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Payday Loan Blog - White Open Spaces

 Tuesday, 09 January 2007

One of the things that separate a good web design from a great web design is the appropriate use of whitespace throughout a site. Not only is the use of this particular element visually pleasing, it also helps your visitors easily identify which items they should pay attention to and where to go when they are ready to apply for a payday loan.

So… What is Whitespace Anyhow?

Whitespace is somewhat of a misnomer, since it technically doesn’t have to be white at all. Take the current rendition of Payday Loan Affiliate for example – the left and right margins are a deep blue color, so if I wanted to go and add more content it would be wise for me to increase the spacing between the elements by adding more blue space in between the objects/text/whatever I’m adding. This helps to avoid a cramped feeling that can result from the would-be information overload that occurs from having too much text in one place.

Now that we understand that whitespace doesn’t necessarily have to be white, I’m going to start calling it negative space – a lesser-known but far more accurate synonym for this design element.  Negative space is just the base color of your document or of the area in which you are working; a good example would be the margins which are blue and would require more blue between items for negative space vs. the man blog area which is white and would require more white between elements.

Some Negative Space Examples

One of the genres of website that bugs me the most for egregious non-use of negative space is that of real estate. Webmasters have long used the same three templates to put together a site, which is all well and good but are they making the most of their space? Here are some examples, good and bad…

Good Examples

  • Coldwell Banker – various background colors with lots of space around each. A client can immediately identify the actions required of them with just one glance.
  • Century21 - I like what they’ve done here given their color scheme of brown, gold and more gold. They’ve separated their visitors into two categories with a bold color (people searching and people who have already found a property/are registered users); they then balanced out the “heaviness” of the top of the page with a nice gold fade-out at the bottom, using lots of space between the text so as not to overuse the color and allow for readability.

Could Use Improvement…

  • – Graphics are really close to one another and the sea of links toward the bottom of the page makes my eyes gloss over.
  • Remax - This is one of those situations where whitespace should actually mean white space. The use of blue and red primary colors (more on color) increases the contrast but is also a little hard on the eyes. Changing the search area to a white-based background would provide a shelter from these otherwise intense colors and would help direct attention to the search feature on the page.

Now let’s take a look at different ways of framing objects and text using color and negative space in concert. Here are three examples of the same cash advance image that use varying levels/types of negative space:

Text on an image, no major changes

Asymetrical whitespace box used to frame image and text

White area used to contrast text and frame image

The first image makes little change to the original background graphic, but as you can see the strength of “cash advance” seems to get lost since there isn’t enough variance in the image to call attention to it. The second image uses a bit of white to frame the graphic in a non-symmetrical fashion; this causes the viewer to focus on the image and in doing so the cash advance phrase. This works, but it’s still a tad dark for my taste. The third and final graphic uses white to isolate the two main themes of the image – the phrase “cash advances” and the picture of money. This is bold and to the point, but most importantly nothing gets washed out and the purpose/message of the graphic is loud and clear.

Related Reading:

- Blumey

Tuesday, 09 January 2007 12:13:42 (US Mountain Standard Time, UTC-07:00)  #     

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