- a highly prized element of design.
- a social, cultural, historical construct
People crave alignment. Sorting things in some sort of order and alignment helps organize and interpret information. In general, people have trouble interpreting design elements when they are placed helter skelter. Keeping items all parallel—all laid out the same way—facilitates reading and focus. Still, at times people will break alignment in order to create a focus:
Alignment is a social, cultural, historical construct. For instance, in the U.S. it is commonplace to left justify alphabetical texts as well as tables and pictures. Alternatively, in parts of the Arabic world and Israel, it is commonplace to right justify texts.