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Create more accessible web pages by controlling negative space

Added on Thursday 16th of September 2010 03:54 am EST

Topping the list of important elements is perhaps the most unlikely design element of all: nothing. Well, we don’t mean nothing exactly, but rather, the empty space between the elements on your page—often referred to in design circles as white space or negative space. This space serves to separate your content and is the backbone of an accessible and visually pleasing website.

The benefits of negative space
In design, negative space has a number of benefits for the audience reading your text:
• It provides contrast between your page background and the other elements in your layout, as well as a resting point for the reader’s eye.
• The empty space around headlines and subordinate headings provides emphasis for the text weight and color against the page background.
• Page margins and column spacing enable the reader’s eye to follow the organization of your layout.
• Paragraph indents and space between paragraphs enable the reader to recognize changes in topic and mentally digest your text in sections.
• Leading—the space between lines of text within a paragraph— emphasizes the horizontal flow of text within a column
• Word spacing and letter spacing emphasize individual words.

Note: Though negative space is also known as white space, that doesn’t mean that it has to be white. White space can be any color.


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