Why White Space is So Critical to Web Design

If you’ve wondered what’s the most important weapon in a web designer’s arsenal, wonder no longer. It’s has to be the ability to create clean and visually appealing content that’s both adaptable and flexible.

All our productions lean towards a basic design component that still does wonders. We’re talking about white space. White space is clean, purposeful, harmonious and bright, giving any and every web page clarity and function.

It Increases the Chance They Stay

Now, in case you’re new to the game, white space doesn’t refer to a color. Often referred to as negative space, white space is actually the portions of a page that are left untouched. These are the areas between and around the text, graphics, columns and other elements. The way you organize [space] your content is going to be critical to how sophisticated and elegant your pages will appear to the eye. It can be influential to whether or not users even stay on the page.

Web Design White Space
Photo by Apple

The savvy web designer knows white space helps users find and glide through content. The careful placement of white space allows the eye to easily delineate and dive into content. Subconsciously, the use of white space creates a rhythm of content, promising the user a more enjoyable experience while browsing, reading, reacting and clicking.

It Focuses Attention

While it might seem exciting to get as much content onto a given page, crowded elements are visual distractions, taking the user out of the moment and disrupting their attention. Elements can mesh and blend. White spacing gives users reason to find and focus on what matters. It takes compelling and needed information and makes it stand out in a way that ultimately creates understanding and initiates action.

Web Design White Space
Photo by Asana

A web designer’s greatest goal is to find the best ways to create a simple design that still feels like more. End of the day, the more simplified the presentation, the less distraction and the more important the content becomes.

We spend a lot of time looking at web design and can’t help but see how the use of white space could improve so many websites. I have noted how its use gives a message room to breath. White space is subconsciously appreciated by the eye.

Increases the Possibility of Conversion

Now, regardless of the subject or industry, the goal of a website is to convert. It’s not just a matter of selling something and turning a profit. It might be selling a point of view and launching a debate, the focus of almost any blog. It could be about revealing information about your health or auto insurance.

We like to think we design experiences that guide users to learn and help clients achieve their goals to inform. Whether content is to buy a book or sign up for a newsletter, white space grabs attention, enhancing the possibility of the call to action. And when you encourage users to take action, you increase the possibility of conversion.

Web Design White Space
Photo by Flat.io

While there is certainly room for creativity and innovation, web designers need to understand the importance of white space. A simple layout will be more interesting than a complex one. Wrongly placed or too many images, colors, shapes and other elements can make a page look overwhelming. It can make a user wonder where they should be looking.

Food For Thought

We’d advise every web designer to take a closer look at white space and how to use it in their designs. Look at the margins on any web page. What’s more appealing? The designer who chooses to go from end of the screen to the other with content, or the one that uses an admirable amount of space on all sides? The video that rests right up against the screen edge or sits inside a margin and has a clean border around it?

The best example of white space I can think of is Apple’s website. Their pages are designed to focus on the content in a simple manner, showing you exactly what you want to see in an evenly spaced format. Text sizes and colors are used smartly to draw the eye to specific elements.

For navigation to be smooth and clear – whether blog, press release or e-commerce – white space has to be a consideration to maximize the user experience.

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