The better designed the website and the better the usability, the more likely people will come back to use it – and the more views, the more conversions and the better the website performs. Gaming websites need to be at the very height of attractive web design, especially in such a saturated sector. The look and feel of the website can be enough of a deterrent, regardless of the content on the actual website itself. This especially stands for sites that utilize the features of the browser, such as games that are played within the browser. The same principles apply, but even greater caveats are required in order to make the website look good enough to keep the gamers coming back.
Firstly, the graphics on the site should be at the very height of the industry standard. A good example of this is online casino sites, especially those that offer live dealers, and update the graphics with the gameplay. But are online casino sites the most innovative in graphic design? In terms of browser gameplay, online casino sites, to reflect the nature of the sleek and sophisticated games, have to ensure their design is sleek and crisp to reflect this – and especially no lag when it comes to graphics loading. Such sites that show a preview of the game and use HD quality imagery, such is the case with Guts’ lineup of titles, work better than those that merely insinuate the level of gameplay.
Secondly, the age-old battle between scrolling and clicking comes into play. The web design gods are constantly changing the rulebook as to whether it is better to scroll down for all the information, or to click through for all the information. Clicking works best as a monitor of where the user is going on the website, but scrolling allows for the homepage to be customised completely in order to prolong the user’s time on the website. The current argument stands that scrolling is the preferential method over clicking. Some online browser games sites use clicking through as a means of choosing for the genre of game the player wants – but could scrolling allow potential fans of other genres to accidentally stumble upon something they might like to play.
Thirdly, navigation through the site should be a key feature. The idea of the site is to give potential fans a brief glimpse in the first few seconds of them being on the website, before the period of time passes that might make them a mere bounce back. If a site features complex navigation and pages and pages of sifting through headings to find the key information they want, they’re not going to bother sticking around. By making the site as navigable as possible, the potential fan should be hooked in long before they will have a chance to have to try to find what they are looking for.
Finally, the amount of text that appears on a page can have an influence on how long the page is looked at for – and the results are often not what you’d expect. Gaming sites should reflect the power of the game – it’s usually going to be fast-paced, innovative, and energetic – which can be ruined by a lot of heavy text on the page. For example, games website Kongregate features a vast amount of games to choose from, but aside from the initial large thumbnails, the site turns into text, with the user having to click through to see if they want to play the game. The site runs the risk of having the user leave if they can’t find what they want and can’t be bothering looking for it.
Web design is crucial for any website – but for gaming websites, the essence of the game and the gameplay needs to come across the very second the user appears on the site. There is also the added challenge of loading browser-based games and ensuring the graphics compete with those of consoles and reflect the height of the technological changes. By getting the gaming website right, the site owner will notice changes and be able to monitor how to change things in order to retain the right kind of traffic – fans who will stay with the game.