I’m not a designer but after half a decade of designing websites, I became a little less shit at it.
I’m somewhere between 90s 3-dimensional skeuomorphism and the top content on Dribbble. You can decide.
Ask any designer what’s really important and they’ll tell you a few things -> functionality, user experience, story, and….. whitespace.
Whitespace is the area on a webpage where nothing exists. Due to current design trends, its color tends to be white or off-white, but could easily be black or red or blue.
Here is a screenshot of my Twitter feed.
Actual Twitter content is less than 33% of the page. The purpose of whitespace is so your eye knows where to look based on the hierarchy of what’s most important on the page. If you fill that Twitter screenshot with 2 more columns of different information – it becomes very confusing and overwhelming.
During the first week of my move to Pennsylvania, I sat on a park bench and wrote all my values. The one most surprising? Whitespace.
Back to the Twitter example, I have three purposes for opening the app.
1. To learn
2. Pleasurable relaxation
3. To fill the whitespace.
That third one is the problem. To word it better, “fill the void”. That void of stimulation when you’re waiting for your morning bagel to be ready, or for the doors to open on the elevator, ready to escape the crowd.
I’m beginning to believe that those moments are not meaningless, in the same way that 67% of Twitter’s whitespace is not meaningless.
In isolation, a rectangle of whitespace on Twitter has no meaning, but when you see the entire website – it has a full purpose. One needs to step back and see the entire picture.
I’m working on appreciating whitespace, and not filling it with clutter.
I want to see the meaning in everything I’m doing, and sometimes that means doing nothing at all during those voids of stimulation.
In those moments, shall I choose to fall victim to distraction, I’m doing nothing but confusing my overall purpose.