Helping people process information quickly is a critical component of maximizing sales. Whether you’re developing a web page, a catalog page or a print ad, creating an effective visual hierarchy is crucial.
It’s a common design mistake to give visual elements equal weight. As a result, the eye doesn’t know where to start, and generally moves on to something else.
When evaluating a design, concentrate first on the key components: photos, headlines, subheads, blocks of color, and graphic elements such as bursts. Does one clearly dominate? Does the dominant element offer your reader enough payoff to encourage them to explore further?
Do the other elements tell a story, going from most to least important – or are they so similar in weight that they fight with each other? If you removed all body copy, would your reader get your main sales message at a glance?
One aid in assessing visual hierarchy is the “squint test.” Look at the page in question while squinting your eyes and see if the main point still jumps out at you. If not, go back to the drawing board.