My previous article on information architecture dealt with planning the content properly. Now, that great content needs a great design to sit inside. This is where the web design part steps in and it is equally intricate. Many people will say "I don't know where to start." There is no requirement to be a professional designer to create a web site.
Designing the Elements of a Web Page - The important principles of white space (Page 5 of 6 )
White space is also known to designers as negative space; this arose from the practice of printing processes on white paper where certain portions of the page are left unmarked. This refers to margins of space between columns and lines, all working together towards the composition of the work page. This space is not just a blank area but an important part of the design, enabling the objects on the page to exist in a balance between the positive and negative spaces.
Apart from making room for future advertising, composition here is purely about making the pertinent areas stand out in succession of each other. Referring to the grid on page three, we've evenly spaced out the left hand side sub-menu for this section of the site, where you can read the sub-sections.
It is a mistake to put too much information on a page. Too many bunched up tabulated squares of data with fonts may look like a design error and this can lose your target audience's attention span. As can be seen on the grid, there is clearly space between the menus, the content and the graphical elements. This is the kind of web page composition which remains consistent throughout well-designed web sites.
It is very important to get the white space design correct at an early stage. As far as the future advertising spaces are concerned, the designer must ask a number of questions. Does it go under the title of the page? How is sponsorship integrated? Should this be placed in the flash header on each page? Should a small logo for sponsorship appear at the bottom of each page? Should I even bother....?
These are just some of the questions that one must face while trying to design the template using all the factors mentioned above and sticking with the underlying web design principles. The way to avoid making a cluttered site difficult to read is through being careful in the choice of font styles and text size. But white space must be used carefully because a page with too much white space can appear incomplete. Some pages may look this way initially.
Now that the main points for producing a good template have been covered, the next page offers a full template as an example.