important part of the website design process. Our advice, play around with your own ideas and creations using different compositions and hierarchical arrangements. Then, see how each arrangement can display different messages according to your wishes. Happy designing.

Leave a Reply