Let’s talk about nothing.

White space.

First and foremost, white space or negative space does not mean blank space, it’s a rather old (in relative terms) design concept and when used correctly can have a profound effect on the visual hierarchy of your website. If I was talking about user experience and/or interface design I could bang on for ages about its significance amongst the many other best practices. Having said that, I can’t simply end this here so I will make a brief attempt to explain one of designs most important principles and its relevance to web design.

When it comes to usability, there is no shortage of stats in the digital age, countless studies on eye tracking to user content relationships have been done and then done again. I am not here to delve (deeply) into that world, I merely want to talk about negative space.

As stated above negative space does not mean blank space. Negative space can improve comprehension, making content easier to read and understand – it does this by utilising the absence of anything in order to draw the eye to your content.

Some clients will insist that all their content is important and while I understand and even appreciate that point, removing the hierarchy of your site in order to have everything ‘hit you’ at once is the first step to failure. Grouping a plethora of images together is a surefire way to ruin them all. Reducing the line height on a paragraph in order “fit more in” is another way to aggravate the user pretty quickly.

While none of this can really be considered deal breaking when someone visits your site, annoyance is not the best way to start a relationship with a new user and potential customer.

While spacing may not affect the performance of your site, it can affect the overall satisfaction of the experience, something I would regard as being as far more important. Larger margins, paragraph spacing, padding, will make your content easier to read and understand, therefore encouraging interaction and engagement.

I promised I wouldn’t prattle on too much. Negative space is one of many design principles, yet when it comes to website design it’s one of the most underutilised. It is not lazy design, it requires just as much thought and skilful execution time as contouring and gluing your entire product range together would take.

Consider your content and its hierarchy; please remember that less is quite often more. The ‘fold line’ is no longer relevant so you are not a liberty to cram all your content above an imaginary line. Don’t be scared of negative space, when used properly it can enhance the users experience with your site and in turn, their experience with your brand. On top of everything, it looks better.

For more information on nothing, give Emote Digital a yell!

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