Many web designers feel the need to fill the screen with their design. They avoid white space as if they’re masking a pixelated plague that threatens to thwart users, shepherding them away from their site and nudging them deeper into the ether of the internet, never to return.
But is white space really that bad? Should we fill every available pixel with ‘stuff’ in an attempt to create an engaging web site?
What User’s Want
Users want clever, content-rich websites, don’t they? They want colors, images, words, widgets, feeds, links, tools and ‘stuff’, don’t they? The more content, the merrier, isn’t it? If we can cram enough carrots on the screen and tantalize with enough temptations, we can encourage our users to spend, can’t we? Surely, the more content we have on our web pages, the more chance we have of keeping people on our site and converting them, right? Wrong. It’s all wrong.
In actual fact, when you avoid white space and remove the available screen real estate, you do the opposite of what you’re actually aiming for: you don’t encourage engagement and conversions at all. Instead, you distract.
Distractions aren't good when you're looking to convert your browsers into paying customers because distractions, well… distract.
When you start adding distractions in an attempt to meet every single need or want that every potential visitor might, at some point need or want, you end up sacrificing your user's experience. It gives your users more opportunities to get distracted and more chance to forget what they were doing and leave your site.
Embrace White Space
Showing some skin and being brave enough to embrace white space will actually help you increase conversions.
“But how can removing ‘stuff' and having less on our pages help us convert?”
Simple: by removing the irrelevant and focusing solely on your site or page’s objective1. Everything that’s not purposefully edging your user closer to a conversion is a distraction and is vulnerable to the chop. And be brutal because nothing else matters more than your single page objective.
Embracing white space also helps you design clean, focused and simple web pages that are esthetically pleasing. It helps you space things out and direct your users eyes towards relevant content. This, in turn, can help users feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed while they’re on your site, which genuinely can keep them on longer and nudge them along their path to purchase.
Users Want White Space
Users don’t really want clever websites. They don’t want to be overwhelmed. They may well be easily distracted, but providing willing distractions won’t help you increase conversions. Your users will only end up converting if you make things easy, simple and distraction-free. And you could do much worse than cleaning up your site and making more use of that white space.