I’ve been wondering about the concept of whitespace in web design. There’s no doubt it is an important aesthetic in design, but I wonder if its importance depends on cultural preferences. I examined four music portal sites:
Notice that the American and British sites both utilize whitespace whereas the Chinese and Japanese sites packed as much content into the page as possible. These are sites presenting similar content in a medium where space is not as a huge premium as print media. So is whitespace a *ahem*… western concept?
Living in America, I’ve been limited to designing and developing sites for the English speaking audience. I have very little knowledge of the usability preferences of Chinese and Japanese web surfers.
Anyone care to explain?
Update: This is not to say all Chinese and Japanese are designed like sardine cans. I just discovered iKnow and frankly, it’s one of the best web applications I’ve ever used. Granted, it’s developed by westerners based in Japan, but it’s a very well designed and developed site. Not to mention pretty damn useful.