Chapter 2


“Hierarchical organization is the simplest structure for visualizing and understanding complexity.”

—W. Lidwell, K. Holden, J. Butler, Universal Principles of Design, p. 104

Visual hierarchy is the perception and interpretation of the relative importance of objects. In application design, these objects are elements presented on a screen. After consistency, visual hierarchy is the biggest factor we see in creating effective application interfaces.

Perception of hierarchy is affected by position, size, color, interface control type (e.g., a button versus a link), and treatment of elements. It is also affected by the way individual elements and groups of elements relate to each other. Regardless of whether interface elements ...

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