What is Website Visual Hierarchy?

What is Website Visual Hierarchy_

A website visual hierarchy refers to the order in which a visitor processes information on a page. The role of visual hierarchy in UX design is to enable the visitors to understand the information quickly. 

Visual hierarchy is a fundamental element of website design in Singapore, as it strategically impacts on the users’ decisions. If you want your website to accomplish its goals effectively, you should consider implementing visual hierarchy.

Singapore web design companies implement visual hierarchy by assigning different visual characteristics to sections of information on a website. This, in turn, influences how the visitors perceive the information on the site.

The Elements of Visual Hierarchy

Here are the visual characteristics that website designers can implement to impact the perception of the visitors on their sites.

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Naturally, people pay more attention to big objects. Size is one of the most powerful tools of visual hierarchy – the bigger, the better.

To increase the effectiveness of this element, the website designer should increase the size of the essential parts of the information on their webpage. For instance, topics and subtopics should be bigger than the text within paragraphs.

Elements that have less significance or require lesser emphasis should always be small in size. That said, it is also vital to observe balance and moderation. Using a design that makes the primary content huge and the secondary content tiny can hurt the usability of the site.


The colour scheme implemented on your web design is an organisational tool that also showcases the uniqueness of your brand.

Using bold and contrasting in-between text can grab the attention of the user. In most cases, designers use this method to make buttons and hyperlinks more visible.  As a means of adding uniqueness, colours are useful in many ways. A page with bright and striking colours generates a fun mood, while a site with soft colours creates a soothing feel.

Additionally, colours can make a brand more recognisable. For instance, red symbolises Coca-Cola.

The use of contrast can enhance or reverse the impact of your preferred colour scheme. Elements that have high contrast are naturally eye-catching, whereas low-contrast elements are usually subdued.  


The fonts you choose to display textual information on your site is crucial for visual hierarchy. Besides, the way you use the font is equally as important.

It is advisable to adjust various aspects of fonts such as type, size, weight and style to highlight the importance of the information on your website. For example, bolding is useful in highlighting vital information on a webpage. In specific scenarios, italicising can be very useful.

Using a variety of font size and weight draws the attention of the user to the essential elements of your site, and also makes your content easy to read for the visitor.

White Space

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Spacing is a vital element of visual hierarchy. More spacing within your content will attract the visitors’ eyes towards it.

White space refers to the gap between the elements on a webpage. However, this space is not always white, which is why it is known as negative space.

Spacing allows you to control the specific features of a website that will be more conspicuous than others. It also makes your site look more appealing to users, a factor that significantly reduces the bounce rate.

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Furthermore, white spaces give the eye a break. Overcrowding your content is not only an eyesore, but it can also turn away visitors. It is also difficult to point out the most important elements on a page if the content appears cluttered.


The order in which you arrange content on your website affects the way visitors perceive it. If you place one element close to another, a user is likely to conclude that the two are closely related. On the other hand, items that are too far apart from each other create a notion that they are not connected.


If you want to a reliable website visual hierarchy, consider using varying alignments for the blocks of text in your content. For example, if the page follows a justified alignment format, you can place images or a punch line more centrally to ensure it stands out.

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This tactic is mostly used to highlight essential elements, such as quotes and critical statistics.


Another way of showing your visitors that content is related is by repeating styles. For example, if your headings and subheadings use the same style and colour, the user is likely to notice the pattern and give it meaning.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that too much repetition is monotonous and can harm the reputation of your website.


One of the most effective ways to control a website’s visual hierarchy is through its interface. Ideally, the most significant elements should be at the centre to create a focal point. Also, make sure that the other content is neatly organised in rows and columns to improve the overall layout.

The organisation makes your content easy to read. It also leaves adequate spaces for other crucial elements which need to be highly visible such as call-to-action buttons. On the contrary, poor organisation flattens the visual hierarchy on your website.

website visual hierachy

Human Eye Reading Patterns

The eyes work predictably and are often drawn to specific points of interest. This is the case for most people, and it affects their visual perception of everything, including websites.


The majority of internet users follow this pattern when navigating through sites with a lot of textual content such as blogs. Here, the visitor scans the left side of the page from top to bottom, looking for any interesting points and keywords in the first few sentences of every paragraph.

If the reader spots an exciting line, they start reading regularly from left to right. The overall pattern resembles letter F, hence the name F-pattern.


The Z-pattern is mostly used on websites that have a few chunks of text. Readers start by scanning the top horizontal line on the site, which is usually the navigation bar. This habit originates from regular reading, which is from left to right.

After reaching the top right end, the reader’s eye moves down to the left at the beginning of the next line. The Z-pattern of reading addresses many design requirements for websites, including CTA, visual hierarchy and branding.

The Z-pattern is particularly useful for sites that emphasise simplicity and have the call-to-action as the primary objective of the page. For complex websites, it is better to use the F-pattern.

Understanding visual patterns and the natural movement of human eyes can assist you in arranging your site in a way that optimises its effectiveness. When you know what readers expect to see, you can organise information in a way that grabs their attention and directs them to take the desired action.

How Visual Hierarchy Affects Human Eye Scanning Patterns

 A website without a robust visual hierarchy encourages users to follow the predictable reading patterns mentioned above. These patterns are influenced by the standard reading directions of written text.

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A designer can use visual hierarchy to either reinforce these reading patterns or break those natural paths to draw the attention of the reader to a specific focal point.  Regardless of the approach used, the ultimate goal should be to encourage users to pay more attention to the more significant elements on the page, such as the call-to-action.

The Importance of Visual Hierarchy in Improving Your Business

Having a strong website visual hierarchy significantly improves the overall user experience (UX). Here are the core benefits of implementing the right UX design for your website in Singapore.

It is Economical

Every new project in a business, including launching a website, comes with a significant amount of risk. UX design emphasises research, analysis and testing, which considerably reduces this risk.

Many businesses in Singapore now realise that investing in UX design fixes issues before a product launch, which is more economical than redesigning the product after it goes to the market.  Implementing aspects of UX such as visual hierarchy can help you save money for the long term and build a website that is set up for success, drive conversions and effectively engages with your target audience.

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It Improves Conversions

Most businesses in Singapore have a website. If your site has a strong visual hierarchy, it increases its appeal to prospective clients. This, in turn, gives you a competitive edge over your rivals. 

Many websites prioritise having an excellent UI and overlook the organisational elements.  If a visitor struggles to find what they are after, they are likely to turn away.  Humans are naturally impatient, which makes it vital to reduce the effort needed to find information on your site.

The easiest way of making your website easy to navigate is by executing a reliable visual hierarchy strategy. This way, users will have a pleasant experience, and your conversions are likely to increase significantly.

It Can Help with SEO

Google strives to provide the best possible experience to users by ranking sites with an impressive UX design high on the search engine result pages. Visual hierarchy is an element of UX design, which means that your site can improve its SEO rank by implementing this strategy.

Additionally, visual hierarchy also improves the effectiveness of PPC campaigns. Platforms such as Google Ads actively score the results of webpage experience, which is greatly enhanced by implementing visual hierarchy.

Google’s ranking algorithms focus heavily on user experience, meaning that sites with a poor UX design have low SEO rankings.

Increases Brand Loyalty

Offering a great user experience has numerous benefits for any business. It grows your brand and your relationship with your clients. If a user has seamless browsing on your website, they are likely to remain loyal to your brand. Similarly, if a first-time visitor has an easy time looking for information on your website, they are likely to convert into a regular customer.

Visual hierarchy significantly improves your UX, which can be the difference between converting a lead into a customer or them leaving your site. It also builds trust with existing customers, which helps with retention.

Increases Referrals

Despite the massive technological advancements in this digital era, word of mouth referrals are still an effective way of increasing brand awareness. People are more likely to buy an item that is recommended by a friend. The same applies to experiences, meaning that if your site offers an exceptional experience, your users will recommend it to their friends.

Nowadays, there are many platforms for making referrals. Most people interact on social media platforms, where a single recommendation can reach thousands of potential customers in a single instance.

When a customer gives a positive review of your website, more people will start trusting your brand. An increased level of trust means more customers, which ultimately translates into more sales.

It Makes Your Clients Happy

Every business owner intends to make their clients happy while improving their company. By providing a great user experience, you increase conversions and sales, but most importantly, you make your clients excited. 

Implementing a visual hierarchy enables your clients to have a seamless experience on your website. This leaves a lasting impression which they are likely to share with their family and friends.


A strong website visual hierarchy is a critical element of web design. Your site can have an impressive UI and follow the other aspects of SEO, such as fantastic content and adequate keywords, but the way you present your information plays a crucial role in its success.

Having a basic understanding of how visual hierarchy works can assist you in creating a website that stands out from the competition. People are visual thinkers, meaning that massive blocks of information are ineffective in communication.

If you are struggling with ideas, it is advisable to take a glance at some to sites with exciting designs to see how they implement visual hierarchy to provide an excellent experience to visitors. Alternatively, you can seek assistance from professional web designers in Singapore. 

Call us today at +65 6789 9852 for the best web design services in Singapore. 

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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