The importance of whitespace in web design
Nearly every ‘web trend predictions for 2013’ list will mention how the use of whitespace is going to become more and more popular. But it really is a mistake to think of whitespace as a trend – getting the right balance of whitespace is absolutely vital for optimising your website design, and always has been. It’s well worth making it a question you ask your web designer about.
What is whitespace?
It may surprise you to learn that whitespace doesn’t actually have to be white. The term simply refers to any space which isn’t being used by content (i.e. it isn’t filled with text, graphics or images). [The term comes from back in the old ancient days of print when, of course, any gap not filled with words would have been white.]
How efficient whitespace can optimise your design
Whitespace creates contrast on the page and really allows your content to stand out. By creating space for your content to breathe you are helping to emphasise your words/images. A skilled web designer will look at your content, and strategically plan the layout of your content to help emphasise the most important points and content on the page.
Simplicity is powerful – emphasise your call to action
The reason why whitespace is so important in every web design is because it is absolutely necessary to help your call-to-action stand out. Minimalist design helps your reader find what they are supposed to do next (and remember that all web viewers are inherently lazy – they want their info/solutions/product fast).
Guide your readers through your page
It isn’t just about putting a catchy call to action in the middle of a blank space. By contrasting and tweaking the amount of space between different bits of content (and changing their size) we can create a path to guide your eyes over the page in a specific, logical order which (hopefully) leads your reader to become a lead or customer.
For examples of how big brands logically lead the user through the page check out our Pinterest board whitespace in web design.
Less is more
There is research to suggest that websites which use the right amount of whitespace are more appealing to readers, and makes you seem more trustworthy and reliable. Remember that you don’t need to give a full sales pitch on your homepage – all you need is to clearly state what you do (so the reader knows they’ve come to the right place), create a hook and clearly point as to what they need to do next.
Helping your designer to help you
The number one way which you can help your designer to give you the best possible design is to really spend time thinking about your content and the logic of how you want your user to go through your site. Be as concise as possible, make use of headings, subheadings and other ways to break up the page (bullet points, quotes etc). At the same time, always keep SEO in mind (read more about SEO copy here).
Alternatively, think about paying to get your content written by a professional writer, especially your homepage. Our own inhouse copywriting service is incredibly good value.
It is also always worth getting a second opinion. The website project managers at British Design Experts are always happy to take a look and give their advice on what can be done to optimise your content and your design, send us a link on Facebook or email your content to firstname.lastname@example.org for free advice from our team.