Ah, white space: it’s one of the most subtle, yet essential components of compelling design.
As you may have noticed, Athens Unearthed’s site has recently undergone a slight makeover, the biggest change being white space (or, empty space) along the edges of our desktop site. If you want to get a little more technical, the main content portion of the site has been restricted to a maximum width of 1440 pixels (which is why some users with smaller browser windows might not notice a change). The decision was made by myself and Emily Daffron, as we both agreed it greatly improved AU’s layout.
But why dedicate more of our site’s layout to less content (no content, at that)? Our previous layout extended our tiled feature images out to the edges of the browser window at all widths. While this made our images large and compelling, it tended to choke up the screen. The eye naturally seeks contrast, and without white space the tiles almost seemed to blend together. What’s more, the larger the tiles, the more the eye has to move when looking from one to the next.
The addition of white space past 1440 pixels adds shape and structure to our our article’s feed, and condenses information into an area that the eye has an easier time navigating. Ever wonder why news platforms like NPR, Buzzfeed and the New York Times have similar empty space on the sides of their websites?
“Content Is King” wrote Bill Gates–and I agree. But a little strategically-placed white space is a must if you don’t want your content to be overwhelmingly large and tedious to navigate.