Why white space is essential to good web design
White space is one of the most underrated (and abused) elements of web design. Yet, when used properly, it can be one of the most effective! Indeed, it is not the absence of design, but rather a design element in its own right. First of all, what are we talking about when we use the term 'white space?'
White space, or negative space, are the blank areas between the graphics and text on your web page. When used effectively, it can eliminate clutter, focus the user's attention on what is important, and make your website more memorable.
Many web designers focus solely on the graphics and text of a website and try to cram as much content as possible into a web page. To be fair, designers are often under pressure to use every inch of online real estate to promote and sell by eager business owners or marketing execs. However, white space is an essential design element in the marketing process. Think about the most memorable ads you have seen in glossy magazines that promote luxury items. Usually, the best of those advertisements have a common feature - an uncluttered layout. Apple has distinguished itself both in industrial design and advertising by following a mantra of clean, uncluttered lines with ample white space. That visual message supports Apple's reputation for ease-of-use and simplicity, two qualities that personal computers in general never acquired.
On the Web, white space is essential when the viewer is required to read large amounts of content. Generous margins and clear simple layouts make it easier for the eye to work. Cluttered layouts tire the eye quickly and hinder clarity. Also, just as in advertising, uncluttered layouts convey a sense of good taste and refinement. That provides a competitive advantage for your business website. The subtle aesthetic refinements provided by well-proportioned layouts convey a positive image of the business the website supports.
White Space Helps You To Focus on What Is Important
The more information you cram into a web page, the more difficult it becomes to remember any of it. White space and clear visual hierarchy allow users to focus on what matters most and act on it. The pleasing aesthetics of a web page with adequate white space encourages the viewer to stay longer, reducing bounce rate.
How can you develop a good sense of how much white space is needed? The best way is to study good examples of web page layouts and see what percentage of the page is used for margins. Also, well-designed books and magazines can provide good examples of the skilled use of white space. A study of Typography or Calligraphy will help you to get a better grasp of the role white space plays in the legibility and beauty of a page. Soon, your eye will be educated to apply the same pleasing proportions of white space to your own web design. -Don Peterson