2 Awesome and Free Visual Hierarchy Marketing Tools

August 12, 2012

Visual hierarchy is a critical element of design that some experts say isn’t always given the proper consideration.  Visual hierarchy is the manner in which design elements are applied to text, images and graphics to imply importance.  When it comes to marketing, visual hierarchy is an important tool that guides readers’ eyes to the images and text that create desire and motivate action.  Read on to learn how using two free tools in conjunction with one another to create the perfect visual hierarchy can significantly improve your return on investment.

1. Blur Tool

You can use any number of browser-based blur tools to test your designs against one another.  The idea is that without the distraction of details, blurring your posters, brochures, catalogs, and websites will reveal true visual hierarchy.  Search your favorite browser’s extensions for a blur tool or “squint test.”

2. ABtests.com

ABtests.com lets you take a peek at others’ A/B tests and lends insight into how design, layout, and copy work together to increase response rates.  Real-world results let you emulate what works to decrease design time and increase overall ad performance. In the example below (seen here), the product detail page on the left was tested against the page on the right.  The left page earned a 12.5 percent conversion rate, while the page on the right earned a 31 percent conversion rate – more than double the original.  The main differences are the additions of the red offer label over the wine bottle and a discount headline statement at the top. blur-ab

Image screenshot from ABtests.com

The cool part is that you might have predicted this outcome with the blur test for visual hierarchy.  Check out the following blurred comparisons and notice how the main visual emphasis has been removed from the purchasing graphics (Add to Cart button and payment options) and given to the offer.


Image screenshot from ABtests.com

You can’t miss the 15 percent off deal in the second, blurred version on the right; but it seems nonexistent in the original design (though it is there in the copy).

The Fun Part

Here’s where it gets interesting.  By using these two resources together, you can not only find out which campaign version will yield the best return, you can predict future return rates by gaining insight into your target customers’ buying triggers and catering your designs to take advantage of them.  In our example, it’s fair to say that 15 percent off was a major motivator for customers; especially when the deal was presented within a visual hierarchy that promoted the deal with a big, red “sticker” and headline text.  If the company designs future product pages in this manner, they can reliably expect greater profits.  

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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