Jade Daniels: Degree 53 – UX the bridge between the industry & design standards

Jade Sahota – Degree 53

Jade Daniels Design Director at industry innovation, design and development studio Degree 53, details that as betting operators face higher regulatory and responsibility demands, incumbents have to be smarter than ever on UX guiding principals and strategies


The gambling industry is undergoing significant changes to improve the standards for responsible gambling. Besides advice and various initiatives, there are lots of technical requirements for operators that need to be implemented in their products to help customers gamble responsibly. However, with the increasing number of regulatory changes, the design and user experience of betting and gaming products are becoming as complex as the rules themselves. While they are there to protect customers, they also impact on the usability of the product and affect customer interaction.

Operators need to be smarter about adding elements dictated by the regulators and merging them with the core product. Part of this challenge is educating customers about these rules. Many won’t be aware of them or care too much, but they will notice if these elements stand in the way of their journey. Operators need to help customers understand these rules and their purpose better.

Lots of products are content and feature heavy simply because they have been built this way historically. Product owners have stuck to the same look for sportsbooks and casinos to avoid larger disruption to their customers as any dramatic change in the journey could be a risk of increasing drop-offs. By carrying on with the same design while adding more content, operators are risking overcrowding their products and making them less intuitive. Let’s review how this could be overcome.

Using regulations to modernise the product

A lot of clutter and bad user experience appears when landing pages are full of content that isn’t directly related to core services. Presenting new regulations doesn’t need to be dull or just plain text, as customers will likely ignore it or don’t like the experience. It can also make accessibility much harder. It’s more interesting to make a regulation into a feature and display it separately if possible. This could be a great opportunity for operators to be innovative and offer new services that go in line with the responsible gambling initiative.

Operators want to prevent their customers from problem behaviour and they have all the data and tools to do so. Some of it has already been done and it shows that more can be done to bring out new features.

For example, reality checks or just-in-time notifications pop up at the right time to distract the customer to remind them about the time spent with the product and to give them a break. They work really well to reduce the risk of gambling addiction, helping customers to manage their activity better.

Similarly, showing a breakdown of winnings or spends could be done in an interactive way to help customers keep track of their money or bonuses. Sky Bet have already launched this feature as a visual graph. This is a great way of turning data into something useful and intuitive to help customers gamble responsibly.

Operators could offer self-exclusion options based on customers’ spend. For example, if they gamble above a certain limit, they can be offered to self-regulate and log out until later. This would help them to save money and reduce gambling activity, enabling them to return at a later date and continue using the operator’s services in a responsible way. This would no doubt increase customer lifetime value, as well as preventing them from spending all their money and leaving completely.

Regulators are keen on increasing responsible gambling functionalities on site. Having options like these would show how proactive the operator is in terms of looking after their customers, offering more interactive tools, as well as creating a trustworthy relationship and brand loyalty. Utilising any data available to product owners is key.

Update the existing UX with new regulations

Regulatory changes to existing functionalities also mean that operators will need to update their user experience. Any significant updates will need to be thought through in order to manage customer expectations and behaviour.

For example, a new regulation coming in May 2019 will apply to the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process during the registration, changing the way customers will access gaming and betting services upon joining. Operators will need to prove their customers are over 18 and confirm their address before they will be able to deposit and place any bets or play. Currently, they have a 72-hour window and full access to services before verification.

It’s a significant change that will likely turn away many customers and operators will see a big drop in first-time depositors. To prevent this, they will need to create a new onboarding process to clearly explain what customers need to do to successfully complete the registration process and access their services quicker. This is a regulatory requirement, however, a successful operator will increase conversion by utilising and integrating ID verification tools. They can also integrate additional databases or products that offer new methods as a fallback option. Moreover, there are great products that allow customers to scan their ID directly within the product to facilitate this process and maximise conversion.

Finding out what works best

It’s quite difficult to create something completely different when any big change could scare off customers and it becomes a catch-22 where products are replicated to avoid that. But changes don’t need to happen on a massive scale and we advise to take smaller steps instead. However, sometimes it’s necessary to try something new, and often, results can be surprising. What product owners might think is the best solution may not often be perceived as such by their customers.

We strongly recommend A/B and user testing to trial different journeys and find out which performs best. It’s extremely useful to test something ahead of a release or determine if there are any obstacles during a user journey so it can be updated beforehand. Direct customer feedback helps guide operators to which route works best in order to prevent more drop-offs.

Use regulatory changes to your advantage

The gambling industry is determined to increase the governance around responsible gambling and to protect customers from problem behaviour. It’s a positive initiative but comes with numerous regulations that have a strong impact on the user experience. Operators need to use that to their advantage to innovate and modernise their products to redefine how certain elements could be presented. Rather than shoe-horning something in last minute to pass compliance, why not find the best way to include regulatory requirements as part of the overall journey so customers still enjoy using the product?

Some final thoughts…

It’s important to base any changes on factual information, such as results from user testing and conversion analytics. The amount of content that sportsbooks and casinos have needs to be reviewed and updated, considering mobile and tablet use outweighing desktop. With so many regulations coming in, product owners need to reconsider how this information can be displayed to still offer a fun but responsible gaming and betting experience to customers.


Jade Daniels – Design Director @ Degree 53

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