White Space & Readabilty October 5, 2010 3:01 AM | Tagged as school communication, School Webmasters, School Websites, Websites for schools
The blank canvas. The empty page. We want to fill print media with ink the same way we fill silence with words. It makes us uncomfortable, all that nothingness. If you are a customer you feel cheated that you paid for, what exactly?
Many people who write and design their own Web sites try to cram as many things onto a page as possible. There are always products to explain, regulations to post, disclaimers to mention, and frequently asked questions to include. Many people post page upon page of single spaced type, assuming the user will actually sit down and read it in novel-like fashion.
Content that is crammed onto a page and leaves little to no white space is not only ineffective, but it pretty much guarantees that no one will ever read it. You’ve lost your target audience because they are overwhelmed simply looking at the page before them.
The writer’s stumbling block and artist’s nemesis is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to Web design concepts. White space (or negative space) is simply space on the page that contains no content, words, pictures, or graphics. In fact, incorporating white space can actually help your audience access the information in your Web site. Effective use of white space allows your user to chew and swallow between bites. Good use of white space actually:
• Leads the eye.
• Allows reader to focus on what is important.
• Allows the reader access all the information.
Take a good look at Web sites you like to frequent and surf. How do those sites employ white space? What about Web sites you avoid because they are difficult to read and navigate? How do they use white space? You may find that your own Web site isn’t as effective as you thought. Finding a way to embrace the space will help you make your Web site as effective as possible.
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