07 september 2011

White space: Good taste, bad design

SINCE FEBRUARY 2011, Berlingske Tidende have been using a new design for their website (which, at the same time, changed its address to B.dk). The new design concept implies a generous use of white space.
In the Big Old Book of Good Taste in Graphic Design, white space is doubleplusgood.
But that book was written before the internet. And here you see what lots of white space may lead to – on a website:

OF COURSE, the white space policy is only one of the reasons why today’s B.dk completely falls apart.
Another part of the explanation is that Berlingske – like a lot of other newspapers around the world, worrying about how to make money in the media landscape of tomorrow – has decided to allow advertising on every available square millimeter of the computer screen.

THE RESULT IS DREADFULLY UGLY and confusing … and apparently, it does not even represent a viable business model. According to a recent Poynter study, ”clickthrough rates on banners are lower than low – 0.1 percent to 0.04 percent by various measures”.

WHO KNOWS, perhaps one day even advertisers will find out about this. And hopefully by then, more meaningful and visually appealing ways of distributing the limited screen space between commercial and editorial content will emerge and, eventually, prevail.
Until then, I guess we will have to live with sites like B.dk … or go somewhere else.

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