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The Power Of Space On Your Website

The phrase ‘less is more’ applies to many walks of life but until recently, few associated this term with web design.

Each one of us have stumbled upon sites we deem too busy, homepages crammed with competing content designed to grab your attention but successful only in draining your concentration and interest.

When visitors are unable to focus on one key message or area, they are inclined to grow frustrated and leave what they will forever consider a clustered page.

Few websites set out to be so complex. Indeed most begin as small, clean presentations that simply evolve over time.

Clutter-May-29The War On Clutter

An increase in content, much of which is essential and thus unavoidable, comes at the expense of space. As messages are worked in – be it delicately or haphazardly – they eat up the template until little or no space remains.

As web creators our primary focus is to present your messaging appropriately, telling your story in a manner which satisfies your customers as opposed to confusing them. In short, this sees us declaring a war on clutter.

It takes a brave designer and a courageous decision maker to sift through content and display only its key messages on the homepage. To do so is to trust that end-users will work their way through the site and find additional information in their own time and on their own terms.

A busy home page is the web equivalent of entering a showroom only to be swarmed by five sales people intent on winning your custom. More often than not, such an approach falls flat.

So if clutter is frowned upon what alternatives are there?

In short, space!

Ipad-May-29Sometimes referred to as negative space this underused design resource actually has the ability to enhance users’ comprehension of your message. In stripping back your content you reduce the possibility of intimidation. Rather than cower at a mass of information visitors will instead be put at ease and encouraged to delve deeper into the site.

A tried and tested formula, this technique has long been used in traditional print. The likes of billboards and magazines tend to hone in on a single image, its impact powerful enough to sell the product alone.

So how and where should we use space?

There are various ways to utilise the latter, a handful of which are outlined below:

Line spacing – in copy, and larger paragraphs in particular, it can prove tricky reading text that is closely laid out – both horizontally and vertically. Therefore suitable line height and word spacing should be applied.

Messaging – whether it’s around your logo, strapline or calls to action (CTA’s) ensure text is never squashed in. This is especially pertinent on images intended to downsize for smaller screens.

Navigation – Your menu and links are the only way users can navigate around your site. Given this fact such items must remain prominent and spacious so to ensure ease of use. This is vital for menus that contain padding between links; be sure never to merge one into another.

Phone-May-29Are You Responsive?

There is also another reason to design spacious layouts, one that concerns the buzz phrase of the moment – responsive design.

As designers, we are ultimately charged with taking multiple content elements and presenting them not only on large desktop screens but tablets and mobiles also.

With the likes of menus, imagery and videos to consider this can prove quite the challenge, particularly for handheld devices.

The process is simplified once the desktop design is encompassing greater space, enabling the content to re-order and scale accordingly.

So think about giving your content the chance to breathe and in turn a better chance of being understood. Do not allow visitors to miss the key, salient messages and leave the site confused… you simply can’t afford to!

To find out more about the web design services we offer, contact us online or call us on 01202 684 009 and we’ll be happy to help!

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