Andrew Daniels: Degree 53 – Winning Hearts & Minds…UX as a customer retention tool

Andrew Daniels

Andrew Daniels Managing Director of specialist mobile and web development agency Degree 53 details to SBC readers why in a digitally connected world, UX design has to be at the forefront of all industry development as stakeholders are faced with increased customer retention costs. 

Degree 53 is a digital agency, specialising in providing solutions to the gambling industry. The company holds a Remote Gambling Software license accredited by the UK Gambling Commission. The Manchester-based agency provides support in development, UX design, prototyping and consultancy.


The gambling industry relies heavily on continuous customer turnaround to maintain profitable business. Gaming operators have vast budgets for marketing and user acquisition to support this initiative. However, another challenge is maintaining customer retention and making sure they return after the first visit. To stay ahead of the competition, operators need to review the user journey of their particular product (website or mobile app), focusing on the user experience (UX) to create brand loyalty and a growing customer base.

The principle of UX is offering users the easiest and clearest ways of getting to the desired destination. In gambling, the users’ intention is logging in or registering and placing a bet or playing a game. This means that the journey needs to be as effortless as possible. If the UX is confusing or involves too many steps, consumers are more likely to abandon the product and never return. They are also more likely to seek alternatives from competitors. Below, we highlight some points that operators need to follow to create a great and intuitive UX.

Clearly defined user retention strategy

One of the main points gambling operators need to address is their user retention strategy and how the entire website or app supports it. While operators focus heavily on acquisition, it is even more important to consider what will help them keep the customer. They need to view this from a user’s perspective, including thinking through reasons for and expectations when engaging with the product in question, and how to enhance this experience.  Having a clear strategy will help define the path from acquiring and then retaining the customer.

Simplify the customer journey

To comply with the online gambling regulations, operators are required to carry out identity checks upon registration as part of the know-your-customer (KYC) process. It often involves lengthy forms, however, in a world where users are so used to a simple social login, it is worth considering how to make it more seamless.

The UX during registration can be greatly improved and sped up with a progress indicator in forms, so users are aware of the length, as well as any mandatory details. Adding intuitive entry fields with an option to find the address by entering a postcode and using in-line field validation, can also make this process smoother. If users need to provide proof of identity, adding a camera functionality to take a picture of their document can save several minutes and a great effort for the users, without the need to leave the app. Similarly, allowing users to scan or take a picture of their bank cards instead of entering the number can also be useful. These small but effective UX solutions make it easier for customers to register with the required information and get to the fun part quicker.

Guide to the relevant point

Understandably, every gambling operator wants its customers to play a game or place a bet using its website or app. Therefore, companies need to help them find relevant activities as quickly as possible. The gaming UX needs to be intuitive and second nature to users for locating the right option. This includes displaying clear calls to action and instructions, easy navigation and consistent design. For mobile apps and websites, operators need to keep in mind the specific design principles for iOS and Android platforms, as well as different screen sizes.

User testing

One way of finding out whether the product or an idea is truly working and appeals to customers is testing it with real users before embarking on further product development. This can potentially save substantial amounts of money, time and resources on something that might not be viable. It can be as simple as including basic wireframes and images with touch points that would show the intended user journey or getting users to review the current product. Involving actual customers in testing will show whether the product works in real life and whether they agree with the process. It can be a very insightful activity for product owners and can provide lots of learning opportunities.

Put the customer first in all cases

Gambling customers tend to have little brand loyalty, as they are likely to choose the operator for the easiest process of engaging with the brand, and UX plays a big role in this. For example, banks are something many are reluctant to change due to the various paperwork and hassle of switching payments to a new account. However, some users decide to do this simply based on unsatisfactory experience with their mobile app offering, which says a lot about UX and its importance in customer retention. If the UX and customer journey don’t align with the business strategy, operators might risk losing their users and subsequently maintaining profit.

At Degree 53, we advise our clients to take part in our Product Design Sprints to determine how a digital product could be improved. During our workshop, they come up with a new idea, analyse and test it in just one week. We spend three days reviewing challenges and brainstorming possible solutions, one day creating a prototype, and another day testing it with real users to ensure it meets the client’s business objectives. Product Design Sprints determine how the audience perceives the product and what UX principles need to be adopted to retain customers, without the need for costly development.


Andrew Daniels – Managing Director- Degree53


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