Casino websites and apps form some of the most ubiquitous entertainment options that you will find online. There are dozens of major betting and gaming brands operating all over the world, and 100s more with a medium-sized presence. The industry has been around for almost three decades now, with the first “true” online casino games arriving in the mid-1990s as the worldwide web gained a foothold in our daily lives.
In that time, the sector has – broadly speaking – perfected UX and platform design. Of course, not every platform is the same – and some do it better than others – but in a general sense, the industry has been clever in overcoming the design challenges that it has faced. Below we take you through some of the reasons why that is the case, and perhaps show some lessons that other sectors can learn from:
One of the biggest challenges facing an online casino is how to deal with the vast array of games. A top casino site might have 500-1000 games, sometimes more. It’s not good enough to just list game after game, or make assumptions about what the visitor wants. Consider that roulette is arguably the most popular casino game of all time, but the visitor to your platform might prefer blackjack or slot or poker, or something else. Moreover, they might prefer to play live roulette over virtual roulette.
The answer comes with smart compartmentalization, i.e., clever organizing of the platform so that users don’t feel overwhelmed by the choice and can easily find what they are looking for. Of course, algorithms also help, allowing casinos to rank and sort titles by popularity.
2022 celebrated 15 years of iPhone. While it wasn’t the first smartphone, we all know that Steve Jobs and co heralded in a new era. Today, many the gaming industry is still trying to get to grips with mobile and assessing whether it is the future. But the casino sector was much more proactive, following the process of “optimizing” for mobile since the late 2000s. The result is important, providing players with a multi-device experience that does not diminish regardless if you are on laptop, PC, mobile, or tablet. It was a brave policy back then, but it pays dividends for the sector today.
“Confusion” was one of the psychological tricks used by physical casinos in the past to encourage patrons to gamble more. This gave rise to the well-known policies of having no clocks on the wall or windows so that customers wouldn’t know the time. That’s actually changed in physical casinos, as psychologists believe that people will actually spend more when they are relaxed. Nonetheless, the best online casinos have always pursued a policy of making navigation as easy – and unstressful – as possible.
This is shown in the compartmentalization (mentioned above), and in the design and layout of the platform. Easy login and logout, deposit & withdrawal options, no spammy pop-ups, and so on. In short, they are among the easiest platforms to use and get around. And as we have said, that’s important as there is such a wide choice of games.
As you might do if you are on vacation in Las Vegas, many online players try to experience different casinos. But while there might be differences in design in the aesthetic sense, particularly in terms of theme, there is also a sense of commonality among different operators. In short, a player is usually not confounded by where things are when visiting a new platform for the first time.
This consistency in approach has helped casino brands meet expectations from experienced players. One of the first rules of design is that users should have a logical expectation of where things are. Casino platforms have mastered that.
Perhaps this one is the ace up the sleeve for casino brand UX. In recent years, casino platforms have been able to make a more personal experience for players. An example might be the ability to organize gaming titles through the use of favoriting, meaning your favorite games are easily accessible on the homepage. There are also other methods, including the use of player challenges and tournaments, that create a sense of personalization but also increase the idea of community on the platform.