Most companies in the iGaming industry are missing the right development process because they don’t build their products from the customer experience perspective.
Whatever you do, you need to look at user experience (UX) as a process, whether you’re building a car, making an entrée, or running a digital project.
Generally, the product owner comes up with an idea and immediately wants to release the product to market. They create a plan, find an investor and a designer, and so on. Next, they do simple research on their competition in that market and start building.
Therein lies the problem: as soon as they get an idea, they build their product and release it. I call this a monologue, a one-way conversation based on assumptions, which will very likely lead to customers’ frustrations.
Focusing on the user as a client and engaging with them in the early stages is much more efficient and cost-effective. Getting client feedback creates a dialogue and will help make a product that will meet their needs.
There’s a lot of money being pumped into the iGaming industry, but not enough of it is going into research and companies are not investing enough time in the development process.
I recently had an interesting conversation with one of the co-founders of a usability hub, in Malta, where we spoke about usability testing.
Back in Poland, I worked in a testing environment for one of the biggest eCommerce platforms in Europe, where we watched people try out the products we created.
It was a very humbling and painful experience, which taught me a lot.
It’s important to see what the user thinks of your product – because we all have plenty of really good ideas, but until you test them, you don’t know anything. You only have assumptions.
I learned that engaging with the user will help you be more successful in meeting their needs.
This involves being more data and insight-driven, which from a UX perspective means knowing as much as you can before you build so that you’re able to react early on and make the changes necessary along the way.
Sometimes you might even have to stop completely and start from scratch. But you’re better off rerouting early on in the development process than after you’ve released the final product.
You should never release a product the user hasn’t yet seen or one that’s not been tested.
That’s where usability testing comes in. You test fast and cheap and at the early stages.
In usability testing, designers are encouraged to discuss or brainstorm ideas with their colleagues and other designers during the preliminary sketches, and then release it to test on the wireframe stage before the designs become high-fidelity mock-ups ready to deliver.
In product meetings and workshops, we must give the client a voice, as theirs is just as important as ours. This is how businesses can cut costs and be more user-centred.
However, you also need to strike a balance, as what the client wants and what they need are two completely different things.
There are times when you’ll listen to the user but can’t fulfil all their wishes. A good example of this is the Facebook dislike button.
Many people pushed for it to make it happen and their voices were so overwhelming that Facebook even considered introducing this function.
Being one of the biggest marketing platforms in the world, a dislike button would kill the brands promoted on their network. So, instead they came up with reactions (love, laugh, wow, sad and so on) which show a smarter way of incorporating customer feedback.
This goes to show how important user feedback is, but you have to be wise with what you do with it and find a balance with the needs of the business. This is the challenge.
UX helps build a relationship with your users and keeps them coming back to your sites. So it’s crucial to build products based on trust.
Trust is the most expensive currency.
You’ll retain users and have loyal clients in the future. It also adds to your brand and reputation. But you need to try find that sweet spot between the customer’s needs and the needs of the business to serve the best product possible.
The only way to do so is through testing, to make sure your products provide extra value to the user.
The more research you do and the more conversations you have with the client early on, the more conscious decisions you’ll make and your release to the market will be less blind. It’s all about dialogue.
The number one rule in UX is to think like the user, but remember, at the end of the day you’re not actually the user.