In this interview, we sit down with Joonas Karhu, CEO of the award-winning online casino comparison site Bojoko.com. He has a direct eye on UK casino players across hundreds of UK operators, and we will gauge his insight into the do’s and don’ts of casino design from the perspective of driving FTDs.
When a new casino is launching in the UK market, what are the main things they should keep in mind? Do UK players have any specific preferences when it comes to casino design?
The UK market is incredibly competitive, so it’s vital that casinos launch with a strong brand identity so that they can stand out from their rivals. This is why we see so many brands based around fun themes or that have striking colour schemes. If the new casino does not catch players’ attention, it will struggle to acquire customers at scale.
That said, it’s just as crucial that the design and layout of the casino are intuitive and easy to explore. The sign-up process must be quick and easy, and after they are onboarded, players must be able to access banking, promotions and games with as little friction as possible.
Given that the majority of players access online casinos from their smartphones, a mobile-first approach to design is an absolute must. The most popular online casinos listed on Bojoko offer a superior mobile experience, and much of that experience derives from how the casino has been designed and laid out on smartphones.
What would you consider to be the primary purpose or purposes of a good casino design?
The design of the casino must align with its brand identity, but it must also deliver clarity to the player. They need to be able to quickly determine what the casino offers in terms of bonuses, promotions and games and then be able to sign up, deposit and play in as few steps as possible.
The design and layout of the payment gateway are especially important. Players must be able to deposit quickly and easily. If they can’t, they will likely leave and find another online casino. Creative solutions can help new online casinos make their mark in the UK. However, that creativity will be for nothing if it does not deliver a seamless user journey across sign-up, payments, bonuses and gameplay.
Are you seeing a direct link between the layouts casinos go with and first-time depositing players?
Yes, we do. What we see from our data is that it is crucial that the design instantly communicates what is being offered. This is especially the case when it comes to the welcome bonus, the games in the lobby and the payment methods available. As mentioned, it also needs to be easy for the players to sign up, claim the bonus, make a deposit and play their favourite games.
These are all key factors players consider when deciding where to play, and the casinos that can convey this clearly are those that can increase conversions and generate the highest number of FTDs.
Most online casinos use a very similar layout as a tried and tested core design has emerged over the years. This is why new casinos must launch with a stand-out brand or theme. That said, the most popular brands have fine-tuned this core design/layout to deliver a smooth and seamless experience, and it’s these brands that are able to retain the customers that are successfully onboarded.
I must add that while a lot of focus is put on customer acquisition, to extract the greatest value from first-time depositors, online casinos must provide an experience that ensures they keep coming back from more. The overall user experience offered is vital to this.
What is the most common blindspot in casino designs today, and how should operators address them?
In highly regulated markets such as the UK, casino operators must identify players through KYC procedures before allowing them to make a withdrawal. This adds additional steps to the user journey and can create friction that drives first-time depositors away from returning. While a less glamorous area of casino design, it is critical that casinos make this process as easy as possible.
It is an area many brands ignore, but it can play an essential part in their ability to grow their player base. The issue could be that casinos overestimate the loyalty of new players. It could also be the opposite, namely that they think many players will leave regardless. However, no matter the reason, clunky and overly complicated paths to submit all the necessary documents are a surefire way to frustrate players with your casino.
Are there any trends in casino designs in the UK at the moment, and how important is it for casinos to keep up with such trends?
What we have observed for the last several years is that many brands are looking to simplify their designs and layouts so that they are better suited to mobile play. The reduced screen size of mobile means requires a bold yet clear design with simple navigation that does not require excessive scrolling and swiping. The downside of this is, of course, that many new brands look the same. Ultimately, players want to play their favourite slots and casino games, and anything – design or otherwise – that gets in the way of that builds frustration to the point where the player is likely to drop off.
The casinos with the best design capture the attention of players and then quickly push them through the onboarding process so that they can deposit, claim the bonus and play without delay.