UX Word of the Day: Information Hierarchy

Unless they’re teenagers, people actually like being told what to do—or at minimum, where to begin. It creates confidence. It makes them comfortable.

Here’s one simple UX concept that will immediately boost your audience’s confidence and help them feel good about your website or brand experience.

Information Hierarchy

What do you want people to look at first? What do you want people to look at second? Third?

When everything is given the same amount of real estate or the same visual weight, it’s confusing for users. They don’t know where to look first, what to focus on, or what to do next.

Information hierarchy can be created using:

Visual Weight

The most important element or message on the page is given the most physical space or visual weight. The second most important is given the second most weight. And so on.

Font Size

More important messages have larger point sizes than less important ones.

Visual Flow

Assuming your users are English-speaking, they’ll usually look first at the top left corner of the page. Where do they usually look last, if at all? The right. Additional design elements such as graphics, colors, and white space can help move readers down the page or to the correct next step.

Conclusion

When evaluating a wireframe or design concept, “information hierarchy” is almost always the first thing I look for. This concept applies to every type of communication: websites, emails, menus, point of purchase signage, infographics, and so on.

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Author: Kristine Remer

June UX is led by Kristine Remer, a CX / UX research and strategy consultant in Minneapolis. She helps companies drive significant business outcomes by finding and solving customer problems. When she's not creating customer journey maps and user personas, Kristine is either kayaking or watching her kids play soccer.