I know what you’re thinking. Great, another bullshit marketing term. Which pie-in-the-sky words has someone mashed together today? Yes, ‘visual hierarchy’ sounds like we’re talking about fit, tall models or something (*makes note for future blog post*), but it’s actually a UX concept that copywriters need to get to grips with.
When I write copy for a website, I’m not usually given much insight into how the web designers are thinking of organising page structures. I write the stuff, they design the stuff. We have our designated stuff briefs.
Last week I spoke a bit about how important it is for UX designers to either have copywriting skills or an understanding of how important good copy is. And the same applies for copywriters and design.
Visual hierarchy is all about organising a page in a way that presents information to a user, so that they can clearly understand the importance of each element. Like, is it easy to see your call-to-actions? When a user scans a page, can they tell what’s going on and how to take action? Designers can do this with all matter of features like size, colour, contrast, alignment.
The readability of a site can really impact on the user experience. Having a cluttered, trashy page can instantly turn off users and see them heading to another website before you can say ‘stayyyyyy’.
Copywriters will be writing conversion copy and have their own ideas, based on experience, about which words and phrases are most important in the user journey. That’s why it’s good to use software or present your work in a way that shows you’re thinking about UX.
If you don’t emphasise where your copy should go on a site and what messages should be stressed, then your carefully crafted copy could get lost in the design process.
So, if you’re working with UX designers that don’t have experience with copy mechanics, then you can’t expect them to always get your messaging right.
Using a tool like Balsamiq is a really smart idea. It’s wireframing software that allows you to play around with layout and design while you’re writing your copy. When you present your ideas to a client – instead of a Word document that might make sense to you, but less so to your recipient – you can map out where you copy should be placed, what needs to be emphasised and generally see how it’ll look on a page. And you can make mock-ups for different platforms; desktop, mobile, apps , whatever you like.
Tweak your copy, lay it out…sorted.