Presenting information is an art unto itself. Whether it’s an email, PowerPoint or a speech, there’s a tendency to pack as much information into as little space as possible. It turns out it may be more important to create a hierarchy of information first.
An “information hierarchy” is simply structuring information so that the most important stuff is presented first. For example, if you’re sending out an email blast about a particular event, the date, time and location should all be closer to the top, where they’re more easily visible. Designer and writer Liam Spradlin explains how this concept works in the context of interface design:
When deciding how much essential info should live above the fold, consider this – there is a certain threshold beyond which users cannot possibly parse every piece of information on the screen faster than they could interact with the screen to find more. What information is the most relevant to users off the bat? Choosing information requires a balance between what users will expect and what information you want to emphasise.
Not everyone is designing apps, but we all need to communicate blocks of information to others. Not only does it help readability and make correspondence easier to prioritise information, asking yourself how your presentation will be read can help you understand your audience and their situations better.