Does Your Website Have Enough Whitespace?
In 2015 we are constantly bombarded by information. Most of us spend a great deal of time on the Internet and whether we are reading the news, browsing articles, shopping, scrolling through Facebook or any number of other activities, it is of utmost importance that the content that we are viewing is laid out in a clear manner. Bearing this in mind, whitespace in web design is key to making your website really sing.
One of the ways in which to ensure that your website is appealing to any potential visitors is to opt for a nice simple layout rather than an overly complicated one. You may think that filling all of your available space with images, text and other content is the way to provide for your customers, but you would be mistaken.
Too much content will make your website confusing and overwhelming and is likely to put people off rather than draw them in.
So, we know that we want a clean and concise layout for our website, but how do we go about creating it? Well, the term that you are grasping for is “whitespace” and it is one of the cornerstones of good website design.
Whitespace in Web Design?
Sometimes referred to as “negative space”, whitespace refers to areas of a webpage that are left free of information – in other words, empty space.
Whitespace sits around and between the informative content on a webpage such as text, images, videos and other elements. It makes a page appear more elegant and beautiful and works to draw the readers’ attention into the important content of the site.
If you write a blog, then you possibly already know about the importance of whitespace. Breaking up your text into small paragraphs and making sure there is plenty of space between them is one of the key tenants of blog writing and it is for precisely the reason that people can get overwhelmed by large blocks of information.
An example of brilliant use of whitespace that you will almost certainly be familiar with is by Google. The Google homepage is almost entirely filled with whitespace and you can see how it makes the corporate logo and the search bar really pop out of the page. With no other distractions to draw attention away, the purpose and design of the site is immediately clear to anyone who visits it.
Is Whitespace Always White?
No. Although the whitespace on Google’s homepage is a brilliant white, the term “whitespace” does not actually refer to the colour of the space being referenced. In fact, whitespace can be any colour that you choose, so long as it is free of informative elements.
5 Advantages Of Whitespace in Web Design
As soon as you start using whitespace to break up your content, legibility advantages become immediately apparent. For example, compare the following two paragraphs – which one reads easier?
When considering the advantages of whitespace in your content, it helps to provide yourself with a visual example for direct comparison. For instance – write out a list of the top 5 advantages in long form: a) legibility; b) comprehension; c) focus; d) formatting; e) quality enhancement.
When considering the advantages of whitespace in your content, it helps to provide yourself with a visual example for direct comparison.
For instance – write out a list of the top 5 advantages in long form:
- Quality enhancement
The other advantage of this formatting from a reader’s perspective is that it makes the piece more scanable. As an avid blogger it breaks my heart to say this, but the truth is that most people don’t read every word that’s written on a webpage. Instead, they scan everything very quickly, and pick out the bits that are most useful to them.
Yup, that’s right – including whitespace around your writing can actually help people understand the content better. Whitespace around text can increase comprehension to the tune of around 20%.
The reason for this relates once again to legibility. Bite-sized pieces of information are easier to digest and process than if it were embedded deep within long paragraphs of dry prose.
This forms a large part of the appeal of infographics – like this one from Hall Internet Marketing, for instance:
As already discussed, whitespace is great for drawing your audience’s attention to something. With imagery this is particularly useful, and is something that the advertising world has long been aware of. Check out this piece of genius advertising from KitKat, which is very clever on many levels.
#5. Quality Enhancement
It’s no coincidence that many luxury goods make much use of whitespace, not only in their advertisements but on their websites too. Think of all those perfume and other cosmetic adverts that you see everywhere, both on and offline. Lots of whitespace and the golden product shining brightly at the centre. And this is true even in the tech-sphere. Apple’s website is a great example in this respect. Apple always prided themselves on the aesthetics of their products as much as their capabilities. And somehow the whitespace that they use in their website really manages to display everything that they’re peddling as being something covetable and luxurious.