Web Page Design and Visual Hierarchy

Good Web design keeps users interested in a website. Poor Web design is a recipe for disaster. Poor designs automatically make the reader lose interest in the website: users will most likely exit the site for one with more appealing design. According to Smashing Magazine’s 9 Common Usability Mistakes in Web Design, factors like small, clickable areas, links to long account-registration forms, and having unnecessary page numbers are issues that can be easily fixed. When left untouched, these factors lead to unhappy and confused users.

Perceptual element locations on a Web page influence the page’s visual hierarchy. According to Djamasbi, viewers process images and graphics first: “a number of studies show that people tend to gather information on a newspaper page by scanning images on the page first, then reading the text (2010).”

Components that are placed at the top of the page are perceived first and foremost. Moreover, this explains why people tend to expect document titles at the top of a page. “Creating a visual hierarchy on a web [sic] page can make it easier to understand, consequently making it more usable (Faraday, 2000).”

Large pictures and other images communicate complex concepts in an easier manner and the current generation expectation of website quality is influenced by the method of displaying information. Basically, the current generation prefers an image-based method of communicating rather than just text.

In addition to the presence of images, image size is also a factor that persuades a person to view the page. “Generation Y prefers a picture-based method of communicating information rather than a text-based method (Djamasbi).” According to Tullis and Tullis, prior research found a positive correlation between the size of the largest image on the Web page and visual appeal (2007).