Short Attention Spans

Posted by Exhibitor Source on Sep 5, 2019 10:45:00 AM
Exhibitor Source
6 Tips for Overcoming Short Attention Spans

Human attention span is at its lowest ever (thanks to technology!).

According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in the year 2000. More shocking, perhaps, is the fact that recent research shows that the human attention span decreases by a staggering  88 percent each year. {GASP}

Take a minute to let that soak in. Then, think carefully about the implications of this for your content marketing strategy:

In a nutshell, this data suggests a couple of things:

  • People do not have enough patience to read through much content.
  • Even when people want to read your content, if it appears too comprehensive they won’t bother reading it at all.

With numerous exhibitors competing for their business, expo attendees usually make a sweeping glance of the room and a quick visual decision about who deserves their time and attention. For that reason, an effective booth design must pique curiosity, create interest and draw the attendees in.

Try the following booth design tips to make the most of your booth and your customers' time.

1. Feature New Products  

Be sure your latest and greatest products and services are front and center of your booth. They should be the first thing visitors see. Instead of leading with your company, lead with your best new offerings. Use front-of-booth podiums, islands, and fixtures to place the products (or at least pictures of them) or service literature. Attendees tend to be drawn to the new and shiny items at a trade show. Use this to your advantage!


2. Feature Best Sellers

New products are a great way to attract attention, but your best sellers still define your company in the eyes of first-time attendees. Make the most of your best sellers by highlighting them and displaying them prominently. Make sure your backwall display and your signage clearly and instantly communicate what your audience is looking for – the defining elements of your business. After drawing clients with these, you can re-direct them to new products or upgraded features.

3. Feature Sidewalls

If you have an inline display that uses a modular design, your booth sidewalls are going to be the first thing an approaching attendee sees. Capitalize on this! Decorate your sidewalls with the end goal in mind – heightening interest in attendees who might be across the aisle or the room. With sidewalls requiring them to come closer for a better look, you can use the rest of the booth to illustrate the full appeal and functionality of your products and services.

4. Feature Movement

Let’s face it – after half a day in the expo hall, most attendees have viewer fatigue. Even the best booths and graphics can fade into the background when people are just tired of looking. Enter motion. Adding an element of motion or interactivity can set your exhibit apart. It can help it to emerge from the ocean of static booth designs. Placing a product demo, a touch-screen element, an educational workshop, or a front-of-booth speaker or entertainer in your booth boosts its visibility way beyond the others.

5. Feature Some Basic Tech

Sometimes more isn’t more. Sometimes less is more. In this era of HD video, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and automated everything, it can be tempting to try and outdo the next tech-y thing. But think of the attendees at your booth – they’ve been seeing hi-tech all day long. They’ve wandered from one booth to the next where each company is trying to outdo the last one. Think old school! Analog games and old school technology can be fun and original. Our family had the BEST time last year on vacation where the condo we’d rented had a bunch of slide puzzles and an Atari!

6. Feature The KISS Rule

Keep It Simple, Sweetie! Research by Nielson found that people just do not read content – they SCAN it. As a result, you want your content and your booth to make the most difference with the fewest words. Highlight important keywords in graphics. Bullet point the crucial stuff – people DO read bullet points. Use subheadings if your text tends to get long. Focus on one idea at a time in a chunk. Try to keep text to a minimum in your booth. Use graphics and the booth design itself (along with your fantastic staffers!) to convey your message.

Competing for attendee attention is a never-ending process. But if you remember the basic principles of effect booth design, you can have an eye-catching presence in any exhibit environment. To see some inspiring exhibit designs, check out Skyline’s design portfolio!


Learn how exhibitors are integrating technology into their trade show exhibits by requesting our white paper, "Exhibiting with Technology"

Click Here for Your Free White Paper

This article was inspired by ""Booth Design for Short Attention Spans" by Sofia Troutman and first appeared at

Topics: Nashville trade show displays, Nashville trade show exhibits, trade show marketing, design, Blog, booth design, exhibit design, trade shows, B2B

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