Designers want it and site owners want to fill it. What is it? Whitespace!
To often white space is seen as empty space being wasted, and therefore a waste of great real estate. However, white space is one of the most valuable parts of your web design.
Why is it so important?
When a designer talks about white space they are actually talking about the space between elements or the negative space. This space helps your content to be digestible and easy to read. It helps you to organize information and separate ideas, and it makes the web a more user friendly, easier to use service.
The Advantages of Using Whitespace
Content Legibility: Believe it or not, whitespace actually helps people gain more information from your website. Whitespace helps users to understand new ideas and digest your content piece-by-piece. Offering your users all the content at once can be overwhelming.
More Interaction: Let’s face it, visitors are always in a hurry when browsing through sites, and having a good amount of whitespace will increase interaction by preventing distractions that slow the visitor down. According to research conducted by Human Factors International, whitespace increases comprehension by almost 20%.
Ability to Highlight Call to Actions: At times, the most obvious way to make something stand out is to make things bigger. You can make images bigger or buttons bigger. However, surrounding the item with whitespace can be just as effective.
A Tidy Site Equals an Impressive Site: First impressions matter a lot. Great layouts, good colors, and lots of white space — all these elements add to the impression a website makes, but whitespace is especially important because it indicates finesse and understanding.
Acts as a Separator: Whitespace separates unrelated elements in a design. It can be used to separate images/graphics from each other and improves your overall visual layout. The use of proper whitespace paves the way to a clearer communication of ideas and effective designs.
A Couple of Common Misconceptions
White Space Makes my site bare and minimalistic
It really doesn’t. White space allows the user to digest content and understand content much more completely. When done properly, it can actually add elegance and sophistication to your site. White space helps to organize your content, making it easier to understand.
White space makes it look like I don’t have enough content
A properly designed website makes the content digestible. This allows you, the content writer, to pack your sentences full of meaning. Why write a paragraph when a sentence will do? Make it clear.
If you can’t explain it easily, you don’t know it well enough.
– Albert Einstein
White space will make my website look like everyone else!
As long as you have a strong brand, bold colors and a simple layout, then your website will look like your website. Many brands have smartly added plenty of white space to their sites, and for good reason, they know it works. Your brand recognition does not hinge on the amount of space you’ve added around elements, but your readers comprehension of your information does.