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Upper Hand

Sports Management Blog

Sports Website Design Built for Short Attention Spans

Posted by Upper Hand | Dec 12, 2017 9:06:00 AM

How much time do you think your sports website design has to grab and, more importantly, keep your visitors’ attention?

A minute? Two minutes?

Try eight seconds.

Research has indicated that the human attention span is growing shorter, likely due to the influence of instant-gratification technology. While it's difficult to put a pin on the precise amount of time one's attention can focus on a single task or concept, the notion that we're more easily distracted isn't a hard sell - especially while we're browsing the internet.


The importance of attention-grabbing web design cannot be overstated, which is probably why you're starting to see more and more websites using techniques which draw the eye and excite the senses.

However, is getting the visitor's attention the most important thing?

We would argue that no, in fact it isn't.

You need to capture your visitors’ attention, yes. But the more important thing is to hold their attention.

Grab Their Attention First...

Attention-grabbing web design techniques for sports websites might include:

  • Color contrast. The color scheme of your website matters. If it reflects your sport academy colors or brand's color palette, that's generally a good thing - but if there's an element that you need your visitors to pay attention to (such as a sign up call-to-action or calendar of upcoming events), using a contrasting color for this element can draw the eye.
  • Strategic use of white space. White space is the absence of color or other design elements (note that it doesn't necessarily have to be white, we're just talking about a solid color). When there's a large swath of "openness" in a design, the things that are placed into that space take more importance. Do this by adding additional section padding.
  • Humanization. Or rather, adding more pictures of humans: we're drawn to faces in particular. In Roger Dooley's neuromarketing opus Brainfluence, the author discusses the results of an online marketing experiment in which an image of a baby was used. When the baby was "looking" at a sign-up form, rather than just including the sign-up form image, conversions increased dramatically.
  • Implementation of eye-tracking data. Eye-tracking studies have been conducted in relation to how people read online for over a decade. The results indicate that people tend to pay more attention to the beginning (top) of a website or article, skim, and then refocus the bottom. The most important calls to action (CTAs) should thus be at the top or bottom - and usually peppered throughout the body as well for good measure.

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These are just a few examples of concepts we may be thinking about while designing your website. But we're even more concerned with how to keep your visitors’ attention, because that's what converts visitors into leads and paying clients!

...And Then Actually Hang On To It

Keeping the visitor's attention can be accomplished in many ways, but the most popular and effective is perhaps making the website feel "tangible." Buttons are large and hard-to-miss, and important navigation tools (links to different pages of the site and so on) are grouped together in an intuitive manner that makes staying on the site the natural course of action for the visitor.

Using emotionally charged or "powerful" words in the headlines and copy of your website will result in visitors wanting to stay longer, read more, and learn about your training and organization long enough to take an action.

Finally, and this one may sound a little counterintuitive, but reduce the amount of choices your visitors have. Called decision paralysis or analysis paralysis, when a user is given too many options, they're less likely to choose one. This is particularly important for sports organizations that offer multiple tiers of paid memberships and training types - try to keep your focus on three or less main selling options.

Learning More About Sports Website Design

If you'd like to learn more about website designs optimized for the short attention span era, we'd love to start a conversation with you. Learn more about our sports website designs here or download our free webinar on increasing conversions on your sports website.

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Topics: Marketing, Websites & SEO

Written by Upper Hand

Upper Hand simplifies front and back-end office tasks for sports businesses, provides cutting-edge marketing tools and offers business intelligence that enables unsurpassed performance for its customers. Customized software and pricing are fit to each individual’s sports business needs with the objective of helping every customer grow their business.