White Space and Why it Matters

Have you ever visited a website and felt totally overwhelmed? You try to read the text, but there is so much on the page that you don’t know where to focus. Content providers are often inclined to fill every available space on the page with words, pictures, and special features. Call it being thorough. Call it comprehensive. But when it comes to design and functionality, less is often more.

White space, sometimes referred to as negative space, is simply space on a page that contains no content. It falls between lines of text, around paragraphs and columns, in margins, and around images. It does not have to be white. It can actually be any color or texture as long as it has no words or pictures. White space appears in both print and digital texts and is a critical part of your design and layout.

If white space is just empty space, why is it so important? White space not only helps make your material more accessible to those with visual disabilities, it benefits every reader.

Here are some of the advantages of incorporating white space appropriately:

  • Increases readability
  • Improves structure and grouping of your content
  • Makes pages easily scannable
  • Encourages focus (particularly for those with short attention spans)
  • Is easy on the eyes vs. overwhelming
  • Helps draw attention to important features more quickly
  • Provides a cleaner, more organized overall feel


White space is a powerful design tool. If you are curious whether your online materials use white space effectively, contact Emergent Learning today for a free evaluation of a sample of your content.