Hierarchy and parenting.

Hierarchy in web design refers to the structure of elements—like pages, sections, containers and images—and how they interact with each other. At the top of the hierarchy is your page and within that you have sections. Containers are added to sections along with elements like images and text.

Parenting and children.

Elements with other elements inside them are referred to as parents. The elements inside the parent are referred to as children. An element can be a child of one element but a parent to another.

Attaching and detaching elements.

You can attach any element to a parent container. An attached element becomes the child of that container. You can detach it anytime by dragging it outside. This reparents the element. For example, if you drag an element outside of a container, it could attach to the section itself and become the child of the section. 

Note: You can’t change the hierarchy of elements per breakpoint. If you change the hierarchy at one breakpoint, it changes the hierarchy for all breakpoints.


Set how a parent container and its children resize across all breakpoints. The size of a parent element can affect its child elements. If, for example, you size a parent to %, the elements inside resize relative to it.

Arranging elements.

Right click an element and select Arrange to reorder the hierarchy in your container.  Arranging is done by moving an element forwards or backwards. You can also rearrange parents within their container from the layers panel.


Breadcrumbs let you climb up in the hierarchy to navigate between and select different elements on the canvas. For example, if you select a button, you can use breadcrumbs to select the container it’s placed in. When an element is stretched to cover its parent, breadcrumbs let you view and select the parent, which is hidden.

Note: Elements on the same level of the hierarchy—like a button and paragraph text—will not appear in the same breadcrumbs thread.

Layers panel.

You can view the hierarchy of each section in the Layers panel. Each parent container appears like a folder and the children appear as subitems underneath. You can also rearrange elements within their parent container using drag and drop. Click the 3 dots by an element to hide it at a certain breakpoint. 


Exercise on parenting.

​Open Academy X from desktop to complete this exercise.


Parents and children. Drag the title, paragraph, image and button element into the container on the canvas.


Navigate with breadcrumbs. Click the image and select Container from the breadcrumbs.  From the floating action bar, choose a new background color for the container.


Layers. Click anywhere inside the container. Now, go to the top bar and click Layers. You'll notice that Container is selected and its child elements are shown below.


Reordering. From the Layers panel, drag the title and move it under the button and move the paragraph up.


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