While land-based casinos usually aim for jaw-dropping grandeur, their online counterparts often take a different approach. From visual aesthetics to convenient and seamless UX design, there is a lot to consider when it comes to the design of an online casino interface — and making the wrong choices can have serious consequences. Read our design guide for online casinos to find out how to make a good first impression.
When starting a new online casino — or revamping an established one — it’s essential to pay close attention to the online gaming site’s interface. It’s essential to attend to every detail to draw players in from their first glimpse of your home page and keep them feeling comfortable and secure. The right color scheme, smooth navigation, hassle-free registration, and an intuitive betting process can make a world of difference between a one-time visitor and a lifetime player.
If a gripping design were easy to come by, no online casino would ever go out of business — and plenty of them do. If you’re ready to create a gambling website or redesign an online casino, keep reading for a close look at the fundamentals of online casino and sportsbook design.
Beauty is in the eye of the player
Visual appeal is one of the first places where many online gambling platform owners go awry. The wrong aesthetic can turn players away before they even bother looking for their favorite games. Give players a feast for their eyes — your site’s home page should be brightly colored and inviting. It’s best to stick to simple color palettes with combinations of 3 or 4 colors, and use the same color theme on every page.
While warm, bright color tones are great, you should make sure not to cross the line into harsh and acidic ones. The site’s design needs to be eye-catching, but it’s even more important that it doesn’t go over the top. Bright, flashing lights may attract players on the casino floor, but it’s a different story when they’re coming out of your laptop or phone screen; they’re more likely to drive players away than draw them in.
Text needs to be highly visible — this is one of a few areas where visual appeal and navigation go hand in hand. This is especially true when it comes to sign-up and deposit buttons. A large font size and a color that’s distinct from the background will make buttons and other pieces of text pop out.
When players search for games, they usually scan rows and columns of titles with a thumbnail picture that gives them an idea of the game’s theme. All too often, operators will simply use whatever size picture the developer provides along with the game software for the game’s thumbnail picture, resulting in a partial or broken visual that fails to accurately present the game.
Instead, make sure that all of the thumbnail pictures are of a uniform size. This will help players browse for a game that strikes them and avoid making your platform seem sloppy or unprofessional.
Some games have animated icons to catch players’ attention while they’re scanning through the available titles to choose one. However, overactive animation can easily become an unwanted distraction, so keep moving thumbnails to a minimum.
Skip any loud, blaring audio; unwanted sirens are likely to prompt new visitors to simply close the webpage instead of bothering to find out where the noise is coming from. There will be plenty of sound effects once players have chosen a game to play. Make sure they get to enjoy them instead of driving them away with harsh, earsplitting sounds.
This is another area where the offline and online spheres are worlds apart; bells and whistles may draw attention on the slot floor of a land-based casino, but for an online platform, they’re nothing but a nuisance.
Many large, established brands favor an overall calm color scheme, with cool blues and greens, making brighter yellow or white text pop out from the background. Other casino brands use subtle gradations of color, moving across a spectrum from, say, pink to deep purple, with light blue buttons, giving the platform a fun, bright atmosphere. While they may have different themes that communicate different feelings, what they have in common is that none of them look pieces like abstract art, with incongruous colors splashed randomly across the screen.
A good logo is an essential part of your platform’s brand, and should communicate what kind of feeling you want your players to have. Writing the name of your casino in slanting, elegant cursive will make playing on your site feel like an exclusive, elite experience. Finding a way to incorporate other symbols into the text will give other impressions — for example, a bolt of lightning will draw focus to the excitement of gambling. Casinos often try to present themselves as fun, exhilarating, edgy, or sophisticated.
Whatever logo best suits your company’s image, it’s best to stay on the minimalist side, trying to communicate as much as possible about yourself without forcing players to decipher a complicated symbol. It’s a good idea to work closely with a designer when it comes to your logo; a good one will go a long way to improve brand recognition for your online gambling platform.
One thing that players — especially experienced ones — very often check is an online gambling platform’s licensing status. Licensed casinos usually feature their licensing authority’s insignia near the bottom of their site’s home page. Players can click on the insignia to instantly see the site’s seal of authorization. Making the insignia of the authority that issued your license easy to find will be fantastic for your reputation.
Don’t make your visitors struggle to find what they’re looking for. They’ve come to your site to have fun, not stumble through a maze, so make your online casino interface as intuitive and effective as possible. Starting with your home page, different sections of the site — Casino, Live Dealer, Sportsbook, Bingo, Poker, etc. — should be highly visible, usually arranged in a bar across the top of the screen. It should take as few clicks as possible for new visitors to your site to start an account and find a game to play.
Whenever and wherever a player might take a critical action by clicking on a button that leads them to the next step in their player journey, that button should be large, obvious, and differentiated from its background. In particular, buttons to register or make deposits should be easy to find and inviting to click on.
Online gambling platforms need to have a vast array of games to play and sports to bet on in order to make sure players can always find what they need. But that range of options can be overwhelming.
To help players sort through their offering, casinos should provide clearly marked buttons that lead them to the different categories. Grouping games by Most Played, Top Rated, Newest Releases, and other categories will help players find what they’re looking for faster.
Players will also appreciate being able to scroll through titles released by individual developers, as they often have a particular game development company whose game themes, graphics, or special offers they like. Usually, they can do so by clicking on the game developer’s logo.
Additionally, some buttons, like Sign Up, Terms and Conditions, and Player Support, should be available on every page.
And don’t forget to localize — players will have a hard time creating an account, making deposits, and playing if they can’t read anything on the site. The site should be available in the language of the target market so they can enjoy it to the fullest extent. Top-quality online casino platform software will enable your site to have a different frontend for every market you face.
Sign up and spin
It should be as easy as possible for players to register a new account, make a deposit, and start playing. The registration button should be prominently placed and highly visible, and the benefits of registering — especially any sign-up bonuses — should be clearly published.
Online registration forms should be neatly organized, spread across two or three pages to make sure the registration process isn’t overwhelming. At the top of the form, there should be an indication showing players how far along they are in the registration process (such as “page 1 of 2”).
Data fields should have prompts that indicate what kind of information belongs in each field and what format it should be entered in. As each field is filled in, the page should auto-focus on the next field so players can flow through the registration process quickly and easily; getting tangled up in endless forms will have them heading for the door instead of the slots.
The sign-up form should include only the necessary amount of personal information for ID verification and other security measures — don’t make players tell you more about themselves than they’re comfortable with.
When it’s time for the new player to choose their password, requirements like length and number of special characters should be clearly visible, and new players should also be given an indication of the strength of their password.
Modern players have high expectations when it comes to speed and convenience. They’re used to using their social media profiles to create new accounts whenever they sign up for a new service. That’s why many online casinos let new players register with their social media accounts.
Finally, security is of the utmost importance in the world of online gambling. Players should be notified that their data will be kept absolutely confidential.
The search for entertainment
Players need to find what they’re looking for — fast. They’ll judge your platform by the first few search results they see. If their first search for a game on your site doesn’t bring up something that matches their taste exactly, you can bet they’ll leave for another platform without even saying goodbye. Players will expect the search to return quality results even on limited or single-word queries.
The perfect search starts with the search bar. Normally located in the upper right-hand corner of the site’s home page, it needs to stand out clearly from its background — don’t make players look around for the very tool they need to start searching. The search bar should also offer suggested searches as soon as players click on it, and those suggested searches should grow more useful over time as the site collects data on that player’s behavior.
Players often don’t have a clear picture of exactly what game they want to play. It’s just as likely, if not more so, that they’ll want to browse the available options until one strikes their fancy. Give players categories to browse, such as Top Games, New Releases, and Jackpots. Offering browsing categories is often a much faster and more effective way for players to navigate the site.
Between an effective search function and a well-organized browsing catalog, players should be able to quickly and easily find something to suit their mood.
Game developers often run slot tournaments. But signing your platform up for one of them isn’t enough; you need players to join in and participate. Offering a welcome bonus won’t encourage players to sign up if they don’t know about it. Special offers such as sign-up bonuses and time-sensitive opportunities like slot tournaments should be front and center, the first thing players see when they enter your site.
Advertise bonuses and other offers in distinct, striking text that stands out from the rest of your platform’s home page — and make sure to put them “above the fold,” so that they are the first thing new visitors see. Make sure any bonus promotions include a large, bright, prominently displayed button encouraging new players to claim the offer.
It’s also common to use interstitial ads that cover the entire site, turning it into a background for the promoted offer, which is featured in a box in the middle of the screen. Site visitors can either choose to take advantage of the offer or click out of the ad and return to the website. They appear at natural intervals, either between content or after a certain amount of time, in order to avoid disrupting the browsing experience.
Special offers are a great way to both bring in new players and keep them coming back. You can’t go wrong by making sure they’re highly visible and placed prominently on your site.
A mobile world
The rise of mobile usage is affecting iGaming as much as every other industry. Players in developed countries are spending more time on their mobile devices, and in some developing countries mobile penetration is spreading at an astounding rate. Increasing numbers of bets — in some countries, a majority of them — are coming from mobile users.
That means that players are growing more and more likely to see your gambling site on a handheld screen.
It’s critical for an online casino or sportsbook to have fully responsive design, working equally well on laptop or mobile. The mobile version will be designed differently, with menus arranged to fit screens that are taller than they are wide.
Mobile design will also often take into account the fact that players are probably going to navigate the site with one hand, placing buttons so that they’re easily reachable with the thumb of the hand holding the phone.
As players bet via mobile more and more, sites that aren’t mobile-friendly will eventually be left in the dust.
Deposits and withdrawals
Making deposits should be as easy as possible while retaining the maximum level of security. Offering a variety of payment options will make sure players can make deposits and start betting as soon as possible. It’s common practice to accept credit cards and bank transfers, but players increasingly expect to be able to use e-wallets and other methods, especially those that support cryptocurrencies.
For the sake of security, you’ll need a certain amount of personal information, but asking players to divulge more than what’s required will create an unnecessary barrier. Security requirements should be strict enough to keep away bad actors, but not so strict that they infringe upon players’ privacy.
Players may not understand that ID verification processes need to occur before withdrawals can be completed. That’s why it’s important to notify them of how long they should expect to wait after they make a withdrawal to see their winnings in their bank account. Keeping a clear line of communication with your players regarding deposits and withdrawals will help maintain a trusting relationship.
All in all, deposits and withdrawals should be fast, smooth, and transparent, and offering a range of options for conducting financial transactions will only increase the size of your potential audience.
Constantly available customer support is one of the best ways to build a solid, trusting relationship with your players.
Players don’t have technical issues on a schedule. Customer service and technical support should be available 24/7. The best form of customer support is a live chat where they can instantly and directly contact a member of your support staff.
Live chat should be available even for unregistered users, in case they have any questions regarding the registration process, and chats should require an absolute minimum of personal information to keep players from feeling that their privacy is being invaded.
The chat icon should be available on every page of your site, so it’s never a hassle for players to get in touch when they need help.
How can Slotegrator help?
Starting your own online casino isn’t easy. Slotegrator helps with the platform development and design. Our Turnkey solution will get your online casino platform up and running fast with a customizable frontend and a dynamic backend. With our Casino Kit solution, you get the same powerful backend as our Turnkey solution, along with enhanced control and flexibility over the frontend. Instead of trying to coordinate with a remote development team, you can instantly make changes to your platform’s frontend design, and even have a number of different frontend designs tailored to each market you face.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about how our products and services can get you started on the road to iGaming success.
I have over 5 years of experience managing B2B and B2C sales departments in the online gambling industry. I started my career working in customer support for online casinos and grew to become the head of a department offering tailored services to VIP players. I joined Slotegrator with a strong focus on our company’s products and deep knowledge of what players need. My passion for the industry leads me to keep expanding my knowledge every day.