Effective UI Design: Leveraging Spacing for Clear Hierarchy

Effective UI Design: Leveraging Spacing for Clear Hierarchy

In the world of User Interface (UI) development/design, understanding how to effectively use space can greatly enhance the user experience. The concept of using spacing to define hierarchy is a key principle that guides the brain in processing visual information. This post will delve into how to utilize spacing effectively to create clear and intuitive designs.

The principle of spacing hierarchy

Our brains naturally group objects that are close together, creating a perceived connection between them. Conversely, objects that are spaced further apart are seen as distinct or separate. This principle is crucial in UI development/design as it aids in quickly scanning and understanding complex visual sets.

Implementing Spacing Values for Readability

To apply this principle effectively, it is recommended to establish a set of spacing values. For instance:

  • Small Spaces (8px, 16px): Used for closely related items within a component.

  • Medium Spaces (24px, 32px): Ideal for separating different components or sections.

  • Large Spaces (48px, 64px): Best for major breaks in your layout, like different content areas.

These values help maintain consistency and clarity in your designs, making them more readable and user-friendly.

Component Layout in Practice

UI elements like buttons, cards, and modals are grouped into components. These components form the building blocks of the overall screen layout.

Inside a Component

  • Use smaller spacing values for internal alignment and grouping, like within a card.

Here's an example showcasing the use of small spacing values for alignment and grouping within a card component.

Between Components

  • Larger spacing values should be used to differentiate between separate components in the layout.

Here's an example showing the use of large spacing values between seperate components.


Incorporating a hierarchy defined by spacing in UI design is not just about aesthetics; it's about creating intuitive and navigable interfaces. By carefully considering spacing, designers and developers can guide users' eyes and enhance the overall usability of digital products. Remember, effective spacing is key to a clear, cohesive, and user-friendly design.