What Is the Use White Space in Your Web Design?

White space also called as negative space is a very vital component in web development. White space if used in the right manner provides great visual appearance to the website. Before knowing how this can be used in web design, let’s understand what exactly it is?

It is the spacing between different elements on a web page. These spaces do not have content and also they do not have to be white in color. Rather it can be of any color or simply be the gradients, patterns or background objects.

What are the uses of White Space?

Improved Readability

Unlike the texts on other platforms, say a book or newspaper, the content on website has to be treated in a different manner. It is very important that the visitors on your website find it easy to read the content on your web page. Web designers pay special attention to this one point. They use negative space as a buffer to avoid the web page look cluttered at the same time make the content more readable.

Sharp Content Hierarchy

A web design which lacks sharp spacing and hierarchy is sure to be unimpressive. But with white space you can clearly differentiate between different elements on the web page. By increasing or decreasing the visibility of certain elements on the page, web designers can make elements like logo, navigation, headers and image slideshows in a clear hierarchy giving a unity of form to the web design.

This way all the elements on the web page will also gain an aura of importance, making it attractive for the end-user. If used in a loose manner, the white space might shift focus of the content and thereby become less effective.

Balancing Act

Web development is all about maintaining a fine balance among all the elements of the web page. It basically involves designing a web page in such a manner that each element gets its due space and importance. The visitor should not be bombarded with images or get carried away by one specific element on the web page. Negative space helps in differentiating between the header, footer as well as middle-ground content areas.

At the same time there are many websites where this has not been used in the right manner, giving the whole website cluttered look. Therefore it is crucial that you take the services of experienced web developers to get a balanced web design for your website.

Sophistication

Ultimately all the website owners want their website to look sophisticated. This can be easily achieved by using the negative space in an intelligent manner. One of the best uses is to add an element of sophistication on the web page can be seen on the webpage of Apple. They have strictly followed the dictum of “less is more” through which not only do they communicate what they want to, but also do it in a sophisticated manner.

If used in the right manner, white space can add an edge to your web design and help you garner better traffic and conversion rates. Power your website with effective use of negative space and see the change in your business.

Importance of Browser Compatibility in Web Design

Though browser compatibility is an important part of successful web design, I found that most of the clients are ignorant of this fact. Throughout my career in web development I found very few client who mention this aspect in their requirement document. I shall not hold them solely responsible for this. I came across many colleagues (web programmers) in my tenure in the field of web design who also do not take proper care of this aspect.

Now I shall explain the browser compatibility issue from my experience. Hope you will enjoy the reading and it will be helpful for you in future.

What happened when a viewer opens a web page? He sends the request to open a particular web page by giving the URL (universal resource locator) in the form of “http://www” (http means hyper text transfer protocol and protocol means rules) to the server via a software application. This software application is called the ‘Browser’. Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari etc. are the examples of such browsers. The browser connects the server through the Internet gateway. We send the request to the modem through the computer’s IP number.

Modem sends the request to the ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) IP number and finally connects it to the Domain Name Server (DNS), the server which keeps the mapping of the IP and the Domains). After connecting the web page, ISP sends the contents of that web page to the requesting computer through the browser. Whatever may be the form of the info, it comes in the form of html (hypertext mark-up language) only and the browser converts this html to normal output what we understand. That is why html is called a client side scripting language. So, a visitor can open a web page using any of the well-known browsers he likes. The choice of the browser may vary according to the availability of the browser, using habit of the particular cluster of viewers etc.

Here lies the basic problem. Because each browser does not read the HTML code in the same fashion and you, being the site owner, do not have any control on which Internet browser will be used to view your site.

What may happen if a website is not built compatible to multiple browsers?

Non-compatibility to multiple browsers normally does not effect the functionalities of a website. Rather it mostly affects the design view of a site, which creates the first long lasting impression on a viewers mind. A website may be displayed perfectly in a particular version of IE, but may look much different in Fire fox and even in other versions of IE also. The whole thing depends on the level of complexity of the design. In case of simple designs, if some conventions like W3C validation and standard resolution of 1024 pixels X 768 pixels are followed during the development process, normally it does not create any problem. But in case of a complex design, lot of other things should be taken care of. Now, to the best of my ability I shall try to write down some suggestions for the site owners and the web designers. It is nothing new; but may act as a reminder during the development process.

My suggestions for the website owners: It is a common practice for a good web development company to make all the websites compatible to two major browsers, named Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. Still I like to say a few words to the respectable site owners.

Don’t forget to mention this aspect in your work specifications document.

Set your target audience and try to anticipate their browsing habits. Suppose your target audience is the viewers of Western Europe and there, viewers prefer Safari to IE or Mozilla. Then you have tell your website designer to make it compatible to Safari and at least another one of global acceptance like IE and Mozilla. You may have your website compatible to more than two browsers at time. But it may cost you few bucks more.

My suggestion for the web developers: Even if your client doesn’t mention anything about the browser compatibility or is ignorant of the fact totally, it is your moral obligation to make it compatible to the most frequently used version of IE and Mozilla (IE 6.0 & Mozilla 3.0). If the client is specific about his choice of browsers then get relaxed. There are many tools available that will help you to make your Website compatible to multiple browsers. Alternatively you can download a version each of the browsers you need and test your Web site in each of them. It is important to know that most of the discrepancies you will find are because of the different ways the browsers handle erroneous code.

Always try to get the HTML coding of your website W3C validation by using validating tools.

Develop the web site of your client by setting your computer’s resolution to 1024 pixels x 768 pixels. This resolution is fairly common and should take care of almost all your visitors, including those using wide screen monitors and laptops.

It is a common practice for the web programmers to apply CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) for designing purposes. They develop many CSS classes that are applied to different HTML components. While creating a CSS class remember that a single CSS class may behave differently in different browsers. So you have to develop a CSS class in such a way, that in different browsers the HTML output looks alike and get it tested properly before implementation of the same.

Above all keep the design structure as simple as possible. It will help you to sort out the browser compatibility factor easily.

How Can Delay in Upgrading to a Responsive Web Design Hamper Your Business?

The Marketers of today look at responsive web design as an essential tool for improving web traffic and increasing customer pool. It is not without a reason, as smart phones and other mobile devices are rapidly taking over as the primary channel for browsing the internet. The companies and businesses that have been quick to adapt and switch to responsive web design have been able to gain a substantial lead over their competitors that will help them stay ahead for a long time.

The business world has always been like this, even when the communication channels were not as advanced as they are now. It is never easy to catch-up when you allow too much of an advantage to the competitors by being slow or hesitant on the uptake. The best way is to avoid such a situation, rather than finding ways by which you can take back the lost ground, and to stay ahead, or at least, in line with the current norms or requirements of the market.

For staying ahead, the businesses need to analyze the demands, behaviors and preferences of their target markets, something that they sometimes fail to do and lose market share. The changing preferences of the customers can be an opportunity to get ahead of the competitors and can also be damaging, depending on how the businesses react to them. Quick analysis of the requirements and implementation of the actions can help the businesses get a considerably greater market share, whereas a delay in doing so will allow the competitors to benefit from the situation.

One such opportunity that has presented itself to the marketers and business owners is the increased usage of mobile devices for website viewership. What makes it an opportunity too good to miss, is the fact that it is not too costly for them to upgrade their web development to responsive designs. So all businesses, whether new or old should understand the importance of this opportunity and plan their web development and design a website according to the market needs without any delay.

An important factor that can stop business owners from switching to responsive web development is that it requires investment. What they need to know is the fact that this will bring definite improvements in their revenues in quick time, bringing them the ROI. Another important fact to understand is that usage of mobile devices is not a trend that will fade away, but it is a reality that is to stay and right actions taken today can benefit the business in the long run.

So, by going through the arguments, we can conclude that the businesses must design a website, or approach a web development firm that can help them in getting a responsive web design sooner than later, as further delay can seriously damage the results.