How Much White Space Is Too Much?

Description: Everyone has different ideas about what makes up a good looking web page. But the issue of white space isn't always talked about that much. So how much is too much, and how do you know when you've crossed the line?

To a certain extent, the issue of how much white space you should have on your website is largely down to personal taste. We all know it when we see too little white space; when it gets crowded out due to content, adverts, images and all kinds of other things clamoring to get your attention, you know that white space took on the battle and lost dismally.

But is it possible to go too far in the other direction?

In a word, yes. But there is no defining amount of white space that we can point to in order to figure out which website has too much and which one doesn't. The real answer to the question is slightly more complicated than that.

It's more a question of balance and location rather than anything else. We've all seen web pages which conform to the minimalist approach to web design and have plenty of white space - and yet they look perfectly okay. Yet another website can have half the amount of white space that the first site has and it looks way too much.

Why is this? It's all to do with balance. Let's say the first website we spoke about in our example has a percentage of 50% white space on a single web page, but the second website only has 20%. Fair enough - now let's take things a step further.

The 50% of white space on the first site is evenly distributed all over the web page, separating text and images efficiently and giving a minimalist but balanced look to the page.

Now let's compare this to the second site, where things look slightly different. Here, the 20% of white space is mostly on the right hand side of the web page. There seems to be a huge space there which is just waiting for something to come and fill it. Its very presence - even though it is less than half the size of the white space on the first site - draws your attention to it, and away from what the webmaster presumably wants you to look at, which is the content cowering on the left hand side of the web page.

Do you see how it's not the amount of white space that matters, but how and where you use it?

In short, you need to rely on your own instincts to tell you whether there is too much white space on your website or not. If you have too much, or it's in one specific place rather than evenly spread over a page, you will know instinctively that something seems off balance. Sometimes it might not be a case of having too much or too little white space, but whether it's in the right place or not. That's why balance and location matter more than the actual amount that you have.

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