Whitespace is present in practically everything we encounter, and it influences how we interpret art, design, and communication.
It has the ability to enrich or transform the parts it touches or follows, as well as to tell a story on its own.
To fully utilise whitespace in web design, however, we must first comprehend its many forms and functions. Let us get started.
What is whitespace?
“Whitespace,” often known as “negative space,” is purposefully empty space. Whitespace may be defined as the margin or padding between components on a page by web designers. Negative space in photography refers to the pixels that surround the subjects in a picture. However, while whitespace is empty space, it is not without meaning or importance.
Negative space creates breathing space around important elements, drawing attention to and complementing the things it surrounds. Consider the impact a pause may have on a discussion. A pause before answering the question “Do you enjoy it?” might indicate that even a resounding “yes” is a deception.
Examples of whitespace
Whitespace, often known as negative space, may be found practically everywhere. It might be a rich, velvety background that contrasts stars across a nighttime sky. It may be a stormy expanse of azure around a nautical vessel or a blank page in your passport calling you to plan your next excursion.
Whitespace has played a significant role in printing since the margins surrounding text and the spaces between letters, sentences, paragraphs, illustrations, and lines directly affect the readability and flow of books, periodicals, and other print media. The development of whitespace in printed documents has even influenced our reading habits. When cramped antique manuscripts were replaced by printed materials with greater space for breathing, the need for reading aloud became less necessary.
Today, whitespace is frequently used in periodicals, books, and online media to make content more skimmable. Architects use space to their advantage when designing open floor plans, and minimalist interior designs frequently showcase an excess of vacant space.
However, just because it’s called “whitespace,” it doesn’t have to be white. As seen in the figure below, visual whitespace can be any hue, even black.
Whitespace is crucial in web design.
Whitespace is an essential component of web and UX design. It may also assist in identifying a logo, boosting brand design, and enhancing online buying experiences.
Web pages that lack sufficient spacing can seem crowded, provide a terrible user experience, and send your bounce rate rising. According to research, whitespace around text has a direct influence on your audience’s reading speed, understanding, and overall experience. And even slight adjustments in the amount of whitespace on a page (as little as 10% variance) might evoke very varied emotions from visitors.
Whitespace in design: 5 effective uses
There is no exact rule for how much whitespace should be used when designing a website, and there is no golden ratio that all designs must adhere to. According to some research, whitespace should make up less than half of a page in order to not significantly affect usability. Others argue that having more than 50% of a page covered with whitespace is preferable.
That being stated, here are some methods to use whitespace to improve website designs:
1. Increase the click-through rate (CTR).
Do you want to enhance your CTR? Examine the whitespace around your call-to-action (CTA) button. Is it disorganised? Could it benefit from greater breathing room? One company increased lead generation by 232 percent by including more whitespace in its CTA header.
Whitespace may help visitors focus on the portions of your website you want them to interact with the most, such as your free trial or call to action button.
2. Enhance the visual hierarchy
Visual hierarchy is used in good web page design to make it easier for users to skim pages. Whitespace may be used by designers to facilitate Z-shaped skimming and help users assimilate content on a page.
3. Increase readability
The font, font size, colour contrast between the text and backdrop, and whitespace are some of the elements that affect a web page’s readability. According to one study, adding more space between text blocks decreases reading speed while enhancing understanding. According to the same study, giving paragraphs plenty of space between words, lines, and individual letters might help readers react more favorably.
4. Project a sophisticated air
“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance,” the iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel famously stated. So it stands to reason that basic web designs with lots of white space convey a sense of sophistication. Designers of luxury items ranging from apparel to automobiles have been using whitespace for decades, and now we can find plenty of whitespace on high-end websites for companies such as Chanel and Ferrari.
5. Boost your credibility.
The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab discovered eleven ways web designers might increase a website’s trust with users. These include creating a professional-looking website and making your website user-friendly. As previously noted, whitespace may assist in portraying a feeling of richness or elegance, boosting your site’s perceived professionalism. Furthermore, whitespace is excellent for generating a scannable, user-friendly design.
6. Prioritize accessibility and diversity.
Whitespace is explicitly recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for decluttering web designs, grouping related materials and objects, and making sites more scannable.
To provide enough contrast for text, choose a colour for your “whitespace.” In the Webflow Designer, open the colour picker under “Typography” in your Style panel to determine if your text colour ratios fulfil Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.