Whitespace is the area between visual elements of your website. Some of you may know the term negative space. This is a similar concept. In other words, it’s the space between sentences, the space between paragraphs, the space between the header art and your next paragraph. It’s every part of your page that is empty.
And that emptiness is important. In fact, you WANT empty parts of your page.
Ease of Readability
Which of these two paragraphs look easier to read? Better yet: which one do you want to bother to read?
The one on the right is a little easier on the eyes and brain, isn’t it?
You can cram more into column A. But why? Because you want it “above the fold” or some other hyped up reason? Forget it. Make it easy to read. Otherwise, most people will ignore it.
Upscale or luxury businesses tends to go with a “less is more” or minimalist look. If that is your product, service, and target demographic, then the more you cram onto a web page or newsletter the more…not-so-upscale…you will look.
Compare these two images:
We didn’t do anything fancy with either of these. But the 2nd one is going to appeal to a luxury-minded client while the 1st one will not. Now ask us how many of our clients insist on something like #1 when it comes to their website. While telling us they are trying to appeal to upscale clientele.
This is not to say never use text. This is not to say minimalist is better. It is to say: “know your audience” and “remember your objectives”. There is a time and place for lots of text. Additionally, there are ways to make all that text pleasing to the eye. These are important things to keep in mind as you look at your website.
Look at all your site’s components. Is your site header squished down into your body text? If you have a content area on the left and navigation on the right, how much space is between it? Is all the navigation squashed together or is it spaced out nicely?
Take a look at what this site would look like if we decided that for some reason, everything needed to be squished together to be “above the fold”.
And yet, people do this to their website all the time. And then wonder why no one wants to sit and read their blog posts even though they are quite helpful and well-written. Or, they wonder why no one is shopping in their store when there is so much crammed onto a page that it is just overwhelming for their site visitors.
It used to be said that website visitors don’t like to scroll. Today, a lot of website owners, creators, and marketers are learning otherwise. It’s all situation-specific. If you do write, don’t just write well, but make it easy for your visitors to read too. Remember your friend, whitespace.