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The beauty of whitespace in website design

22/12/2014
Mazdak
Mazdak

In the busy world we live in, it is vital that website designers are careful not to overload visitors with too much information. A chaotic layout with loads going on will cause a bigger bounce rate than a simple, usable website that looks clean and organised. Simple doesn’t mean boring. There is a difference between the way that readers react to complex websites and simple websites with key blocks standing out.

This is where whitespace comes in. Simply by learning how to use it to create a beautiful, clean-cut website, layout can give your website a pleasant and easy-to-use design.

Whitespace isn’t always white

Despite the connotation that whitespace may be white, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, whitespace by definition is just the “empty” space on a page where no content is. Also known as “negative space”, whitespace refer to the gaps between content such as text, images, columns and other elements. Filling up a whole webpage with different elements and leaving no whitespace gives a cluttered and disorderly look, which will drive readers away from your page.

Whitespace can be any colour, and aims to achieve a sophisticated appearance which communicates a clear message of quality to readers. It should draw attention to the most important parts of the website to encourage readers to click on them without being distracted by other elements. Take a holistic approach when thinking about each element to your site including everything from headers and margins to graphics. Allow whitespace to give your reader breaks between each element, wherever they look on the page.

What should designers be looking at?

Designers should consider the type of site that they are designing and how this will affect the user. For example, an ecommerce site should aim to provide easy navigation to and between products to encourage browsing and buying, or if it is a blog page, then readers should be able to view multiple articles easily. Usability is the main focus. Keep your colour consistent and use whitespace to help the user look at the important things on the page.

The purpose of whitespace in this design process is to draw attention to these features, and give a professional impression that is not too busy. Layout using whitespace should inspire people to read on and enjoy using the site. The longer they hang around, the more likely they are to spend money on your products and services.

Whitespace also has a role in making text enjoyable and clear to read. Leaving space between headers, and between letters, makes text readable. Readers can focus on what the main elements standing out to them are, which should catch their eye immediately since they are framed well by whitespace.

The purpose of whitespace

Ultimately, whitespace is not just the absence of content but a valuable tool to emphasize the different elements of the website. Giving the reader a more enjoyable experience of your website will create a high-quality online image.

For more advice about using whitespace in your web design, and for a free bespoke website consultation, get in touch with the Geeks today.

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