You’ve spent years in school learning your craft and even more time honing it. Whether you’re a dentist or plastic surgeon, as a medical practitioner your job before anyone even becomes a patient is to make people trust you to care for their health.
It’s often tempting to want to get a website put online quickly and load it full of all the information you can think about, but what if we told you that wasn’t the best idea? In order to establish trust with your website’s users, leads, and future patients it’s important that your website foster trust through clean design. Your website is what people see before they ever even make a phone call. It provides your first impression. What if we told you that in the world of medical website design the best medical marketing strategies include a well-designed website created to get you leads, beautiful images, quality content, and, most importantly, white space.
What is white space?
White space or negative space is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a completely blank area on your website. It has neither visual or written content. But white space isn’t just large blocks without content. It’s the space between images and content blocks on your website’s pages.
The other tricky thing about white space is it doesn’t have to be white. It can be any color, have gradients, and even light patterns and background objects as long as it’s free of visual or written content. A current trend in website design for medical practices is to include clean, sharp images that are slightly translucent as a website background or to fill white space.
White space is really the glue that brings your entire website together. It helps determine the flow of your website, how people view your website, and equally importantly how people experience your website. After all, a terrible website experience or crowded and overwhelming website both distract users and oftentimes cause them to leave your website (thus increasing your bounce rate and losing leads).
Here’s Why White Space is Important
When tossing around ideas for medical website design, it’s easy to want to put up every picture you have, create endless web pages, and a top level navigation users would need a GPS to get through. But before you do that stop and put yourself in the shoes of a new user. Much like an individual moving to a new city, too much at once can make you want to run home. It’s overwhelming.
White space helps calm new visitors down. It creates an open door. When implemented properly it helps them get a relaxed, professional vibe from your website that pushes them to continue to explore. Whether they’re checking out your services, trying to figure out how to contact you, or filling out a lead form, your ultimate goal is to keep people on your website.
Because your website is part of your medical marketing strategy, design elements such as white space should be used to complement the other elements of your website, including the images and written content. Your website could have a beautiful layout and poorly written content, and perform poorly. Similarly, it could have a bad layout and beautiful content and perform just as bad. It takes a combination of brains and beauty when executing a successful website design for medical practices.
The usability and readability of a website is also hugely benefitted by white space. When your line spacing, letter spacing, and surrounding space are balanced, people can read easier and faster. This is because the white space helps your brain differentiate between elements much easier.
Don’t Fear White Space
It’s really easy to feel like white space makes your website boring and less engaging. It’s even easier to think filling that white space with pretty pictures, lead forms, or widgets will make your visitors happy. But take a second to think about the last good website experience you had. Chances are it was clean, streamlined, and fun to engage with.
The written content was likely brief, to the point, and engaging. It probably was warm and made you instantly like the website you were on. Images were sized appropriately, clean, high definition, and laid out in such a way that they breathed. And the white space around pages and content was just right. It was so right that you didn’t notice it was intentional. It felt completely natural.
White space isn’t to be feared. It’s naturally soothing to visitors and helps to make them feel more comfortable and at home while visiting your medical practice’s website. It provides you with a unique way to leverage your existing content and highlight it. Make your content the star. Don’t crowd your website with unnecessary fluff that does nothing to benefit your users.
Keep White Space Balanced
While white space has its benefits, there are also downsides to it when it’s not used correctly. To function in such a way that it benefits the user, white space should be balanced. For example, if you placed a lead form on a web page, it doesn’t make sense to place a plain form on a page without anything else on the page. In addition to not making sense, the excess white space can actually distract people. The stark contrast actually makes users want to leave your site, instead of converting them into leads.
As you work on your medical website design, maintaining a balance between images, letter spacing, written content, line spacing, forms, and tables all influence the overall balance of your website.
Planning for White Space
When designing a website, it’s important to plan for white space. This takes a team effort and collaboration between your content creators and web designers. First and foremost it’s crucial that the front-end and back-end developers work together to discuss concepts, wireframes, padding, and margins, and line heights. This will help ensure there isn’t any confusion between the two and the design stays on point.
When working on your design it’s tempting to keep everything above the fold, however, content needs to be distributed evenly. Prioritize content and put the most important content and content that people want to see at the top.