Why Whitespace is One of 2013’s Top Design Trends

Thursday - May 23rd, 2013

Written by: Jolleen Tran

Why Whitespace is One of 2013’s Top Design Trends

The rise of the internet marked the rise of information. Whether it’s through social media or the mobile devices we carry, information continuously flows through our lives. In a time when users are surrounded by information, it’s crucial for web designers and brands to remember creating pages that clearly deliver the message. In other words, the site design must be clean, easy to navigate, and readable.

One of the greatest ways to accomplish this is through the use of whitespace. Now, whitespace doesn’t necessarily have to be white. Instead, it refers to the empty spaces between page elements, content, and throughout your overall web design. Whitespace allows the site to breathe and doesn’t overwhelm visitors with too much information.

We’ve all heard the saying that less is more, and this is what white space is all about! It’s tempting to stuff pages with graphics, content, widgets, plugins, and other elements to enhance the user experience. Sometimes our efforts backfire by creating a cluttered page that doesn’t have any focus.

Benefits of Using Whitespace

If simplicity mattered before, then it’s crucial in 2013. Consider this: Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, and Snap Chat are all paving the way for short-form content. Users are getting used to bite-sized information that they can quickly grasp and digest. While this is accomplished through quick, snappy content on social media, it’s realized through whitespace in web design. Because whitespace eliminates clutter, users can easily find the purpose of your site and the specific page they’re on.

Whitespace adds power to your web presence by:

  • Adding prominence. Users don’t know where too look if there are too many features on a page. With whitespace, highlighted elements are suddenly given more prominence in the web design. Users are drawn to what you want them to see.
  • Adding impact. Whitespace is scientifically proven to increase reading comprehension by up to 20 percent! This means that your content will resonate more strongly with visitors and that your CTAs, blog posts, and articles will have a greater impact on your visitors. Not only does this help your branding and conversion efforts, but it improves the user experience as well.
  • Building trust. Because whitespace makes the site simpler and cleaner, it has a more professional look. According to Stanford University, this builds trust with your users. Trust is what drives visitors to visit the site again, make a purchase, and share your brand with friends. Elements that detract from trust include page clutter, small text, lack of margins, and poor alignment and web design.
  • Increasing interaction. Since whitespace highlights certain elements, this actually increases user interaction. They’re more likely to click on a button or follow your desired sales funnel. When a CTA is surrounded by whitespace it really sticks out. Furthermore, users will spend more time reading and browsing your content because they don’t have to spend the time trying to navigate the site.

To ensure that you properly incorporate whitespace, be sure that you discuss this element with your designer and developer. Whitespace will affect the layout and wireframes, so it’s vital to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Furthermore, ensure that all of your important elements are “above the fold.” Because white space spreads everything out, you will fit less features in the same amount of space. Since the top half of a page is the most viewed half with the most hotspots, it’s important to keep your important buttons, CTAs, and content above the fold. When you keep these elements in mind, you will create balance and harmony on your page while improving the site’s effectiveness.


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