How bad user experience is killing sports participation

Max McLoughlin

Have you ever considered the implications of user experience (UX) in the realm of sports participation? It's not a trivial matter. In fact, UX design can significantly affect the public's activity levels. Research from Sport England shows that 1 in 5 adults are put off from being active because of a poor online experience.

Decoding User Experience

User Experience, commonly referred to as UX, describes the overall experience a person has while interacting with a digital interface, such as a website or an application. An efficient, intuitive UX can create a positive experience, while a convoluted, frustrating UX can dissuade users.

The importance of User Experience

When it comes to finding and booking sports activities, the online experience falls far short of people's expectations in 2023, discouraging  20% of people from getting involved in sports and being active. Good UX design is crucial as it directly impacts user engagement. A well-designed interface can persuade a user to perform a desired action, such as subscribing to a service or signing up for an activity.

User Experience in Sports Industry

In the sports industry, UX design can be a decisive factor in engaging potential participants. Research shows that a staggering 75% of participants form an opinion about a sports programme within the first 5 seconds of visiting its website. A seamless booking experience can welcome newcomers, while a problematic UX can deter them from ever stepping foot in a sports facility. 

Unforeseen Consequences of Poor UX

One of the overlooked repercussions of poor UX is its impact on public health. Because booking a sports activity is perceived as an annoying task, people opt for easier to access, more sedentary activities (like watching Netflix), contributing to an unhealthy lifestyle. 

The Domino Effect on the Sports Industry

When the public is discouraged by a poor user experience, the sports industry suffers. Every individual deterred by a poor experience represents a missed opportunity to enhance community engagement, drive revenue, and improve public health.

Examples of Poor UX

Evidence of poor UX is not hard to find. It could be a frustrating navigation system, a tedious checkout process, or a non-responsive design that makes mobile booking nearly impossible. For example approximately 60% of participants abandon the sign-up process for a sports programme at the final hurdle if it is too complex or time-consuming.

Transitioning from Poor to Good UX

Improving a poor UX is an attainable goal. It involves personalisation, simplifying processes, adopting technology which your customers love to use (like Played). Research suggests that implementing personalisation strategies can in fact increase engagement by up to 19%. It all comes down to prioritising user needs and satisfaction. 

Learning from Successful UX Design

Successful UX design doesn't happen by chance. It's a product of continuous optimisation, user-centric thinking, and a commitment to accessibility. These factors combined can dramatically elevate a platform's usability.

The Future of Sports Booking User Experience

The future of sports booking UX looks promising. With the advancement of technology, the future UX is expected to be mobile-friendly, AI-assisted, and offer a seamless experience across different platforms.


In conclusion, poor UX in sports booking platforms can have far-reaching effects, even contributing to public health issues like obesity. However, by adopting a user-centric approach and leveraging modern technology, we can drastically improve the UX. This, in turn, will encourage more people to participate in sports activities and lead a healthier lifestyle.


What is User Experience (UX)?
  • User Experience, or UX, refers to the overall experience a user has while interacting with a digital system.
How does UX affect sports booking?
  • A good UX can encourage users to sign up for sports activities, while a poor one can deter them.
What are the implications of poor UX?
  • Poor UX can lead to decreased user engagement, missed opportunities in the sports industry, and even contribute to public health issues.
How can we improve UX in sports booking?
  • UX can be improved by adopting a user-centric design, simplifying processes, and leveraging advanced technologies.
What does the future hold for sports booking UX?
  • Future sports booking UX will likely be mobile-friendly, AI-assisted, and offer a seamless multi-platform experience.
How can we improve our UX? 
  • If you would like to discuss how to improve your user experience, please give me a shout at, I would love to chat. 

Newest posts

Get in touch
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Sign up today

An online home for all of your activities.

“Everything looks beautiful! It’s all so streamlined and professional”

Katie Hurst
Women & Girls Coordinator @ England Golf