Layers Panel Best Practices

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When working in Ceros, we always recommend paying attention to the organization and structure within your layers panel. Keeping your layers organized will help you work more efficiently in the platform, improve team collaboration efforts on experiences, and make it easier to templatize your content moving forward.

Before we talk about organizing your layers panel, let’s make sure we understand how the hierarchy of layers works.

Hierarchy

When it comes to your layers, the higher up those layers are in the layers panel, the “closer” to you they will be in the experience. So hypothetically, your background will be a lower layer, and then each other layer in that section will be stacked on top of that in your layers panel. You can reorder your layers by dragging them up and down in the layers panel, or by right-clicking and selecting Move Forward/Backward or Move to Front/Move to Back.

In the gif below, you can see that there is a Circle Shape and a Triangle Shape in the Studio, which is reflected in the Layers Panel. And if the two shapes occupy the same location, the Circle Shape is always at the front. 

Why? Because of the Layers hierarchy. If we take a look at the Layers Panel, you can see that the Circle Shape layer is above the Triangle Shape layer. This order is what determines what layer will be at the front of the Canvas if the layers should ever overlap. If we reverse the layers, you will see the effect reversed as well.

It’s important to remember that the order of the layers in your Layers Panel does matter, and will have a direct impact on how your experience is displayed and how users will be able to interact with your experience. For example, take a look at this button designed in the Studio:

Hotspots make areas on the canvas interactive. In this example, a Hotspot with an On-Click Interaction has been created so that users can click on this button. However, because the Hotspot is at the bottom of the Layers Panel, it will be covered up by the Button Shape layer and the Button Text layer, and users won’t be able to click on the button. 

The simple solution is to move the hotspot to the top of the Layers Panel:

For this reason, we generally recommend moving hotspots to the top of your Layers Panel, or at least to the top of the Folder or Group that they are placed in. 

These rules also apply to Folders and Groups. The order that Folders and Groups are placed in within the Layers Panel is what determines what will be closest to the front of the Canvas when the Experience is displayed. This brings us to our best practices on Layers Panel organization.

Organization

There are two different components in your layers panel that you can use for organization —folders and groups. Essentially, folders function solely as a container in the layers panel to organize layers, and groups actually “group” objects together, so not only organizing them in your layers panel, but also affecting the way they act on the canvas. For a more detailed look at folders vs groups see this Educate article. Note: if you’re creating accessible content, you’ll always want to lean on groups for organization.

Whether you choose to organize with folders or by grouping, we typically recommend organizing by section. So for example, if you have a long scrolling piece, your layers panel could look like this:

Whether you are making edits to existing content or building out new interactions to target those layers, keeping your layers organized like this will make it easier to find what you’re looking for when building.

Naming Conventions

We also recommend establishing naming conventions for your team to help keep your layers panel as organized as possible across all of your Ceros experiences. That way, no matter who on your team designs a piece, anyone can jump in and quickly understand the layers panel and understand the build. Keeping naming conventions consistent across your account will ensure that you are able to easily “Search” your layers panel to find whatever it is that you’re looking for. If you’re interested in how our PROs team here at Ceros uses naming conventions, be sure to check out this article.

If you have any questions on how the layers panel works or how to best organize your assets, be sure to reach out to us here at Ceros and we’ll be happy to help.

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