The Tactical Use of Whitespace in Web Design

Silence between notes in music creates a rhythm that seizes our attention. When a speaker pauses in the middle of a sentence, we eagerly anticipate their next words as we imagine what they might say. White space between objects makes them stand out better and seem more attractive. Visit an art gallery and you will see this is action. Web developers use whitespace in web design to direct our thoughts too.

Commercial White Space in a Brick and Mortar World

Paper and ink newspapers are tables with blocks of content fitted in. If there were no space between the blocks, the content would be jumbled and hard to read. Where space is at a premium, editors compensate with headings and line spacing. In upmarket magazines, they use generous whitespace for elegant effects.

The Tactical Use of Whitespace in Web Design

Of course, whitespace in web design does not have to be white. The term comes from the color of newsprint, which is light. In web design, any background color serves as ‘whitespace’. If it is dark, we can create stunning effects. If the background is light, it fascinates us. Consider this page


Notice how the whites pace draws our eye directly to the video set dead center in the page. And the four intriguing boxes below it. There is no need for a written call to action. We are going to play that video; it is just a question of when.

This features a generous of use white space because this is a landing page, not a content page. Then peripheral information was added in soft blue and orange hues. The overall effect is ‘please come in, you can trust us’. How do you achieve this effect?

The Psychology of Closure

We all have an inbuilt desire for completeness, and balance. When we tie a loose shoelace, we usually do the other one too. When we see the Apple logo, we notice the fruit, not the bite. When you see the Chanel logo, do you sense the circles or the letters first? You most likely saw the circles because of your desire for closure.

Psychologists believe our desire for closure is the spark behind our creativity. A blank canvas inspires an artist to add a picture. A new document invites a writer to start typing. Try watching a video with the sound turned off. We can’t stand incompleteness. Our search for it is an obsession.

Drawing the Threads Together

Whitespace creates order in content. It would be difficult to read this document if there were no line and paragraph spacings. However, there is more to it than that. Whitespace in web design is an opportunity for our visitors to pause and think. When they pause and think, they become creative just like the artist.

For a nano second, our visitors fill the silence in the space with their expectations. Tactical whitespace in web design involves placing these pauses at critical decision points.
The Bridges to Recovery website offers care, compassion and healing to people passing through, and recovering from psychological trauma. We placed the invitation to enter in an acre of whitespace. Because we understand that it’s a commitment that their clients need to think about.

3 Decades of Evolution of Web Design

What do the Internet – also called the World Wide Web – and Baby Boomers have in common? Some older readers may say ‘not an awful lot’, thanks to resistance-to-change labeling, but they would be wrong. Come join us and find out more, as we celebrate over three decades of the evolution of web design.

Regarding the Internet versus Baby Boomers question, astonishingly, the two concepts came about at about the same time, circa 1950. The Internet evolved from the introduction of the first electronic computers during the mid-twentieth century. This in turn led to the development of packet networking, that early ancestor of the Internet.

To qualify as a “Baby Boomer” you should not be younger than 57 years old – as in born during or before 1960. Set the time machine to return to 1945 to establish the upper-age limit of this exclusive club. The Baby Boomer generation came into being in 1945, with the signing of peace treaties and the conclusion of World War 2.

I digress – you will be pleased to know this article is the work of a genuine Baby Boomer!

Evolution of Web Design – The 1980s

During the 1980s, UK computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee completed important research at CERN laboratory – the European Organization for Nuclear Research – in Switzerland. What eventually emerged from Berners-Lee’s painstaking research was the World Wide Web, or at least an early rendition thereof – call it V1 of the Internet. This pioneering network we dubbed V1 enabled the linking of hypertext documents into open-sourced information, accessible from any station enabled on the local area network at CERN.

For Those Old Enough! The 1990s

If, like me you were computer savvy in the early 1990s, you will recall that it was at about this time the first commercial offerings of the World Wide Web caught our attention. The introduction of this new concept we call the Internet, has gone on to make by far the biggest impact on the collective since the Industrial Revolution. “Viral” is the right word to use, because the WWW directly affects every facet of our lives. Try to imagine life without the Internet – OMG!

The Not-So New Millennium

Since the year 2000 dawned on us so dramatically, more than 3 decades of evolution of web design has revolutionized the way we live. It now dominates every sphere of life:

¬ Communication
¬ Commerce
¬ Industry
¬ Finance
¬ Culture
¬ Trade

In fact, I challenge you to name a space where the World Wide Web has not made a significant contribution.

A Modern-Day Case Study

Talking about evolution of web design, let’s fast-forward and discover how the Internet assists modern-day businesses in the real world. I came across many examples of go-ahead web designers providing kick-ass websites for all manner of businesses. Operating in the virtual world, means providing modern-day, state of art web design to suit client needs. View this link and expand your mind!

Thought provoking: What has your generation done towards making a better world or WWW?