How to use space efficiently

Space is a very important design element. It’s not just emptiness. You can use the space inside the content area to separate and group information.

Do’s

  • Put space before and after the page title.
  • Put space above the heading.
  • Put space between paragraphs.
  • Put space into lists.
  • Put space around images.
  • Put space around buttons.

Don’ts

  • Don’t put space between the heading and the text.
  • Don’t put space between the instruction and the list.

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Name pages and sections

Take a critical look at your page names and section names.
Rewrite them if you cannot answer the fallowing questions with yes:

  • Is the page named clearly?
  • Does the page name use the site visitor’s words?
  • Is the page name as explicit as it can be?
  • Does the page name describe and summarize the page content?
  • Does the page name really match the content?
  • Does the page name contain the relevant keyword for this page?
  • Is the page name shorter than 60 characters?
  • Is the page name unique on my website?

Check also if the page names agree with each other:

  • Do they all use the same part of speech?
  • Do they all use the same verb tense?
  • Do they all use plural or singular?
  • Do they all use the same language?

Write your page names as clearly and explicitly as you can. Call each thing by its proper name and don’t use fancy or clever names. Jargon, visual metaphors, branding and marketing terms are not welcome on navigation menus.

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How to name pages

The page name is the title of your page and it has to be a clear description of the web page. The name must match the link your site visitors clicked on in the navigation. When they clicked on “About us” in the navigation they expect to end up on a page that’s named “About us” and contains content about your organisation.

Do’s

  • Make it bigger than the other titles on the page.
  • Use your site visitors’ words.
  • Start with relevant keywords in the first 11 characters.
  • Try to answer people’s questions.
  • Write descriptive titles: Call each thing by its proper name.
  • Be as explicit as you can. Don’t use “Massage” if you can use “Hot Stone Massage”.
  • Insert a call to action to get people to click through to your site (for search engine marketing).
  • Use short names with no more than 60 characters.
  • Summarize the page content in your page title so that the title makes sense even when the rest of the content is not available. Page titles are used for headings in search engine listings, browser bookmarks and RSS headlines.
  • Use names that agree with each other regarding: part of speech, verb tense, plural or singular, capitalization, language, number of words, length of words.
  • Use separations like – or / instead of words like “and” or “also”.

Don’ts

  • Don’t use the same title twice.
  • Don’t use two meanings in one page title.
  • Don’t use jargon: marketing slogans, industry terms, acronyms, slang.
  • Don’t use visual metaphors.
  • Don’t use fancy, or clever names.

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What to place in the content area

This area contains the main topic of your website. The content area provides the page name, the content and an update date. Large sites also provide breadcrumb navigation, jump-to-top links and paging navigation on the content area.

Mock-up with content area following web conventions

Click on the image to open the interactive mode

What’s the page name?

Page names are the street signs of the Web. Every page needs a clear and unique page name. It should be prominent and frame the rest of the content.

Where to place it?
Place the page name at the top of the content area. Use a different size, colour and typeface to make it clear that it’s the heading for the entire page.

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