Less is More: Using Whitespace in Web Design
Not a new concept in design, by now we all pretty much know the use of whitespace. Whitespace, or negative space, exists to help bring focus to the main object of a design. For example, if you are displaying a painting on your wall and you want it to be the center of attention, you put it in a frame and hang it on the part of your wall where it is surrounded by nothing else.
Have you heard of the design myth “whitespace is wasted space”? Contrary to that belief, whitespace is an important element of design and therefore should not be treated as merely blank space. If used expertly, the balance between whitespace and the non-whites yields effective and attractive visual composition.
The Role of Whitespace in Web Design
Generally, in design, one of the purposes of whitespace is to make something more visible. In web design, the “less is more” concept not only applies to appearance (UI), but also to function (UX). Whitespace in web design helps users easily figure out the purpose of a certain webpage. It has the power to strengthen the call-to-action, improve focus, and take away the spotlight from less important elements. Take Google Search for example; the main search page only has the Google logo and the search bar underneath it. Clearly, the main purpose of the page is for you to use the search engine, as heavily emphasized by the whitespace.
When Whitespace is Used Successfully
The “Internet of Things” is now the “Internet of Everything”. Now is a time when we are surrounded by all kinds of information – a time when a design layout that has effective use of whitespace stands out in a sea of layouts with crowded design and illegible text.
Whitespace is used effectively when it is used to create minimalist yet elegant design that allows for a pleasing user experience on the web. Effective use of whitespace is when a web design excels both in form and in function, with the contents readable, easy to understand, and engaging.
One of the rules of web design is for designers to always assume that the user would not know what to do next upon arriving in the webpage. Use whitespace to direct visitors to the call-to-action. As with the Google example above, there’s nothing else on the page that users can interact with other than the search bar. Coupled with an appropriate call-to-action copy, the purpose of the webpage will be crystal clear to the audience.
Take note, though, that whitespace is not always white. As a negative space, it simply means that it stands for the absence of other design elements, and can be any color, or even a highly blurred and distorted background image.
Whitespace also rightly belongs to the hero sections of a website. Not all web visitors scroll down a page, so make the most out of whitespace and a brilliant header, enough to spark their curiosity and scroll down further. And as for emphasizing the goal of the page, might as well make use of whitespace to also emphasize emotion, adding drama to the main headline or landing page.
Learn More about Whitespace and Great Design Layout
Whitespace is a powerful design element, and therefore must be used wisely. Our team at MicroCreatives is composed of talented and up-to-date designers, skilled both in print and digital, along with brilliant writers, developers, and animators. Learn more about the strategic use of whitespace in your design project and achieve the ultimate web design with engaging copy and other types of content such as HTML5- and Flash-animated videos usefully placed in your website. Contact us today!