At Engage Sports our entire day is spent managing and developing websites for youth sports associations and leagues. After working with and improving youth sports association websites from across the country we have seen the great, the good, the bad and the ugly. Moving a site from bad or ugly to good or great can boil down to focusing on just a few critical design elements. To help sports association and league administrators improve their sites, here are 5 critical mistakes in sport association website design that should be avoided at all cost.
1. Using too many font colors. While rainbows are beautiful in the sky, when it comes to websites a rainbow of colored fonts is very hard to read. Often a change in font color is used to call attention to an important detail within a longer string of text, such as a date, amount, location, etc. Colored font can be used, but use it sparingly. The main copy of your site should be black text on a light background, which makes for ease of reading. Call out important words with color, not entire sentences and use the same color throughout the site when trying to call attention to something. In that way, your visitors will be able to spot important elements with ease.
2. Using too many font sizes. As with color, too much of a good thing is bad. The same holds true for font sizes. We have seen sites where the screen becomes a jumble due to sentences all in different fonts (and colors!) which make for very difficult reading. The visitor’s eyes are literally climbing mountains of text and becoming fatigued. This causes poor comprehension, dissatisfaction and early web page exit. The best sites are clean with strong headlines in a larger font (14-16pt) followed by text in 11-12pt font.
3. Not mobile responsive. According to a recent study posted in MarketingLand.com, over 60% of all internet traffic is mobile-based. That means 60% of your website visitors are accessing your site from their mobile phone or tablet. A mobile viewer will become quickly frustrated if a site is not mobile responsive, which means the layout automatically resizes and restructures based on the viewing device. Trying to scroll around a big site on tiny screen is a major pain. If your site is not mobile responsive, move to a new platform that is mobile responsive. Your visitors will thank you!
Download our guide: Taking a Mobile Responsive Approach to Web Design
4. Out of date content. It is now 2015, there is no reason to have season updates on your site from 2012! Old content makes a site overly busy and complex and it sends a signal that the site administrators are either not on the ball, or they don’t care about site quality. Sure it is easier to leave old content there, but for the sake of a clean, well-organized and effective sports association website – keep it fresh!
5. Confusing navigation. What are the two most frequented areas of a sports association website? Registration and Schedules. So, why would these highly used sections be buried under About? Determine which areas of your site are most frequently used and make sure they are prominently displayed in the navigation. Your site provider should have the ability to tell you which pages of your website are most frequently used. If you don’t have this luxury ask some of your users via a survey or just in passing conversation at your next event.
As the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so make sure you ask many “beholders” for their thoughts. It’s great to get direct feedback from your coaches, parents and staff on their use of your website, so be sure to ask often and be open to their ideas and by avoiding the 5 critical mistakes on sports association website design, your site will be more pleasing to visitors and more effective in its mission.