Blog 53 Gaming

Degree 53 UX review shows operators still have work to do to meet Apple’s design guidelines

14 January 2020


We have published a new UX review which shows that operators still have a long way to go to successfully meet Apple’s native UX design standards with their current products. Our team reviewed ten UK leading sports betting mobile apps against the latest Apple Human Interface Guidelines to find out how likely they are to be approved with the deadline looming in March. With this report, we aim to showcase how operators can improve their products for a successful App Store submission.

Our UX review revealed that while bet365, Coral, Ladbrokes and Unibet scored the highest (54-55/100), all of the reviewed brands received rather low ratings overall. None of the operators stood out. Some of the common low-scoring areas were web-like functionality and a lack of a clear user journey. This is mainly due to all of these products being container apps (website wraparounds) that don’t fully support the native standards required by Apple.  

Last year, Apple set out a brief guideline advising that apps available on their App Store, including real-money gaming, need to provide a great user experience that is true to the platform, being as app-like as possible. Moreover, any HTML5 content will need to be embedded in the app binary without directing customers to an external site. This means the new standard affects any sports betting, casino, lottery and bingo apps. The deadline is March 2020 and it’s still unclear whether apps that will fail to meet these requirements will be removed or their updates not accepted.

Apple has disrupted the online gambling industry by enforcing its design standards to real money gambling apps, giving very little time to operators to make any significant changes. It can take a large operator around a year to develop a native sportsbook app from scratch and requires a big investment. Many of our clients were in this situation, so we started looking into different solutions and studying Apple’s design guidelines to best meet their requirements. This report reflects our findings and recommendations on how to achieve this.

While not many can afford to build a native sportsbook, making it as app-like as possible will increase the chances of approval. The common problem that operators have is that their apps are derived from their sportsbook websites, still using web features in navigation and UI or even opening content in a browser. Today, product owners need to adopt the mobile-first approach, which Apple is trying to enforce, as that’s how the majority of people engage with digital products. Online gambling is a huge industry and it’s time it caught up with retail, entertainment and travel to support mobile engagement and provide a great customer experience.

The Apple UX Guidelines Review follows a number of reports on Betting and Gaming services in our portfolio. Our team has shared insights on the UX to help operators optimise their services and create an engaging betting experience. We have a diverse project portfolio and have worked with global operators, such as Betfred, GBG, Penn Interactive Ventures and Hong Kong Jockey Club.

The Apple Design Guidelines UX Review can be accessed here.

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