The Sign Doctor   »  Step 7: The importance of message hierarchy

Step 7: The importance of message hierarchy

Have you ever seen a book on legs? You can find them frequently at heritage sites and places. Here’s one below from France but they exist everywhere.

There’s surely an interesting story swamped in this text but few people will have discovered it as the information given exceeds people’s attention spans and ignores the “3-30-3 rule”.
The 3-30-3 rule provides a really useful message hierarchy:

• 3 seconds Your title and/or theme must register with visitors in 3 seconds.

• 30 seconds If the title ‘hooks’ them, visitors will give you up to 30 seconds of their precious time to read your main message about the unique qualities of your site or place.

• 3 minutes If they are interested in the topic, some visitors will spend up to 3 minutes on more detailed information and graphics.

This hierarchy breaks up the sign into bite-sized chunks of information, each with interpretive ‘hooks’ to feel a sense of connection and purpose. More especially, the message hierarchy allows people to ‘jump on and off’ at different levels, enabling them to choose how much information they engage with. This multi-level approach makes your sign very versatile. It caters for a wide range of visitors ranging from non-specialists to experts, young and old. Each takes what they want from your sign in terms of what the heritage means to them and moves on.