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Whitespace in Website Design

Working one-on-one with clients every day, I am constantly reminded about “White Space” and how it, supposedly, is this evil thing to be avoided at all cost, like the plague. But almost every time, I’m faced with this sense of conflict; do I, against my better judgement, stuff the space with graphics and text, for the sake of satisfying my client? Or do I try to convince them to trust me, that clean and simple, minimalist feel that was intended will serve for a better visitor experience?

First of all, what is White Space?

Whitespace, many times referred to as negative space, is the portion of a page left unmarked, the portion that is left blank, or (as Mark would quote) the empty space in a page. In web design terms, it’s the space between graphics, columns, images, text, margins and other elements. It is the space left untouched in order to smooth things out and transform a page into something elegant. It is also the blank space that reminds us that simpler designs are beautiful and that we don’t need to create a layout filled with text and graphical elements to deliver a clear and direct message. -treehouse blog

In my line of work, the average client doesn’t know this just yet; they are stuck in a Windows 98 mentality. But it’s not their fault! They just think that more is more, but that is so not the case.

I’ve noticed that, among people who know nothing about design or aesthetics, white space inspires this weird sort of anxiety. They recognize that it looks better that way, but they still feel compelled to fill it with something. I see it most often with Powerpoint – wall-to-wall text, clip art, charts, and images, all in service of one singular point. -unknown

And it’s so true- it’s an all too common misconception. When will the world finally wake up and realize that Clip art can’t really be the solution, but more so the problem! But it’s not all about esthetics either. It’s more than that.

Whitespace is actually really important to web design because you can use it to improve readability and website performance. Not to mention, white space is part of the “less is more,” “make it simple,” mantra that has been proven to be effective when designing for the web. -treehouse blog

A website isn’t just about being a work of art. Nor is it a page to cram every piece of information on it you can fit.

 

It is about achieving a cohesive balance between design and useability. You know, form and function.

 

The user experience is extremely important because it will determine if they are going to stay on your website, or get the heck out of there! And isn’t that the whole point of your website, to obtain and retain visitors?

…you want to create something elegant and clear while improving user experience. A good experience means having space to breathe between elements and letting your reader’s eyes relax. Placing text in an 11px font and cramming it into the bottom of the page just won’t deliver the experience your readers crave. -treehouse blog

So until my clients realize that their notions of web design are stuck in the 90’s, I will continue to plead my case in order to deliver a beautiful, modern and pleasing website. Now back to work!

 

Read the entire article: “Whitespace in Web Design: What It Is and Why You Should Use It” from Treehouse Blog