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The Mobile Generation

| By iGB Editorial Team
With Google having upped the ante in terms of prioritising gaming websites that display well on mobile devices, Gregory Karaolis of SBTech looks at how operators can ensure a clean and smooth customer journey for all in-play customers.

Having a reputable sportsbook that offers a variety of bet types is hugely important to the quality of the experience enjoyed by the in-play bettor, as is the ability to personalize content which is responsive and tailored to their requests and preferences.

Mobilisation creates a more interactive user experience, as in-play punters feel that they are part of the live game with the mobile channel enabling them to place bets immediately from any location. In combination with a quick and seamless
mobile delivery, this dramatically increases the in-play betting turnover.

There are two approaches to achieving a mobile-friendly offering. The first is to develop a mobile site, the second is by developing a responsive or adaptive site. Each method, in its own way, affects both the business and the user.

Mobile websites

Currently, the majority of the industry deploys the following approach: having their own URL, where users are often redirected; if the URL is visited on the desktop, users are then directed on to the mobile site.

From the user’s perspective, an optimised mobile user experience can be created by understanding the main actions that customers want to carry out. However, with some behaviour-driven personalization added to the mobile site, it can be argued that the user experience is better than provided by a responsive solution.

With specific reference to Google prioritizing gaming websites that display on mobile, while adhering to their mobile-friendly policies can be easy, if you do not set these up and maintain these properly, you can end up splitting your ranking across both sites.

Today, operators must stay up-to-date and effectively utilize the wave of new mobile advancements and technologies. On the business side, this can be a challenge, as numerous sites must be supported and maintained accordingly. For example, if an innovation has to be rolled out across all channels tomorrow, this will involve double the workload. Similarly, the question of whether an additional third site should be built for tablets will also inevitably present itself. Needless to say, to try and provide bespoke sites for any additional device, regardless of size, can quickly become unsustainable.

Responsive vs. adaptive

Being mobile responsive means the site will recognize if you are browsing on a mobile device or not, and adapt its content and features to fit within the browser’s window whether it be a laptop, iPad, iOS or Android device, thus providing a true omni-channel experience, as the look and feel remains consistent across all devices. So what are the drawbacks? Making the client side (browser) do all of the work makes it difficult to take all limitations and variables into account, such as the processing power of mobiles and connectivity when building the site. Nevertheless, with a smart and strong mobile-first approach, it is achievable. Another potential issue to address will be customers having slightly differing expectations from
their desktop vs web journeys and experiences.

An adaptive design entails preset layouts or widgets, for multiple screen sizes, and functions only in accordance with the correct screen size. This allows better optimization for the mobile, making your site load quicker and giving you more control in catering to slightly different user journeys and experiences, while maintaining a consistent UI. The drawback here is that the fluidity of being purely responsive is lost, which is Google’s preferred approach. Unlike a pure responsive solution, an adaptive solution has the overhead of maintaining adaptive resources or templates; this overhead is however less likely to be as strenuous as having to maintain a completely separate site.

It is as yet undecided what the best direction/approach is to take. Some sites respond from tablet to desktop with a separate mobile, while others view the tablet as a separate mobile device. If we look at various current usage patterns and
behaviours, it is evident that tablets are more of a ‘desktop’ type product when compared to mobile, thus the goal for the tablet is to provide a parallel experience to the desktop.

Regardless of the direction, quickly delivering relevant content has always been a prevalent concern. A guaranteed, personalized in-play experience will undoubtedly help engage in-play users, instead of being swamped by a deluge of in-play events and markets. Ultimately, this kind of in-play experience will be easier to achieve through a responsive or adaptive-design approach, as the work only needs to be done once.

To enhance the user experience, the limited size/resolution of screens must be considered as part of any mobile solution for in-play betting. Providing intuitive navigation to the betting offering and being able to place a bet within just a few clicks is essential. Given the dynamic nature of in-play betting and the rapid adoption and use of mobile advancements/technologies worldwide, it is now crucial to have a complete knowledge of these gaming industry trends and innovations.

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