It is never not surprising how many people have no idea how a website is produced. We are seemingly so used to switching on our laptops, checking our phones, and being able to access and read our favorite sites that the work and process that goes into developing them is forgotten – if thought about at all.
One industry area that has exploded in recent years is sports betting. Since the Supreme Court’s decision to effectively hand over legislation to the states in 2018, millions more Americans have been able to bet legally. Online and mobile is the main way new customers bet these days, so effective and user-friendly sites and apps are an absolute must.
These sports betting websites need to have all the required components, while still being able to stand out from the crowd. Developing the sites takes expertise and programming skill. But there are some sportsbook operators that manage to do it much better than the competition.
Sports betting websites tend to look very similar to the beginner. This is both a benefit and a restriction to the betting companies. The advantage is that even the most inexperienced of customers should be able to work out where to go and use the site in the shortest time possible. But that important part about standing out from the crowd is made more difficult.
Designers and developers need to figure out how to produce a website that can be used easily and quickly. There is a lot of information that needs to be gotten across with limited space. So navigating the site needs to be an easy task, whatever the reason for the user’s visit.
If you have spent any time on sports betting websites you will have noticed that a generic layout has been used by just about everyone. There may be a landing page advertising the latest sign up offer, but once you enter the site proper, the look and design do not alter much from an industry standard.
Although that does restrict designers and developers somewhat, there is still a lot you can do to make a betting site stand out. The use of graphics and images is not widespread but can be used to great effect. Creative use of the information and required sections is possible.
We have just touched on the importance of images when designing and developing an online sports betting site. Although these kinds of sites are very functional – in that the user wants to complete a very specific task – using images to highlight the information can attract more customers.
With sports betting sites there is a quick turnover of time-specific marketing ideas and images, with good use of color, which are a particularly successful way of pointing visitors to specific sections when needed. As long as the information is still there for more experienced users, and those with a task in mind, images can really add to the presentation.
This is a factor that all sports betting website developers have to find a solution for. There is a lot of information to be relayed to the visitor at any given time because of the sheer number of sports events happening all across the world. But research has shown that users do not tend to scroll down past what would be the traditional fold.
That means that any designer needs to do his or her research into what exactly the customer will be looking for. There is always the chance to browse or use a search function – and this should also be easily and quickly located. But getting the most popular information and betting markets to the fore is crucial.
Figure 2 Developers need to think about laptop and mobile design
A quick glance at any sports betting site will show you exactly how customers are used to seeing things. There will be a menu strip down the left-hand side of the screen, with all the available sports – possibly with some highlighted events or favorites at the top for ease of use.
The right-hand side of the screen is devoted to a betting slip and marketing placements, including any promotions currently running. The main banner will also have a menu bar with the sportsbook’s logo and the login and register buttons in the top right hand of the screen. The main central section is devoted to the most popular betting markets of the day and can be scrolled.
Breaking the Norm?
Any sports betting site designer or developer needs to take into consideration whether there is enough room to come up with something different. The uniform nature of existing sportsbook sites would suggest not. But maybe that is because no one has considered presenting the information in a different way.
There are some examples of smaller sportsbooks – and some that concentrate on a particular form of betting, like esports – that have broken the mold in the past. But the profit margins of the betting firms ultimately hold sway and there is definitely a culture of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when it comes to design and layout.
The Future Design and Development of Sports Betting Sites
With more and more states legalizing sports betting in the US, there are only going to be more betting sites. There are some big betting companies that dominate the market, but there does seem to be room for smaller sportsbooks to find their own way in the industry.
It does feel as though there is little room for these giants of the gambling industry to play around with the look and feel of their sites too much. But the smaller companies may have more room for experimentation. Market research is key here. Finding out what potential customers want from their betting sites can inform the way the site is presented.
There is, of course, a reason why most online sportsbooks look the same. But, with a little creativity and market specialization, there is the possibility to develop something that does stand out from the crowd – and is still successful.