White space is so important for ecommerce websites in creating visual pauses and cues within your content. In this article we look at what white space “looks like” and beats busy design every time.
Have you ever been gripped by an incredible speaker? Someone who uses pauses for dramatic effect, and delivers key messages with impressive emphasis? They also stop speaking, simply to draw your attention back.
Now think about that in terms of your website. Could the same lessons be used to make it more memorable and high impact? Can you grab and hold attention better, using a visual “pause”? The simple answer to that is an emphatic yes!
It’s called white space.
For consistent and measurable website performance, white space can be almost as important as the images and other content you use!
White space is not always white
Imagine a web page that is totally crammed with multiple images, big blocks of text and worse still a myriad of different fonts. Add in motion graphics and pop-ups, and the website becomes like a visual assault course.
With far too many entry points and distractions, your visitors are highly likely to give up and click away.
The opposite of this is a web page that has intuitive layout design, making it easy for your eye to travel across. You can instantly see strong sales propositions and the information you need to compel you to click deeper into the site.
Often, it is the white space between images and text that serve this function. Think of it as strategic gaps – because white space can be any colour under the sun! It basically means a defining space; there to emphasise important messages and guide visitors from one thing to the next.
Why is white space vital in ecommerce websites?
White spaces are vital to website UX (user experience). The easier you make it for your customers to scan your site and pick out what they need, the more chance there is they will stay long enough to complete transactions.
White space increases online content comprehension by 20%
According to research, white space can increase online content comprehension by 20%. Translate that into effective sales and it’s a highly significant statistic.
White space is a tactic you can use to increase website speed
Remember, on average website visitors linger for no more than 15 seconds on each page (more detail about why a fast website is so important here). White space can make sure they see what you want them to see; quickly and effectively.
There’s another good reason not to cram your website with maximum content and heaps of whistles and bells. It slows it down. If your website is slow to load or clunky to navigate, it will be another reason your lead conversion rates drop.
Remember, less is more
With website design, often “less is more”. Customers don’t want gimmicks and flowery or abstract content. They demand that you get to the point quickly.
A company that makes its point succinctly and with impact is likely to earn respect. No edifice or over the top special effects. Just clean, clear reasons why they should buy from you.
It could even be argued that white space lends you an air of authority and reliability. It can make your website look far more professional and well planned.
Using white space to best effect
Leaving a lot of random gaps and spaces on a website layout is easy. In fact, poor quality web designs do this anyway.
The negative space is sometimes a result of a designer trying to fit your content into a rigid website design template. Or, due to a shocking lack of creative ability!
Ill-judged gaps can be counterproductive. They interrupt the smooth flow of your page visually. Think of them not as “white spaces” but as holes, that lose attention rather than reinforcing it!
Using white space well is a specialist design skill.
It is a fluid process, that builds the strong content it supports. It balances out the whole layout and makes page navigation effortless.
Well-thought-out white space fits around columns, between lines of text and separates out graphics to make them easier to see and read.
How much white space is best?
Judging the amount of white space you’ll need will depend on the content on your ecommerce website.
Good ecommerce web design is a mixture of impactful content (text, images and videos) and the right amount of spacing to ensure your website visitors take the action you want them to take.
Your customers need to be able to comprehend every element on your site. If everything is squeezed together to tightly, every element on your site fights for attention.
How do your combined elements sit together
Pay attention to combined elements such as product tiles. A product tile is a mixture of a product image, product title and any other information such as the price.
Usually product tiles are featured on home pages, product category pages and amongst other content on your site. Usually you’ll have multiple product tiles, and therefore they can end up fighting for attention.
Look at the 2 examples below, which is easier to read?
Pauses (white space) deliver high impact
A good principle to remember when thinking about how much white space to use is – knowing when to pause.
Every design element (visible and invisible) in ecommerce websites should act like an experienced speaker; one who pauses for dramatic effect in order to deliver with high impact.