The gaming landscape has shifted. Gone are the days where public arcade machines dominated and PCs and consoles enabled players to become immersed in a different world from the comfort of their own home. Today, gaming is done on-the-move via mobile and the stats back it up:
- 44% of all gaming is now done on handheld devices
- 71% of UK adults own a smartphone
- 47% of UK adults use their smartphones to play online games
As the way we consume games has changed, so has the industry, now having to cater to a demand for different types of games. The same is true of online casino gaming. Players want the ease of on-the-go accessibility, the instant reward of games which can be completed in a short space of time. If you’re looking to create your own mobile-friendly online casino, here is a comprehensive guide of what you need to do to stay competitive in this fast-moving market.
The popularity of the online gambling market
The UK remote gambling sector made £5.4 billion from April 2017 to March 2018 last year – one-third of the total revenue from all gambling enterprises. Online gambling has exploded in popularity over the past decade, making it many punter’s favourite way to place bets, play casino games and enjoy online slots.
Consequently, this has meant the industry has become flooded with operators that offer online gambling, making it a very competitive market. The industry is at the top of its game, which means players are becoming increasingly demanding over the sites they choose to play on. Naturally, competition has forced individual operators to up their game to stay ahead of the pack, offering increasingly authentic gaming experiences.
Make it mobile-ready
Players are now becoming accustomed to ever more sophisticated sites, so they can tell which operators are trying to cut corners. That’s why a mobile-friendly website design that caters to an audience that wants the best experience possible. The screen on a smartphone obviously differs in size to a computer screen, not just in size, but also resolution. The way the pages are controlled is different as much less informational can be displayed.
A single content management system makes it easier to update games and text. Users who like to switch their gaming between the mobile and desktop casinos will see the same content and design on both. This is important when building a successful and recognisable brand.
Online casinos are cagey about releasing the exact figures for how many users are registered – for fear of providing ammunition to competitors – but independent research has suggested that some online casinos may have more than 5 million active members, half a million of whom play at least once a month. With competition fierce among the casinos, creating this brand adhesion through a responsive website may prove vital.
Why make your site mobile ready? Because more people are using mobile devices than desktops to surf the web – and because Google have created a set of Mobile First initiatives.
This includes these two important elements:
- Separate Mobile Index. Google’s mobile index will become its primary index for ranking pages. Previously, the company used the desktop version of a page to retrieve search results for all users. The main benefit of this is to provide mobile with fresher content and an experience that’s properly tailored for mobile.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages. The AMP project is designed to encourage quick-loading mobile pages. Described by some experts as “diet HTML”, AMP pages’ HTML code is super-lightweight and streamlined to ensure fast page loading.
Responsive design and mobile-first indexing
Any page or piece of content appears completely differently on a mobile and a desktop. Users aren’t going to want to keep scrolling forever, so it’s important to consider the size of the screen they’re viewing your content and games on. Ideally your mobile gaming website will display effectively on both computer and mobile screens. You can do this by either creating two sets of pages with identical content for each platform – or plough some resources into creating a responsive site that adjusts automatically between different viewports.
Responsive websites are easy enough to maintain as all there’s a single URL catering for all platforms. So when you have an update, or want to upload a piece of content, you don’t need to manage it across multiple sites. It intuitively does this for you by adapting the way your content and games fit onto the page.
Google now has a policy of ‘mobile-first indexing’, meaning that it will index the mobile version of a website – a response to mobile and smartphone browsing becoming more popular. Of course, there are positives and negatives associated with responsive design – but ultimately, if Google is ranking them first in search results, that’s all the reason you need to embrace them.
Google has made effort to help developers create good mobile-first web content through its open source website creation initiative which every business can learn from. It’s all about helping you create the pages that’ll load faster and keep users more engaged without sacrificing the functionality or your website or the depth of your content.
Mobile friendly best practice: three key tips
Here are the three areas you can optimise to ensure your website is mobile friendly as possible:
- Large and simple fonts. As mobile users will be using their fingers or stylus to view your content, make the font size large and simple so they can digest the content easily.
- Fast-loading images. While hi-res images can be great for magazines and printed publications, they’ll take longer to load on the web – therefore, make sure your images are small in size so they load quicker.
- Straightforward navigation. Large buttons and easily-accessed games are critical for any gaming website. To make sure they work effectively for a mobile user, embed menus as they will help users find the content and games they want. Again, these should be quick to load.
It’s a good idea to use your browser’s mobile viewport (which shows you how visible your content is to a mobile user).
Here are some other tips to ensure your gaming website is mobile-friendly.
If the responsive site doesn’t work, the user will get frustrated and look elsewhere for their mobile games. When it’s done correctly, the games work perfectly and the user is guaranteed to have a positive experience.
This is the case in the world of online casinos, where the current pinnacle of technology is live casino – which connects players with real-life dealers via live video link, bringing the human element to the fore. Live casinos operate from broadcasting studios across the world. Players and croupiers are connected in real time, providing an authentic casino environment to the player’s living room – or wherever they choose to game.
Live video streaming has been rolled out across all mobile casino games and we suggest you check out the following exciting and unique live roulette games from this highly regarded live casino. It feels like you’re actually there playing in person, when you could be playing anywhere, and at any time, on your mobile device. This means players are more likely to remain loyal to the brand and continue to enjoy casino games across multiple devices.
Master the app
Apps are the new website. Mobile users are have the option of downloading them to instantly access them at the touch of an icon. Offering similar functionality, they are designed specifically for the operating system of the device they are used on and so can perform even better than a dedicated mobile website. This gives casino players a smoother experience.
When you’re creating a mobile-friendly casino, creating an app should be one of your top priorities. They allow users to make their transactions through an app store and save their payment details on their smartphones. It gives players a more flexible way of paying, as they don’t have to save details within a webpage, or enter them multiple times every time they want to deposit money. And for online casino operators, they can use them to send push notifications to customers to encourage them to play games or buy products.
With most online casinos offering their apps as free-to-download, they allow users to get a feel for the games before signing up for good, something which has proved to be a very successful business model. It can be for you too. Follow the steps we’ve outlined here and, most important of all, design your mobile-friendly casino with your players in mind. Focus on what they want, and you can tailor your entire gaming experience to their needs.
Apps are distributed via the Google Play Store, and the App Store – which can boost the number of times user engage with your casino brand as they’re open to a wider audience.