Demystifying Visual Hierarchy in UX: Your Simple Guide to App Design

Visual Hierarchy in UX

Whenever people look at a web page or the landing page of a website or in an app, the users need to see the elements of the screen. The work of visual hierarchy is to maintain the sequence of elements on the screen or web page within a composition. In a digital print advertisement, to attract readers, a proper balance of features with the help of Visual hierarchy takes the customer experience to a different level.
Here are a few visual hierarchy examples,
At the digital newspaper, the placement of word sizes and their positions is vital to the Visual hierarchy. The design, texture, and placement of words and pictures make the book cover attractive in the book we read. While visiting a restaurant page online, the elements making the font for discounts or offers bigger is the fundamental way to attract an audience.

Common misconceptions and confusion surrounding visual hierarchy

Many people think that visual hierarchy is the work of software developers for web designers, but it’s the work that graphic designers do. They are the ones who can strategize and understand what elements can make the web page pop up the most to the users. 
Then, the Visual hierarchy is not based on the personalities. With the help of the owner’s idea and User experience, the designer can understand the page’s perfect color combination, contrast, shades, position, and format.
Visual hierarchy is not only used for the landing page or the front page. It has its designs and effects on most of the parts of the site, digital book, advertisement, etc. Visual hierarchy is the thing with the help of which people can see and know the story of the app or site; It plays a huge role in making the whole page or advertisement Visually interesting.

Understanding Visual Hierarchy

Definition and concept of visual hierarchy

 The main work of visual hierarchy is to make the page design visually interesting and attractive to the users. Regularly, people come across a 2D display whenever they search for something on a site or page. Then, with the help of visual hierarchy, the designers organize and design the elements on the web page, graphic, print, etc. The page is designed to guide the users’ eye to the locations of the page where the designers want them to look. 

Elements of visual hierarchy in app design

1. Size and scale

To maintain and draw attention to a particular element of the page, the size and scale of that element play a huge role. For example, in a newspaper, we don’t read the body thoroughly, but the headline grabs people’s attention.

2. Color and contrast

To make the page attractive and interesting looking, color is essential. Colors quickly grab the attention of the users. But the color will look nothing but a mess without properly balanced contrast. As a visual hierarchy example, a simple Black and white page illustration of red color will be eye-catching.

3. Typography and font choices

Besides the font size of the typography, choosing a different font can also make the page look attractive. For example, in front of the book, the designer’s typography is one of the things that makes people pick up the book.

4. Alignment and white spaces

No matter how many other elements the page has, if it lacks white space, then the whole alignment and design of the display will go to waste. If the page is too crowded, the users won’t understand what to look at. It maintains the balance and keeps things simple. 

5. Hierarchy through layouts and grids

The layout of the page should be perfectly balanced. Too much information in a single grid isn’t necessary. Even if the designer chooses to have a freestyle grade even then, it will keep the elements organized.

The Role of Gestalt Principles

Overview of Gestalt principles in UX design

The Gestalt principle is a law that describes how the human brain, with the help of their perspective, automatically simplifies and recognizes a complex pattern. The perspective allows people to look into what designers want them to look at, even though the display has so many elements. And the way people simplify the visual display is called the Gestalt principle. 
But, it’s highly experimental and depends on the user experience. If it takes too long for people to understand and calculate the logo or display of the screen, then the Gestalt principle won’t work on that. Therefore, only the UX can determine the perfect element required to keep the display in a way that the user’s brain can simplify.

How Gestalt principles contribute to visual hierarchy

The Designers love to create a little chaos at the display. Keeping things away from being monotonous and finding balance in the imbalanced element makes things visually interesting. Therefore, the designers can create something interesting using the Gestalt Principle and put all the important elements on each page. It will allow the designers to create an attention-grabbing UX design. 

Examples of Gestalt principles in app design

 Law of proximity

At Amazon, people can see separate groups of electronics, fashion, furniture, etc, options with images and text. Then, the U in Univer’s logo has too many icons, but together, they are still recognized as a whole ‘U.’

Law of similarity

In the home of IxDF, all the buttons or options available on the screen are designed similarly. This way, the user’s attention will first go to all the buttons instead of other screen elements.  

Law of closure

The law of closure is interesting, for example, the logo of IBM or NBC. In both logos, even though every line and shape in the pattern is a single element, people’s perspectives recognize it as one.

Law of continuity

Continuity can’t only be a part of a logo like MasterCard. The MasterCard logo shows continuity by interlocking two circles and overlapping them in orange. Also, while following a virtual cookbook, people can notice the continuity of steps with images from the start of the recipe to the end.

Applying Visual Hierarchy to App Design

Designing clear navigation and information hierarchy

The designer must clearly understand their goal to create clear navigation and informal hierarchy. Then, the designer can design a site map by analyzing the elements. The sitemap shows the navigation and hierarchy of the digital platform. Then, with the help of a simple navigation menu, the users can find the preferred content they are looking for on the website, app, or other digital platform.

Ensuring visual focus on important elements

Before making the app’s design, the designers already know what the owner wants, not only the best possible designs for the app. Then, while designing it, the designers, by using the elements of color contrast shapes, typography, white space, proximity, perspective, etc., create a 2D display that is visually attractive and focuses on the essential elements.

Prioritizing content through visual hierarchy

Similarly, by ensuring visual focus on essential elements, the designers pay serious attention to prioritizing the content using the visual hierarchy elements. The app’s content stays simple so users can understand it without wasting time. 

Balancing hierarchy with aesthetics

For the designers, the hierarchy of visual skills development is an art. Now, when the aesthetic trend is at its peak, keeping an app simple and minimalist is also important. But only the designers can understand that the amount of aesthetic depends on the content of the app, website, or other digital platform. Therefore, by having an excessive amount of aesthetics, the platform will look dull. Therefore, it’s the designer’s work to balance these two elements: hierarchy and aesthetics. 

Testing and Iterating Visual Hierarchy

Importance of user testing in evaluating visual hierarchy

 User testing is important to understand if the app or digital platform has a balanced Visual Hierarchy and perfect UX design. At first, after creating the prototypes, the designers are the ones who judge the errors of the 2D display. Then, the paid users provide their insights about the page. After going through all the user testing, the users are the ultimate consumers of the site. 

Collecting feedback and making necessary improvements

By testing the prototypes with the help of paid users, they can provide a list where they will judge the page and its Visual Hierarchy. Based on their judgment, the designers can understand the negative and positive factors of the app or website. Then, after collecting the feedback, the designers can work on the necessary improvements and assess UX testing till they are satisfied. After that, when the consumers provide feedback about their experience, the designers must also look into it. 

Iterating and refining visual hierarchy based on user insights

The graphic designers know that if the recruited test participants do not find the page display attractive enough, the original consumers won’t find it interesting. So rectifying all the errors and working on them is essential. Then, when the app is launched and the actual consumers are using the digital platform, their reviews and insight into Visual hierarchy are very important for the platform. So, if they say the button’s color is too bright, the designers must choose a subtle color. 

Tools and Resources for Visual Hierarchy

Overview of popular design tools for app design

Plenty of software is available through which graphic designers create their visual hierarchy designs. Among those software, the most used ones are,

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe XD
  • Sketch 
  • Figma 
  • Axure
  • InVision Studio 
  • Marvel


Resources and references for learning and improving visual hierarchy skills

The internet is the best resource for graphic designers to learn more about visual hierarchy. Also, they can join a course on the hierarchy of visual skills development. Besides that, there are books on graphic design, such as “The Elements of Graphic Design” by Alex W. White, “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman, etc. These books will give a basic idea about the visual hierarchy, but without practice, it’s impossible to learn and improve this skill. 

Case studies and examples of successful visual hierarchy in app designs

Miracle Next- Prehistoric Chef
According to the case study, this game has a great balance between the visual and the text. The placement and dimension of this game are pretty creative. The game has straightforward color and contrast on the background, and the character’s food items are the things that are getting people’s attention. The white space, proximity, and similarity are very finely placed.


Visual hierarchy is unavoidable for any digital page or app. The main element to make a page or app attractive is having a great display and Usability. And to have a 2D display with perfectly balanced elements requires color, contact, scale, typography, and many other things. Gestalt principles will add unique texture to it. All that creativity can only be approved if the user experience is positive.

The visual hierarchy is very important in grabbing the users’ attention. App creation must have an attractive logo designer front page and amazing content. So if the designer is working on creating a gaming app, music streaming app, or even a simple app for wallpaper, for making all those things without visual hierarchy, it’s incomplete and a mess. 

Those pursuing their career as graphic designers should understand that knowing about Visual hierarchy is critical to designing a visually perfect advertisement, book cover, and many other things. It is very important, but by understanding the required elements and practice, the designers can do that. And constantly learning from user feedback will help them to reach perfection.