Recently, the importance of effective maintenance in nuclear power plants (NPPs) has been emphasized and research into effective maintenance by adopting mobile maintenance aids (MMAs) have been attempted. For improved and effective use of an MMA display design method based on the hierarchy is proposed and its design considerations are discussed in this study. Six levels of hierarchy are proposed in this paper to classify the maintenance information. By classifying and organizing maintenance information using the hierarchy, maintenance information can be used effectively by users with either high or low levels of expertise. When information classification has been finished, the information for MMA design is selected and designed. With the considerations of MMA design analysis and guidelines, a hierarchy-based MMA is designed for the maintenance tasks. An experiment is conducted using the hierarchy-based MMA in order to estimate the effectiveness of the proposed method for the maintenance tasks and to identify design considerations to enhance the proposed MMAs. The result indicated that a hierarchy-based manual was more effective than a conventional manual in terms of task completion time and number of errors. The workload for the hierarchy-based manual was estimated less than the conventional manual for subjects with low level of expertise. As the level of expertise increases, subjects tended to follow more abstract information while the number of navigations decreased. It is believed that when mobile devices become pervasive in NPP maintenance fields, the hierarchy model applied MMAs can be used as an effective maintenance supporting tool. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.