Good design allows people to look at different parts of your composition so that your website appears to have smooth transitions between its different areas. Interestingly, not a lot of people are aware of just how crucial visual hierarchy is to make websites look and feel great when navigating through them. This guide will discuss just how vital visual hierarchy is and how its core principles can be applied to any website.

What is Visual Hierarchy?

Visual hierarchy describes the way different elements within a composition are arranged so that viewers will interpret them properly. To put it simply, it’s how you arrange the elements in your composition so that viewers will interpret the composition in a certain way. 

How Important is Visual Hierarchy?

Visual hierarchy is the key to the success of all great works of art, from paintings to websites. In the world of web design, the basic principles of visual hierarchy are timeless. The ability to arrange different elements and objects within a composition in such a way that people can quickly interpret and understand them is a skill that every designer must master to some degree. If a designer is unable to visually arrange their website in an effective manner, chances are that it will be seen as an amateurish effort.

The reason why visual hierarchy is so important to your website is because people tend to scan websites in a similar way to how people read. They move their eyes across the page, looking for things that stand out to them the most. They then tend to stop at these points for a few seconds before moving on.

Therefore, if you don’t make your most important content (that you’re trying to promote) stand out, it’s going to be very difficult for people to find. They’ll go past it and lose interest in your content. This is one of the major reasons why sites with poorly designed layouts tend to have very low conversion rates. It’s also why conversion rates tend to increase as their layouts become more visually appealing.

How do You Establish Visual Hierarchy in Websites?

Visual hierarchy is established through a process called visual weighting. Visual weighting is the process of arranging different elements so that they appear to be heavier or lighter based on their importance. There are six different types of visual weighting that can be used to achieve this. They are:

  1. Proximity: This is the most fundamental type of weighting. Proximity is basically the way elements are arranged relative to one another. Elements that are closer to one another are interpreted as being more related to one another than elements that are further apart.
  2. Size: This is another important type of weighting. Elements of similar size (within reason) will be interpreted as being more related to one another than elements that are of different sizes.
  3. Color: Elements of similar colors will be interpreted as being more related than elements of different colors. For example, you could use color as a way to establish the hierarchy of different sections of a webpage. For example, you may make the background color of a subheader element green, while the background color of a paragraph element is red.
  4. Texture: This is another elemental type of weighting that is important. Elements with the same type of texture will be interpreted as being more related to one another than elements with different textures within a composition.
  5. Direction: Elements positioned on the same horizontal line or in front of one another will be interpreted as being more related to one another than elements situated on different horizontal lines or positioned behind other elements.
  6. Value: Elements of similar value will be interpreted as being more related to one another than elements with a different value. Value is the intensity of a color. For example, light blue is of a higher value than dark blue.


Visual hierarchy is extremely important to the overall success of your website. If your layout lacks the principles of visual hierarchy, chances are that you’ll have a very difficult time getting people to focus on your most important content. This is why it’s crucial that you take the time out to master the ways of establishing visual hierarchy.

If you want to have a website with dynamic and engaging web design, you need the help of a web developer with both experience and the vision to realize your design. Fox Web Creations is here to do just that. Our team of Kansas City web designers is ready to help you create a smartly designed website to achieve your business goals. Contact us today to get started.