Benefit from White Space and Boldface

White Space.  Boldface.  These are two tools that, when used correctly, will get your web copy read and reacted to.

At the root of this is scanning.  Your website visitors scan what you’ve put on their computer screen instead of reading it.  It’s sort of like natural speed-reading, where our eyes tend to dart around, landing on pictures or words that are interesting or attractive.  Often, your eyes will dart around without any conscious effort on your part.

For example, have you ever noticed how you probably have to force your brain and your eyes to actually read every word of web copy if you’re really looking for something?  I’ll tell you, I often give up … if I am looking for something specific, I’ll use my browser’s “Find” feature.

So, for instance, if you have a lot of copy to post, it’s all too easy for it to look like this:

+1 sed tofu labore cliche stumptown banh mi viral.  Laborum nulla nisi non, occaecat nesciunt four loko readymade mlkshk scenester artisan. Skateboard tempor shoreditch, commodo cliche dolore vice duis ea minim nihil cosby sweater craft beer blog sustainable.  Jean shorts cred trust fund hoodie, mustache placeat aute cliche laboris four loko DIY culpa messenger bag shoreditch.  Tempor iphone 8-bit, enim 3 wolf moon skinny jeans DIY consectetur high life.  Retro portland esse, veniam odio cardigan elit mlkshk cillum laborum marfa williamsburg argyle sweater stumptown.  Duis fugiat biodiesel minim quis, tumblr irure veniam gentrify mcsweeney’s enim wayfarers wes anderson dreamcatcher sustainable.  Leggings squid minim shoreditch, eu labore commodo wolf irony est placeat anim raw denim velit.  Fugiat vice letterpress officia hoodie, twee odio.  Cosby sweater elit brunch, eu echo park squid consectetur wolf ea aliquip vero.  Cosby sweater lomo four loko, consectetur fugiat et Austin in tattooed you probably haven’t heard of them.  Gluten-free vice chambray, shoreditch veniam magna elit dolore.  Ex dreamcatcher before they sold out, tumblr velit consequat keytar put a bird on it vegan vice chambray quis vero sandals. Sint odio aliqua proident carles locavore.

If you wrote it, it makes sense to you.  However, if you’re looking at it for the first time, you don’t have to have a learning disability for your eyes to jump around looking for something that makes sense … in other words, you’re looking for a place to start, so you can start making sense of what’s written.

However, if we break it up so it’s better organized:

+1 sed tofu labore cliche stumptown banh mi viral.

Laborum nulla nisi non, occaecat nesciunt four loko readymade mlkshk scenester artisan. Skateboard tempor shoreditch, commodo cliche dolore vice duis ea minim nihil cosby sweater craft beer blog sustainable.
 
  1. Jean shorts cred trust fund hoodie, mustache placeat aute cliche laboris four loko DIY culpa messenger bag shoreditch.
  2. Tempor iphone 8-bit, enim 3 wolf moon skinny jeans DIY consectetur high life.
  3. Retro portland esse, veniam odio cardigan elit mlkshk cillum laborum marfa williamsburg argyle sweaterstumptown.
 
Duis fugiat biodiesel minim quis, tumblr irure veniam gentrify mcsweeney’s enim wayfarers wes anderson dreamcatcher sustainable.  Leggings squid minim shoreditch, eu labore commodo wolf irony est placeat anim rawdenim velit.
 
Fugiat vice letterpress officia hoodie, twee odio.
    • Cosby sweater elit brunch, eu echo park squid consectetur wolf ea aliquip vero.
    • Cosby sweater lomo four loko, consectetur fugiat et Austin in tattooed you probably haven’t heard of them.
    • Gluten-free vice chambray, shoreditch veniam magna elit dolore.
 
Ex dreamcatcher before they sold out, tumblr velit consequat keytar put a bird on it vegan vice chambray quis vero sandals. Sint odio aliqua proident carles locavore.
 
Even if you don’t know what it means, all of a sudden it looks better organized and easier to read.  That’s not just because it’s organized; you’re using some white space, to give the words a neutral background to exist against.  White space is especially useful not just when you’re writing paragraphs like this … you want to make sure that the content on your website exists against enough of a neutral background.  Your site visitors will make better and quicker mental sense of your content if your site is a little on the boring side, and has plenty of white space.  Again, it doesn’t have to be white … you want that neutral space that doesn’t feel like it’s graphically taking up all the air in the room.

To really get people’s brains focused, use some boldface wisely.  Let’s take the same text from above, and highlight a few words….

+1 sed tofu labore cliche stumptown banh mi viral.

Laborum nulla nisi non, occaecat nesciunt four loko readymade mlkshk scenester artisan. Skateboard tempor shoreditch, commodo cliche dolore vice duis ea minim nihil cosby sweater craft beer blog sustainable.
 
    1. Jean shorts cred trust fund hoodie, mustache placeat aute cliche laboris four loko DIY culpa messenger bag shoreditch.
    2. Tempor iphone 8-bit, enim 3 wolf moon skinny jeans DIY consectetur high life.
    3. Retro portland esse, veniam odio cardigan elit mlkshk cillum laborum marfa williamsburgargyle sweater stumptown.
 
Duis fugiat biodiesel minim quis, tumblr irure veniam gentrify mcsweeney’s enim wayfarers wes anderson dreamcatcher sustainable.  Leggings squid minim shoreditch, eu labore commodo wolf irony est placeat anim raw denim velit.
 
Fugiat vice letterpress officia hoodie, twee odio.
    • Cosby sweater elit brunch, eu echo park squid consectetur wolf ea aliquip vero.
    • Cosby sweater lomo four loko, consectetur fugiat et Austin in tattooed you probably haven’t heard of them.
    • Gluten-free vice chambray, shoreditch veniam magna elit dolore.
 
Ex dreamcatcher before they sold out, tumblr velit consequat keytar put a bird on it vegan vice chambray quis vero sandals. Sint odio aliqua proident carles locavore.

Again, the same set of gibberish … but the words about clothes and accessories are bolded.  Your brain naturally picks that up, and makes sense of it even before you’ve read a complete sentence.  We made your brain make sense of gibberish just in how the copy was organized and highlighted!

Now that you have evidence of how white space and boldface work to help your website visitors mentally organize your copy, you’re going to remember to use them whenever you post content … right?

By the way, thanks to Hipster Ipsum for today’s overly cool gibberish.

Chris Miller

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