According to BetConstruct CEO Vahe Baloulian, the industry faces myriad challenges when it comes to optimizing UX on mobile, none bigger than those arising from there being no single defined way to create a player journey.
When talking about the challenges of optimizing sites to meet the requirements imposed by Google’s “Mobilegeddon”, we often focus on technical issues. But that’s only one side of the story. As operating platforms change, user behavior and device types grow. As these habits change, so will do the way customers interact.
We now understand that developers and designers have to develop device-agnostic products, which is challenging enough with the growing number of devices and platforms. Moreover, these need to be adapted to certain requirements, for example, localized for specific regions.
We certainly have no doubt that the times when companies could build separate customized websites for each device are long over. Now the responsive and mobile-friendly gaming and betting websites, mobile and desktop, will have to run cross-platform and cross-device. And while doing this, the sites should address a major challenge – how to present the primary content without overloading as speed is a priority, especially in the betting industry.
We have already discovered that light and responsive sites help us avoid what designers call 'interstitial anxiety' – the brief state of tension a player experiences between an action he takes within the site and a response he receives. This period of user’s powerlessness and discomfort should be brought to the absolute minimum. A player feels in control when he feels comfortable.
We realized that as we move forward, the players expect us to bring down the walls between mobile, desktop and land-based environments when it comes to their interaction with us and our products and services.
These are big issues and there are many others that we are wrestling with and that are informing us on a daily basis.
However, there is an issue of customer journey on these optimized sites that is as big, if not bigger.
There is no definite one way to create a player journey within mobile. It continuously evolves as operating platforms change player behavior and the way our players interact. The journeys are often non-linear as some may jump straight from awareness to real-money play if they are not apt to try demo play or have a strong recommendation from a friend.
How do we make sure that time investment by players is not corrupted by the convoluted path to experience they are looking for? How do we make sure that the time to first value is brought to the very minimum? There is a myriad of questions on how to do it right with no definite answers.
It’s a plausible notion that with the journey the customer makes to use our services and products being identified and mapped, we can do a better job of looking after them. The problem is that typically the effort to map this journey turns into an attempt to make sure the players are pushed onto a particular one.
The idea of building journeys for players can hardly be useful for players or operators. As players search for value on our sites, they don’t use the same routes and constantly discover different ones. By the time we map their journeys, these become less relevant because our sites evolve along with the players’ wants and requirements.
When building gaming and betting sites and products in general, we should not focus on what we think our players want and deliver that. We should endeavor to crack the code of creating a responsive infrastructure that is omni-channel, dynamic and adaptable enough to allow players shape their own individualized experience for each interaction based on their wants for that particular moment.
Players’ onboarding needs to be interactive, providing them with instructions as they actually use the site. Players expect to be accompanied to where they need to go and not to be pushed to where we need them to go. One of the keys to success is to make sure that these two destinations are the same and make players feel that they enjoy a very personalized experience. By presenting the player with only what he needs to know we will lessen the load of information that he needs to memorize and make his path smoother.
Whether they need to place a quick bet or want to engage in a lengthy playing session, as a result of the same action taken in different contexts and circumstances, our system has to discern that and provide both. It also has to learn from that interaction so it can improve its response to the next one.
The article was originally published in the September/October issue of the iGaming Business Magazine.