Tag Archives: visual hierarchy

tips on visual hierarchy in design

9 Effective Tips on Visual Hierarchy

Sufficient visual hierarchy is a foundation of a successful digital product. It helps to organize UI elements in an effective way so that content would be easy to comprehend and pleasant to see. The presentation of visual elements has a great impact on user experience. If the components are organized wisely, users navigate and interact with a product without efforts and enjoy the process.

 

So, what makes powerful visual hierarchy? Of course, different kinds of products require different methods of building it still there are some common solutions helpful for UI content organization. Today’s article provides useful tips on creating the compelling visual hierarchy for web and mobile products.

 

Keep business goals in mind

 

There are often business goals standing behind a digital product. To achieve them, creative team needs to work out which UI elements are more important and prioritize them according to their roles. For example, all the elements on e-commerce websites perform the tasks of various levels. The item images are usually the main eye-catchers since they have to encourage customers to consider it. A heading goes after the image explaining what it is and the next important stage is a CTA button calling people to buy an item. By considering business and marketing goals set for the website or app, the creative team can effectively prioritize visual content and make a product stand out the crowd.

 

design agency landing page

Design Agency Landing Page

 

Consider scanning patterns

 

In our previous articles, we mentioned that before reading a web page people scan it to get a sense of whether they are interested. Different studies, including the ones by Nielsen Norman Group , have revealed several popular scanning patterns among which “F” and “Z”-shaped.

 

F-pattern appears mainly on digital pages or screens with the big amount of content such as blogs, news platforms etc. Users’ eyes move in F-shape: first, they scan a horizontal line on the top of the screen, then move down the page a bit and read across the shorter horizontal line, finishing with the vertical line down on the left side of the copy where people look for keywords in the paragraphs’ initial sentences.

 

Z-shaped pattern takes place on the pages which are not so heavily concentrated on copy or those which don’t require scrolling down. The pattern is the following: people first scan across the head of the page starting from the top left corner, searching for core information, and then go down to the opposite corner at a diagonal, finishing with the horizontal line at the bottom of the page from its left to right.

 

Knowing these patterns designers organize content putting all the core UI elements on the most scanned spots to draw users’ attention.

 

Functionality first

 

The visual hierarchy may seem to be oriented only to the aesthetic aspects but it’s not like that. First of all, by structuring and organizing visual elements designers need to make sure a product is clear to use and the navigation works right. The visual hierarchy which is built exceptionally on aesthetics can’t work effectively. User interface with the badly structured content leads to the bad UX. So, while building visual hierarchy designers need to consider what functions of UI elements and a role they play in the navigation process.

 

landing page UI design tubik studio

Seafood Recipes Landing Page

 

White space is a visual element

 

White space, or negative space, is not just an area between design elements, it is actually a core component of each visual composition. It is a tool able to make all the user interface elements noticeable to users’ eyes. Designers can group or separate UI components so that they could create the effective layout. Moreover, negative space helps to emphasize particular elements which require deep attention from users. White space is an effective instrument for creating visual hierarchy so designers need to work on its balanced usage.

 

landing page web design

Colony Landing Page

 

Apply the golden ratio

 

We devoted one of our latest articles to the golden ratio applied in design. It is a mathematical proportion of the elements of different sizes which is thought to be the most aesthetically pleasing for human eyes. The proportion equals 1:1.618 and it is often illustrated with seashell-shaped spirals which many of you could have probably seen.

 

Designers often apply golden ratio at the stage of wireframing. It helps to plan a structure for the layout placing and sizing user interface elements in the right proportion which will be pleasant for users.

 

golden ratio in ui design

Tracking Widget

 

Use a grid

 

A grid is one of the key tools applied at the different stages of the creative process and visual hierarchy is not an exception. A grid helps to structure all the components and put them into the appropriate sizes and proportion. What’s more, designers can effectively work with the negative space since a grid shows if the elements are placed proportionally and even.

 

Add some colors

 

Color choice and combinations are essential for visual hierarchy as they help users to distinguish the core elements. The thing is that colors have their own hierarchy which is defined by the power of influence on users’ mind. There are bold colors such as red and orange as well as the weak ones like white and cream. Bold colors are easy to notice so designers often use them as the means of highlighting or setting contrast.

 

Moreover, applying one color to the several elements you can show that they are somehow connected. For example, you can choose a red color for purchase buttons so that people could intuitively find them when they need.

 

financial_service_website_tubik

Financial Service Website

 

Pay attention to the fonts

 

Visual hierarchy includes a core subsection called typographic hierarchy which aims at modifying and combining fonts to build the contrast between the most meaningful and prominent copy elements which should be noticed first and ordinary text information. The fonts can be transformed by regulating sizes, colors, and families as well as their alignment. Different fonts can divide copy content into different levels so that users could perceive the information gradually. However, designers are recommended to keep the number of fonts within three since too many fonts look messy and make the design inconsistent.

 

Three levels for web, two for mobile

 

As we mentioned above, different fonts form typographic levels which consist of such elements as headlines, subheaders, body copy, call-to-action elements, and captions. There are three typographic levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The first one includes the biggest type and aims at drawing people’s attention to the core information on the screen. The next level provides copy elements which are easily scanned and help users navigate through the content. The tertiary level usually applies body text and some additional data which is presented via relatively small type.

 

In many cases, web products include all three levels since they are more likely to provide the big amount of content. On the other hand, designers are recommended to keep the number of layers within two while creating typography for mobile. The small screens don’t provide enough space for three levels so the elements of a secondary level such as subheaders have to step aside to make mobile UI look clean.

 

UI animation wine app

WineYard App

 

Effective visual hierarchy is not only about aesthetics. It aims at providing problem-solving navigation and interaction systems as well as friendly user experience. To create a sufficient visual hierarchy, designers need to organize all UI elements considering the functionality and business goals.

 

Useful articles

 

The topic of visual hierarchy is wide and complex, so we gathered some helpful articles revealing various aspects.

 

Visual Hierarchy: Effective UI Content Organization.

Golden Ratio. Bring Balance in UI Design.

Take It Easy: Tips for Effort-Saving User Interfaces.

Tips on Applying Copy Content in User Interfaces

Information Architecture. Basics for Designers.

Typography in UI: Guide for Beginners.

 


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golden ration for UI UX design article

Golden Ratio. Bring Balance in UI Design.

One of the major characteristics of effective design is a clear user interface. All the elements need to be well-balanced and placed in the harmony so that users could easily perceive the information on the screen and interact with a product without efforts.

 

To create an efficient design composition, professionals apply various techniques and methods from the art science as well as the basic mathematical theories. One of the common tools helping to build pleasing design compositions is a mathematical proportion called the golden ratio. In the article, we’ll define the essence of this technique and see how it can be used in design.

 

What’s the golden ratio?

 

Everything in the world strives to the harmony and balance. Even mother nature brings things in the forms close to the perfect. People enjoy everything which has natural touch and they always aim at implementing these patterns and forms into their outcome. In pursuit of discovering the secrets of creation, mathematicians calculated a formula which appears in the majority of things on the Earth.

 

The golden ratio is a mathematical proportion between the elements of different sizes which is thought to be the most aesthetically pleasing for human eyes. The golden ratio equals 1:1.618 and it is often illustrated with seashell-shaped spirals which you could have probably seen on the Internet.

 

golden ratio for designers

Source

 

So, how exactly the perfect asymmetry is calculated? First, you need to decide the length of the small element. Then multiply it by a golden ratio which is 1.618 and the result will be the perfect length of the bigger element.

 

Golden ratio formula for designers

Source

 

Golden ratio theory is believed to exist for more than 4000 years. Scientists discovered that the majority of the ancient buildings, as well as famous artworks, obey to the golden ratio. Leonardo Da Vinci and Salvador Dali were known as the followers of the golden ratio theory and they used it as a key tool for their amazing artworks. Today the golden ratio is applied in various fields including architecture, art, photography, and design.

 

Golden ratio in design

 

An effective composition is a core part of design. All the elements need to work together to maximize the pleasant experience. Moreover, each separate element, even the small one like an icon, has to be created in a harmony within itself. The golden ratio has a positive influence on the visual perception the reason why many graphic and UI designers apply it at their workflow.

 

Graphic designers are more keen to apply golden ratio. The thing is that the art teachers often explain the theory of golden ratio to help students figure out how to work with proportions. That’s why many designers continue to apply this tool while creating various graphics, especially for the small but meaningful design elements such as a logo.

 

Logo and icon design requires deep attention to the details. The golden ratio allows creating illustrations where each element is placed in a harmony and appropriate proportion to the others. Moreover, logo design is a heart of the brand so designers strive at presenting it in the most compelling way. Golden proportion can add aesthetic appeal to a logo and increase the popularity of the brand.

 

User interface needs to have the clear visual presentation of the components so that people could use a product without problems. The golden ratio is often applied to place UI elements effectively. First of all, it can be used at the stage of wireframing. This way you can plan a structure for the layout placing and sizing user interface components according to golden proportion. In addition, golden ratio scheme can help professionals to crop images for web design so that it could make sure the composition of the photo remains balanced.

 

graphic design golden ratio illustration

Graphic design for Opera Software promo video

 

How does golden ratio improve UI design?

 

Mathematical calculations may seem boring and time-consuming, so a question may arise if it’s worth the effort. Let’s see what golden ratio can bring into design.

 

Well-balanced content

 

Designers often face the situation when a product needs to contain a great amount of various content and each part of it is vital and cannot be replaced. To unite all the components in a pleasant composition, the golden ratio can be applied. Divide the layout into different sections using a proportion of 1:1.618 and put the content in the sectors according to their importance. Such a content composition is sufficient for users’ perception and it helps to organize all the components.

 

Effective visual hierarchy

 

Speaking of the content organization, we can’t forget about visual hierarchy. As we mentioned in our previous articles, it’s a technique of efficient structuring content components. Combining principles of these two techniques designers maximize chances of building a powerful design composition.

 

golden ratio in ui design

Tracking Widget

 

Powerful typography levels

 

To create efficient typography, designers need to divide copy content into different levels. They usually include various kinds of copy including headers, subheadings, body copy, caption etc. Applying golden ratio professionals can quickly define an appropriate proportion between the typographic levels, for example, you can choose a certain size for the header and then divide it by 1.618. The result will show you the most appropriate size for subheaders.

 

Pleasing first impression

 

When users try a product for the first time, they scan user interface to understand if they like it or not. The psychology principle known as a visceral reaction states that people decide whether they like something or not within a few seconds of looking at something. This reaction goes faster than our consciousness so we don’t even realize it. That’s is why it’s vital to make sure the first impression of a product will be pleasing. Design created by using the golden ratio has a positive influence on users’ mind and their visual perception and it works from the first sight at a product.

 

Appropriate white space

 

White space is the area between elements in a design composition. Designers always need to care about the amount of the white space in the UI since the unity of composition highly relies on it. The golden ratio can make the process of spacing much easier and faster. Applying golden proportions you will be able to define the right white space which will work well for the design.

 

golden ratio in web design

Digital Agency Landing Page

 

Design presenting the natural balance of the components cannot be unnoticed. The well-structured layout is one of the core parts of powerful UI. The golden ratio brings the harmony into design and makes the product pleasant for users. Don’t be afraid of the mathematical formula. It’s not that difficult as it may seem. Even more, the golden ratio can help creating user-friendly digital products which will combine utility and aesthetics.

 

Recommended reading

 

The Golden Ratio — Principles of form and layout

Golden Ratio in UI design

 


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visual hierarchy in UI design

Visual Hierarchy: Effective UI Content Organization.

Henry Adams once said: “Chaos was the law of nature and order was the dream of man”. People always favor the order because it makes things more comprehensible. The same works with user interfaces of digital products. When UI elements are organized and structured, people can easily use an app or a website and feel satisfied with a product.

 

To organize content in UI clearly for users, designers apply a well-known technique called visual hierarchy. Today’s article gives a general insight into the essence of this approach and the tools helping to organize the content properly.

 

What’s visual hierarchy?

 

Visual hierarchy is one of the core techniques which are applied to the design process. It is initially based on Gestalt psychological theory which examines users’ visual perception of elements in relation to each other and shows how people tend to unify the visual elements into groups.

 

Visual hierarchy strives at presenting the content of a product that way so users could comprehend the level of importance for each element. It organizes UI components so that the brain could distinguish the objects on the basis of their physical differences, such as size, color, contrast, style etc.

 

The visual presentation of UI elements has great influence on user experience of a product. If content components look like a mess, people can’t navigate within a product or interact with it properly. Moreover, unstructured copy content has a low level of legibility, so users can’t scan it quickly and they need to make a significant effort to distinguish the data they’ve been looking for. Such bad UX can lead to poor user satisfaction which means a product wouldn’t be much sought-after.

 

tubik_studio_structure

 

Typographic hierarchy

 

Copy content is a significant part of any UI design. That’s why visual hierarchy often highly depends on typography. Specialists decided to emphasize the importance of copy presentation by creating a separate system of visual hierarchy called typographic hierarchy.

 

The system aims at organizing copy content in the best way for users’ perception. Designers modify and combine fonts to build the contrast between the most meaningful and prominent copy elements which should be noticed first and ordinary text information. The fonts are modified by regulating sizes, colors, and families as well as their alignment.

 

Typographic hierarchy includes different elements of copy content which are headlines, subheaders, body copy, call-to-action elements, captions, and some others. To build effective visual hierarchy, all the elements need to be segmented into different levels. Let’s see what they are.

 

The primary level. It includes the biggest type like in headlines. The primary level aims at providing users with the core information as well as drawing people’s attention to a product.

 

The secondary level. This is the type of copy elements which should be easily scanned. They usually involve subheaders and captions which help users quickly navigate through the content.

 

The tertiary level. Body text and some additional data build the tertiary level. Designers often apply relatively small type still it should remain readable enough.

 

As the copy content is usually a major source of information in UI, designers need to present the data gradually. By segmenting copy elements into different levels designers help users easily go from one piece of copy to the other and perceive the information in the right order.

 

One more thing to mention is that while creating typography for mobile products, designers are recommended to keep the number of layers within two. The thing is that small mobile screens don’t provide enough space for three levels. That is why the elements of a secondary level such as subheaders step aside to make mobile UI look clean.

 

Bakery website design case study tubik

 

Visual hierarchy tools

 

When designers have already chosen all the content components, it’s time to create an order. Let’s find out what helps designers to set the effective visual hierarchy of UI components.

 

Size

 

One of the most powerful tools for visual material transformation is size. It is rooted in human’s mind that big things are somehow more important than the small ones. That’s why users’ attention automatically goes first to the large words or big pictures.
Designers need to distinguish the level of significance for each content element and based on this data transform the components into big and small.

 

Color

 

In our previous articles, we’ve mentioned that color has a great impact on the users’ perception the reason why it serves as an effective tool for visual hierarchy creation.

 

Colors have their own hierarchy which is defined by the power of influence on users’ mind. There are bold colors such as red, orange, and black which can easily draw attention. On the other hand, there are weak, or soft, colors like white and cream which work better as the background.

 

Using the different colors designers can support a slight hierarchy of the UI elements. For example, CTA buttons in bold colors will definitely be the first thing that users see if the other UI elements are created in a softer palette.

 

Contrast

 

Hierarchy is based on contrast itself. One element contrasts with the other and that’s how users can see the differences between the content elements. Contrast can be created via visual differences including size, color, and style. Still, it’s recommended to keep the contrast in balance so that one object wouldn’t completely obscure the others.

 

Negative space

 

There can be many components in a user interface and to make them all noticeable for users’ eyes designers need to give them some private space. Negative space, or white space, is the area between elements in a design composition. Some designers usually don’t think of the white space as a component of design still the experts apply it as a useful tool helping to build an appropriate composition. A right amount of negative space between the elements will help users to notice and perceive each of them to each of them.

 

Proximity

 

As we said above, visual hierarchy is built upon Gestalt principles, so designers pay deep attention to the proximity of UI elements. As people tend to unify the visual elements into groups, UI components need to be placed that way so users could categorize them. If some elements are placed in certain proximity, users automatically perceive them as a group. Designers can use proximity as a tool which helps to divide the content into subcategories.

 

Repetition

 

If people notice that some elements look similar, they may automatically unify them into one group. That’s how repetition works. Designers repeat some patterns for different objects on purpose so that users could unify them. For example, a website with a great amount of body copy at a page can highlight the most important sentences with another color. Seeing the sentences in this color users can follow from one key point to another.

 

Visual hierarchy is a foundation of the effective information architecture. When UI elements are structured and organized, people enjoy using a product and it will be more effective in solving their problems. Moreover, powerful visual hierarchy improves the navigation system since people can better orient within a product. Stay tuned and be ready for the next article about visual hierarchy.

dance_academy_website_interactions_tubik

Recommended reading

 

Tips on Applying Copy Content in User Interfaces

Information Architecture. Basics for Designers.

Information Architecture: Effective Techniques For Designers.

Gestalt Theory for Efficient UX: Principle of Similarity.

Gestalt Theory for UX Design: Principle of Proximity.


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web design tubik studio

Tips on Applying Copy Content in User Interfaces

Words are a powerful weapon. They can bring both success and failure depending on how you put them together. They can motivate or confuse, strengthen or weaken, call or push away. That’s why designing a digital product, it’s vital to remember that high-quality copy is as essential as the details of visual performance.

 

In one of our previous articles, we’ve already considered the big role of textual content in UI design, covering the definition of copy and its functions in graphic user interfaces. The important point to remember from it here is the words cannot be fully replaced with the graphics whatever amazing, high-quality and professional they are going to be. Efficient and engaging copy content in user interfaces is defined by two equally significant basic criteria: the quality of writing and the appropriate look. Words and visual elements should mutually support each other, exist in harmony and provide organic consistency. So, every single piece of copy should be thoughtfully analyzed and created in a way corresponding to the general design concept and enhancing positive user experience via successful interaction. 

 

Could you imagine an interface containing badly-written copy with the same type sizes, fonts, and colors? The chances are big that it would cost users great effort to solve their problems or get needed information with the product, so they would simply choose other product that is more user-friendly and less time-consuming. Let’s check what types of copy content designers and copywriters deal with creating websites or mobile applications, and think over the points needing special attention.

 

copywriting tips

 

Visual hierarchy

 

To organize content in interfaces clearly for users, designers apply a well-known technique called visual hierarchy. It is initially based on Gestalt psychological theory and its main goal is to present the content on the carrier, be it a book page or poster, web page or mobile screen, in such a way that users can understand the level of importance for each element. It activates the ability of the brain to distinguish objects on the basis of their physical differences, such as size, color, contrast, alignment etc. In the aspect of creating copy content for web pages and mobile app screens, there are two aspects important to consider: page scanning patterns and typographic hierarchy. 

 

Understanding the importance of visual performance and readability of copy in digital products and its impact on user experience, numerous usability experts explore this issue comprehensively and collect statistics providing valuable data for designers. Lots of studies have shown that before reading a web page people scan it to get a sense of whether they are interested. According to different studies, including the publications by Nielsen Norman Group as one of the pioneers of this field, UXPin team and others, there are several popular scanning patterns for web pages, among which “F” and “Z” patterns.

 

F-pattern is referred to as the most common eye-scanning pattern, especially for web pages with big amount of content. A user first scans a horizontal line on the top of the screen, then moves down the page a bit and reads across the horizontal line which usually covers a shorter area. And the last one is a vertical line down on the left side of the copy where they look for keywords in the paragraphs’ initial sentences. It usually occurs on text-heavy pages like blogs, news platforms, thematic editorials etc. How could designers employ this knowledge? First of all, placing the information of key importance or core interest on the most scanned spots and trying to use short catching headlines and bold headers to draw users’ attention.

 

Z-pattern is applied to pages which are not so heavily concentrated on copy. A user first scans across the top of the page starting from the top left corner, looking for important information, and then goes down to the opposite corner at a diagonal, finishing with the horizontal line at the bottom of the page, again from left to right. This is a typical model of scanning for landing pages or websites not loaded with copy and not requiring scrolling down the page, which means that all the core data is visible in the pre-scroll area. In this case, designers place core information in the spots of highest attention, such as top corners, and put the other points requiring attention along the top and bottom lines.

 

website design tubik studio

The Big Landscape

 

Here we can see the design concept for a website which presents the online magazine «The Big Landscape». The interface is minimalist following the principles of clear visual hierarchy, good readability, intuitive navigation and aesthetic pleasure from visual perception. The designer followed Z-scanning-pattern placing vital elements such as the logo and CTA button in the corners of the top line while the bottom line informs users about the website creators and provides the ability to contact via social networks instantly.

 

Typographic hierarchy

 

Typographic hierarchy is a system that organizes copy content in the best way for users’ perception first of all via modifications and the combination of types and fonts. It is aimed at creating the contrast between the most meaningful and prominent copy elements which should be noticed first and ordinary text information. The contrast is created by regulating type fonts, sizes, and colors as well as their placement and alignment. Typographic hierarchy is presented with common types of copy content used in UI design.

 

Headlines

 

A headline is the first thing that users should see in any interface. It is a large, bold word or phrase which transfers and emphasizes the core informative message on the page. It’s essential for headlines to be catchy and short so that they could draw users’ attention, and meaningful in order to inform users about the theme and benefits of the content of the page or screen. According to the research published by one of the popular social media sharing platforms Buffer, the ideal length of the headline is 6 words; Jacob Nielsen provides the study at which shows that headlines of 5-6 work effectively, not less than extensive headlines presenting a full sentence. 

 

Another point to remember: it’s good when headline is visually supported by other elements on the page or screen, still it also should be understandable and meaningful without such context.

 

website design for photographers

Photography Workshops 

 

Here is the landing page for a company organizing photo tours and workshops for photographers. Functional and stylish minimalism is the basic approach behind the web interface. The bold headline is placed on the left which makes it noticeable but the major accent still remains on the head picture.

 

landing page UI design tubik studio

Website on cooking seafood

 

tubik_studio_website_ui_bakery

Vinny’s Bakery

 

These are two examples of the websites concentrated on providing content around the same theme — food. They both have minimalist design with centrally located headlines. However, the headlines differ with the message they send to the users as well as nature of the websites differs in its core: one of them stimulates uniting users around the action (cooking seafood) while the other is focused in presenting the goods (bread and bakery). The first example presents a website collecting recipes of meals with seafood from all over the world, so its headline contains a CTA with a key element — action verb in imperative form “Let’s cook!”, which dynamically tunes users into the activity. On the other hand, we can see another concept — a website for a small bakery selling homemade bread. The lyrical headline makes users feel warm, sets strong positive emotional connection and lets them instantly imagine the smell of bakery products which are sold via the website.

 

Subheaders

 

It’s impossible to put all the significant information in a headline, that’s why you need subheaders. These are brief, concise and catchy phrases that are similar to headlines, although they typically mark out the key points in separate sections while headlines summarize the theme or message of the whole page. Following the principles of visual hierarchy, fonts chosen for subheaders are usually smaller than for headlines but bigger than the rest of the copy. Traditionally, they are also bold and short. 

 

Landing Page Animation Tubik Studio

Organic — landing page

 

tubikstudio travel gear landing

Travel Gear Landing Page

 

Subheaders play a big role in landing page design. These two concepts for landing pages above are good examples of how subheaders inform users about the data provided in different sections. Bold subheaders point out the main idea of body copy helping users find the information they need easily and quickly.

 

Body copy

 

Body copy is usually a part of text presenting the description or some essential information placed in a compact block, usually under a subheader or a headline. Fonts are thinner and smaller than in headlines and subheaders, sometimes they are presented in italic for even more prominent visual contrast.

 

There is no unified opinion about the best length of body copy. Some content creators support the approach that long copy is more informative and serious-looking, while the others claim that only short copy is effective because Internet users never want to read too much. Here in Tubik we support the approach that the length of the effective and user-friendly copy depends directly on target audience: users, as well as products, are incredibly different, they have diverse preferences, goals and wishes when search for web resources or mobile apps. Both long and short copy have their own pros and cons, and each of them can be appropriate than depending on target audience of the product and its conversion goals.

 

Short copy is often effective for mobile interfaces and landing pages: their users are usually keen to see concise and highly informative copy content. Moreover, mobile interfaces have limited amount of space, so too much copy won’t look nice and will demand additional effort for reading, which can be the reason for poor user experience. Long copy is good for web resources that provide users with complex information on specific topics as well as presentation of the products which aren’t well-known for users and need additional informative support.

 

website design UI

Architecture Firm

 

Here is the example of a web page where long copy is useful. It’s a design concept featuring a website for architectural bureau following minimalistic and functional approach in creative practice and demonstrating it via website visual performance. The aim of such websites is to tell the company’s story, present professional level and achievements, so detailed copy works efficiently in this case.

 

tubik studio web ui design

Birds of Paradise Encyclopedia

 

This design concept also presents a website deeply based on the copy: it’s an educational project setting the online encyclopedia about the specific family of birds. Although it contains a great amount of information presented in text, this type of content is logically divided into many brief and concentrated copy blocks supported with prominent headlines as well as bright and catchy illustrations. This approach makes interaction with the website more dynamic which is especially effective for a teenage part of target readers that presumably often perceive encyclopedias as boring stuff.

 

tubik toonie help screens interaction

Toonie Alarm tutorial

 

As we mentioned above, short copy is useful for mobile interfaces since they are limited in space. The interface of brief tutorial for Toonie Alarm app demonstrates how copy is divided into short blocks in order to leave enough «air» on the screen and make copy readable.

 

Call-to-action elements with copy

 

The core elements that make UI interactive are those which contain a call-to-action (CTA). Some call-to-action elements may be represented with icons that don’t require copy using widely and instantly recognized icons such as a telephone receiver for a phone call or the envelope for mail. However, in cases when the image of an icon is not so obvious or can be misleading, it is more effective to use double scheme, when the icon, button, or link is supported with the copy.

 

The copy for call-to-action elements consists of one or two words or a linked phrase in a body copy. Verbs in the imperative form are one of the frequently applied mechanisms of engaging users.  Designers are recommended to use various techniques of creating contrast, first of all via color, in CTA elements, so that they could stand out in the layout and draw user’s attention quickly.

 

tubikstudio swiftybeaver landing

Landing page for SwiftyBeaver

 

travel agency website UI

Travel Agency Website

 

The CTA buttons on these two landing pages are both centrally located, although they employ different types of copy. The first one consists of the four-word-phrase, while the other applies only one word. However, both look good and work effectively since they both contain the verb in the imperative form and inform target audience about appropriate action solving their potential task on this website.

 

good_sign_app_tubikstudio

Good Sign App Concept 

 

This is a concept for an unusual Good Sign app that gives you a new sign to look for, and you make your wish every time you see it in real life. Such an extraordinary app has also unusual CTA buttons like “Make a wish”.

 

book swap app tubik studio

Book Swap App

 

There’s no need to create CTA buttons exceptionally in bright colors — their main task is to be easily noticeable in the general layout. If the interface is bright and colorful, why don’t you make the contrast with light background which will make bright copy even more prominent, like in a concept for the Book Swap app above?

 

Captions

 

Caption is the short text under a picture describing its content. In web interfaces fonts are usually small and often italic, and in mobile interfaces, the sizes of fonts depend on a size of a picture.

 

gym landing page fragment

Gym Landing Page

 

Here is a concept for the landing page of a gym. The captions here have bold fonts that make them easy to read. They are shown only when the picture is hovered which makes interaction more engaging for the users.

 

Points to consider

 

All in all, creating a quality copy content isn’t that hard if you keep in mind the typographic hierarchy principles. And here are some basic tips on presenting the copy:

 

  • Create catchy headlines. They draw users’ attention and often become the point of decision whether user continues interaction with the page or bounces it.
  • Make headlines short, but keep them highly informative. 
  • Subheaders relate to separate section, so they guide users through the content in the interface.
  • Use brief concise copy for mobile interfaces and landing pages.
  • Consider using long copy for web resources aimed at providing informative content.
  • Use verbs in the imperative form to encourage people to actions.
  • Use contrast colors for call-to-action elements, so that they could draw user’s attention more effectively. However, don’t forget to test readability of the text on the CTA elements: it has a crucial impact on usability and conversion rates.
  • A caption should preferably describe or add the data that isn’t obvious from the image.
  • Give strong preference to present tenses in captions.
  • Always ground your solutions on preliminary user research and don’t neglect testing different options.

 

Recommended reading

 

Here is the collection of recommended articles for further reading in case you would like to read more on the theme.

 

The 5 pillars of visual hierarchy in Web design

6 principles of visual hierarchy for designers

On Visual Hierarchy

F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content

3 Design Layouts: Gutenberg Diagram, Z-Pattern, And F-Pattern

Effective Writing For Your UI: Things to Avoid

The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research

Copywriting in UI. Words that Make Design Go Round.

 

Our next publication will continue the comprehensive theme of visual hierarchy and its effective practices in web and mobile interfaces. Don’t miss!


 

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