Tips and Examples to Create Visual Hierarchy in Website Design


Effective tips and examples of creating visual hierarchy in website design will help you create compelling web UI content.

As we all know, websites with a good visual hierarchy organize UI contents more effectively and are also more compelling for users. That’s why UI/UX designers always pay much attention to add visual elements to make their websites unique.

However, what makes a powerful visual hierarchy in website design? How do you visualize your website UI contents for better visual hierarchy? Is there any potent design tips or examples for your inspiration?

This article will analyze these productive tips and instances of creating visual hierarchy in website design for your inspiration. Moreover, to help you test and implement your design ideas rapidly:

First, what is visual hierarchy in website design?

The visual hierarchy in website design refers to the layout and presentation of website UI elements in order of their importance so that users can easily scan page information needed quickly, click and purchase a website product smoothly. Moreover, websites with better visual hierarchy will often have better UX as well as higher product sales.

Hence, in your design, you can also utilize visually hierarchical elements to create a beautiful and compelling website.

How to organize website UI contents for better visual hierarchy and UX?

After knowing the visual hierarchy web design definition, let’s learn 9 golden tips and examples to organize website UI contents for better visual hierarchy and UX:

Size – one of the most powerful tools for a better visual hierarchy

Size, as one of the most powerful tools for better visual hierarchy, has placed a great effect for designers on visualizing their web page elements.

The bigger the element (such as photos, texts and shapes) is, the more attention it will gather. So, you can try to alter the size of your website elements to show their significance.

Create UI hierarchy with shadow and opacity

Like the black words in white background, similar web elements with various shadows and opacity can easily present simple hierarchical relations among them. And in some cases, without many colors involved, different web elements with diverse shadows and opacity can also create visual hierarchy for better UX.

Moreover, creating web page visual hierarchy with shadow and opacity will also extremely simplify your website and help you make a breath-taking minimalist website.

Optimize website visual hierarchy with colors

Color is another widely-used visual tool for designers to create an engaging website with a strong sense of hierarchy. And in your design, you can make full use of colors for better visual hierarchy in the following criterias:

1). Use bright colors to emphasize important web information

Bright colors always engage the attention of users more effectively and faster than muted colors. So, use bright colors to outline important web contents.

Moreover, some colors with special intentions will also help determine the basic tone of a website and attract the attention of users.

For example, the blue color often indicates trust, security, calm and peace. So, it is better to be used in the pages of some management or security websites. And the red color often has meanings, such as confidence, youth, enthusiasm and happiness. It is better to be used to emphasize some promotional advertisements.

2). Use color gradients to implement website visual hierarchy

Color gradients can also help create a clear visual hierarchy for your website.

3). Use color blocks to closely place elements logically related

Logically related elements that are closely placed in the same color blocks will be easier for users to scan and use them freely. Of course, the color blocks also help create website hierarchy.

Layout is also a visual element

Page layout is also another powerful visual element. On the one hand, one website can be assigned with a variety of page layouts based on web/product features for better readability and richer contents.

On the other hand, one website can also be designed with repeated page layouts so that user can become used to this website and find the information needed faster.

In short, page layout also helps create interesting websites in an effective visual way.

1). Grid helps create a clear layout visually

Grid, as an essential element to divide page functions, is an important tool to help designers organize visual contents in website design. Moreover, in combination with the change of colors, page grid can also make your entire website design very beautiful and cool.

2). Placement & Proximity

Since people naturally tend to understand the proximity of UI components as groups, designers often use proximity as a tool to divide the website page contents. Hence, in your design, you are also suggested to closely place logically related UI components in the same place for better readability and clearer layouts.

3). Create clear page layouts with dots and lines

Without any grid involved, you can also use dots and lines to divide page blocks and create clear page layouts freely.

4). Alignment

The alignment of website photos, texts and other elements will also present the website visual hierarchy perfectly.

Overall, page layouts also help designers make a fashionable, beautiful, attractive and hierarchical website effectively.

Use space to highlight the UI contents

Space, especially white space (also called negative space), between website UI elements can also help highlight the UI contents and create visual hierarchy intuitively.

Contrast shows differences between visual elements

All the visual elements/tools mentioned above, such as colors, shadows, sizes and space, can contrast with each other to show the distinction between them and help designers stand out the website visual hierarchy.

In addition, when overlapping two or more UI elements together, you can also use contrasts to state the importance the top layer elements. Moreover, in case of causing any chaos, you’d better keep the contrasts in balance.

To be more clear, the top layer is supposed to be placed with the most important and clearest elements with the most details. However, the background or backward layers are supposed to hold some more obscure web contents with fewer details. Otherwise, the users may not be able to differentiate the important data from the surroundings faster.

Design style can also affect the visual hierarchy

The unique design style can not only make your website interesting, but also affect the visual hierarchy of your web. And in your design, it is always a good attempt to use very distinct texture, graphics, images and more visual elements for a greater visual hierarchy. Overall, your unique design ideas can make your website different and compelling.

Optimize UI contents based on real user needs

In your design, you are also supposed to add or highlight the important content that users really need in the website visual hierarchy. Otherwise, the users may directly leave when they find no information needed.

Moreover, you’d better also assign the visual elements based on the page scanning patterns of users.

In fact, according to report by Nielsen Norman Group, there are several common scanning patterns, such as “F” or “Z” pattern, while people are browsing web pages.

To be more specific, no matter whether people will use a “F” or “Z” scanning patterns, they often read both of the head and bottom of the page carefully for searching for the core information from the left to the right. And as with the body contents, they will often scan the hierarchy (which consists of web tiles and subtitles) and choose productive parts only to read.

And these scanning patterns require designers to place important or intriguing contents with a good hierarchy in the head or bottom of the web page. And as with the body contents, you are also supposed to add attractive tiles and subtitle to create compelling hierarchy.

In short, you are supposed to optimize the website contents based on real user needs.

Other tips to visualize website page contents

There are also many other tips that can help you visualize website page contents.

For example, in your website design, you can also use font, typography, alignment and more to create text hierarchy.


Visual hierarchy not only makes a website UI beautiful and attractive. It is also effective for UX/UI designers to impeccably organize the contents of an Android or Mac app. So, if you coincidentally need to use visual hierarchy to stand out your mobile apps, all the website design tips and examples will also be beneficial for you.

In short, no matter whether you are trying to create visual hierarchy on website/app design, it is necessary for you to choose a powerful prototyping tool (such as Mockplus) to test the feasibility and effectiveness of your design ideas.