Degree 53 gives casino lobbies the once over
Degree 53 gives casino lobbies the once over
The usability of online casinos is rarely discussed as a way for operators to increase their customer retention, yet it can often be overlooked or undervalued by decision-makers when it comes to streamlining the customer experience, according to a new report.
Degree 53, a Manchester, UK-based agency, set out to produce its debut ‘Casino Lobby Review’, examining how some of the biggest names in online casino set out their stall when it comes to guiding players around their sites.
The report uncovered some common trends among the ten sites including offerings from Unibet, Coral, Paddy Power, Betway and 888. Among the positives, the review found the majority of the sites provided clear call to actions and promotions, accessible help sections and easily fillable forms. The weaker points were the lack of searchable content, limited browsing capability and hidden game information.
Jade Sahota, head of design at Degree 53, says the aim of the report was not necessarily to provide a worst or best list, but to attempt to delineate what exactly constitutes best practice in online casino UX and design.
“Our main goal was to increase operators’ knowledge of what makes for best-practice UX and to highlight what the standard baseline of expectations should be,” she said.
Sahota says that large organisations can often benefit from an external specialist weighing in on their UX objectively, without having emotional ties to the existing product. Relying on personal opinion and instinct may hinder operators from using best practices when designing a casino lobby.
“Sometimes, when design decisions are made they won’t be based on factual information or what is best for the user, but will be based on opinion which could be detrimental to a product,” she says.
UX, according to Sahota, is a term that “is talked a lot about in the industry but few understand its true meaning”. The report is therefore an attempt to state clearly what is considered good UX and design for an online casino, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each operator.
For the record, Unibet came out on top of the survey with what Degree 53 said was very good use of UX, with a variety of tasks available to the player including demos, favouriting games, easy deposits, accessible account information and useful help functionality.
This isn’t to say that the Unibet site is revolutionary, and indeed Sahota makes the point that this would be counter-productive. “You wouldn’t want a casino lobby to look completely different just for the sake of it,” she says.
“It is important to keep up with current trends, however casino operators should also make sure their website has standalone features with a unique offering to enforce brand loyalty and trust with their customers.”
In this, of course, the industry perhaps has much to learn. The me-too-ism that affects most – if not all – online casino sites is evident enough with a reliance on the same games presented in a similar fashion and with very little by way of variation. Innovation is at a premium and this is another conclusion from the lobby review.
Sahota says one possible reason for this is a lack of genuine consumer feedback. “I don’t think enough operators are testing their products with customers. It’s so important to get feedback from real users. Understanding their pain points, their goals and objectives and meeting their expectations will result in long-term retention.”
The lobby review covered only desktop products and Degree 53 have plans to expand that out to mobile next time around. As Sahota explains: “When using your mobile, tablet or website, the experience on each device is different depending on the user’s situation. We will be looking for whether the operator has taken into consideration the difference in interacting on mobile vs the desktop experience and what could be improved. We’re excited to get started.”
Degree 53 has worked on a number of design and build projects for online casinos, including most recently the HollywoodCasino.com offering from US gaming giant Penn National.
Totally Gaming says: What Degree 53 has uncovered in its report should have resonance throughout the online gaming sector. Ensuring the customer journey is as seamless as possible – and ultimately enjoyable for the consumer – should be the first task for any online business.