Harnessing the Power of White Space: How Financial Advisors Can Elevate Their Digital Presence Through Design
In the world of design, white space is a powerful tool that often goes unnoticed. It’s that seemingly empty space between elements that can transform a cluttered design into an elegant and sophisticated one. As financial advisors, you may be accustomed to focusing on the “green” – the numbers, the investments, and the bottom line. But today, we’re going to take a break from that and shift our attention to the “white,” as we explore how white space can elevate your digital presence and captivate your clients.
So, what exactly is white space, and why should financial advisors care about it? White space in design comes in different forms and sizes, each serving a specific purpose. Active white space is deliberately added to highlight and structure your design. Passive white space, on the other hand, occurs naturally and adds elegance and sophistication. Together, active and passive white space work in harmony to create a visually appealing and balanced experience. Additionally, micro white space refers to the small gaps between design elements, influencing content legibility and comprehension. Macro white space, on the other hand, encompasses the larger gaps between major layout elements, acting as a container that enhances visual appeal and invites engagement.
Three Reasons Financial Advisors Should Care About White Space
Now, let’s dive into some specific examples of why white space is particularly important for financial advisors:
White space guides readers’ attention.
Did you know that users read only 20 to 28% of a webpage’s content? People are on a mission to find specific information, and they often rely on scanning techniques to quickly locate keywords or phrases that can point them in the right direction. This is where white space in design becomes crucial. By strategically incorporating white space, you can make your content more scannable, allowing users to easily identify and comprehend the key information they’re seeking. White space acts as a visual guide, drawing the eye to important elements and creating a seamless reading experience.
In the digital realm, financial advisors tend to share insights about weighty topics like the science of financial markets, tax code changes and arithmetic-filled retirement plan explorations. With that kind of writing, visual design, or video, what you don’t say is almost as important as what you do. That’s because “negative” space can also exist in the context of content – and not just in its design or layout. Being strategic about how you say what you say allows the reader to fill in the gaps, do their own qualifying research, and capitalize on your particular domain expertise to reach their financial goals. Of course, you should still use best practices like line spacing, font size, headers and bullets and bolding to separate text from background – but it helps to think holistically about the content as well as the design.
White space conveys expertise and inspires trust.
Imagine a client stepping into a cluttered advisor’s office—papers scattered, files overflowing, and chaos reigning supreme. Would it inspire confidence? Absolutely not! Now imagine that office is clutter-free, neatly organized, and designed to reinforce a sense of calm and order. This visual appeal creates a breath of fresh air amidst the chaos, instilling confidence in your clients. By incorporating white space in your design, you signal that you possess the expertise, organization, and attention to detail required to effectively handle their financial needs. It’s a subtle yet powerful way to convey professionalism and inspire trust in your abilities.
White space stimulates emotion, imagination, and engagement.
When we encounter areas of whitespace, our imaginations are triggered, leading to a stronger connection with the content. This natural tendency of our brains to make sense of what we see creates a narrative in our minds, allowing us to interpret design in a personalized way. For instance, consider an image of a professional woman managing her finances on a clean, minimalist digital interface. The surrounding white space creates a sense of openness and possibility, allowing our minds to fill in the gaps with personal narratives. Perhaps you envision her making smart investment decisions from the comfort of her sleek home office, or maybe she’s on the go, confidently managing her finances from her phone. The specific scenario doesn’t matter as much as the fact that your mind actively engages with the design. By strategically incorporating white space, you leave room for your clients and prospects to interpret and engage with your message on a deeper level, forging a stronger connection and leaving a lasting impression.
White space is not simply empty space to be filled. Rather, it’s a powerful design element that financial advisors can harness to elevate their digital presence. By using white space intentionally, you can guide your clients’ attention, stimulate their imaginations, enhance legibility, and exude sophistication and expertise.
Now, it’s time to put these insights into action. Take a look at your website, social media profiles, and any other digital platforms you maintain. Assess how white space is utilized and consider if adjustments can be made to enhance the overall design. Remember, a little white space can go a long way in creating a visually appealing and engaging experience for your clients.
So, what are some easy ways to add white space?
- First, focus on what type of content is being developed. Is it a short news blurb (300 words), medium form standard blog post (600-800 words), or a long-form article (1000+ words)? This will help determine the layout and number of sections.
- Reduce your sentence length. On webpages, you should aim for each line to have no more than 75-100 characters. That’s about 15-20 words.
- Optimize your paragraph sizes. Aim for 100-200 words a paragraph with a max of 5 or so sentences. Feel free to push a sentence that needs to be emphasized or that acts as your call-to-action to its own mini paragraph.
- Make your fonts readable. On web pages, your standard body text should be no smaller than 16px. Use sans-serif fonts for your body text (though you can experiment with serifs with your titles and headings). Use the right weight (is it too narrow/too bold), the right letter spacing (e.g., can you distinguish between r-n and m?), and the right line height (how bunched the letters are vertically).
- Try to make sure your body text is either black or black-gray. That’s #000 or #222 in hex format. This is a common mistake we see that instantly affects your content readability and causes visitors to spend less time on each page and bounce more often.
- Ensure you use visual dividers like big titles and headings tags (h1s and h2s are also key for SEO!), bolded words or sentences, bullets or numbered lists.
- Don’t hyperlink generic terms like “click here.” It’s not just bad for your SEO (lack of anchor text keywords), it also doesn’t give the reader any idea what the click-through represents at a glance.
- Focus on accessibility. Can visually impaired visitors quickly tab or press keyboard-down to scroll past your content or use a screen reader? Are the font sizes big enough? Is there enough contrast between the text and the background? Did you include captions in your videos for the hearing impaired? Did you test for the different forms of color-blindness (which creates the ultimate kind of clutter)? White space doesn’t just make your information more easily digestible, it also makes it more accessible to people of all walks of life.
Not sure where to start? Get in touch with our team today! In the digital age – where about half of all new prospects say they’ve eliminated an advisor from consideration based on their digital presence – the significance of your firm’s online persona is not something to leave to chance. Don’t let the clutter hold you back from success.