White space is the blank space, the empty space, between your content. Many people think this empty space is just a opportunity waiting to be exploited, eagerly awaiting the chance to cram as much content as possible into what’s left.
This is not a land to be conquered.
If that is your thought process STOP, back away from the keyboard slowly. White space or "negative space" is actually a tool in the fundamentals of both print and web design and is as easily as important as the content it surrounds. It’s the space we leave between all of your elements to give a layout elegance and clean form.
Unlike the dark days of Geocities and Angelfire more and more designers and developers are realizing the strength of clean minimalist design, designs that are user friendly and that take advantage of white space instead of seeing it as a liability, White space can be used and seen in headers, footers, between menus, between images and copy. White space is what gives your site its form. Keeping that in mind let’s talk about white space and designing for "above the fold"
The madness, THE MADNESS!
"Above the fold" is a term that first appeared and has been used in the newspaper industry since time immemorial, but it has found new meaning in web design. On the Web, it refers to the part of a Web page that appears in a visitor's browser without scrolling. It's the most visible and valuable part of the page.
Your first inclination is to fill that space with every piece of important content that you can muster and all to often designers will often over-stuff such small a space. Use restraint if your page is easy to read and pleasing to the eye people will be compelled to scroll down to dig deeper.
Some will say that people are busy and they only have precious seconds to absorb your content, so if its not all there to be seen then it wont be seen. Here is what will really happen, your site is going to look so cluttered and confusing that the info you were so intent on passing on will be ignored or unseen all together, trust me on this, restraint is key here.
If you take away anything from this weeks post it would be remember the value of white space. It makes your page look more attractive, professional, and legible. All are key components of a successful Web site!
(Remember that white space doesn’t need to be white, it may be any color, as long as it is empty. )