When I started at DigiOutsource in 2009, we only focused on gaming for desktop. Little did we know that mobile as a platform was looming in the near future and turned out to be an innovation that helped take things to the next level.
The mobile landscape was fraught with challenges but the technical teams and business units were more than capable. We dealt with each challenge head on as a team, and as time passed we looked back to realise the mountain we were climbing had become less steep. DigiOutsource was at the forefront of the biggest change the web world knew.
The Focus Was on Mobile
In 2012 we realised that we had lost opportunities by not taking our mobile users into account - this was not only an opportunity but a way of life that we needed to become part of. The average user picks up his/her mobile device more than 1,500 times a week! Technological advancements and a growing pressure on us as at DigiOutsource to meet customer demands for mobile access, influenced, to a large degree, the spread into the mobile platforms area.
As a business we wanted to place more focus on ‘mobile’, and created a small team consisting of marketing and software development. The main requirements for successful execution were 1.) a clear goal 2.) a means of measuring progress, and 3.) clear accountability between the focus team and 3rd
party dependency at the time.
This mobile world was new to the casino environment and so there was much to explore! In South Africa, there wasn’t a great deal of traction, and so, we had to learn from companies abroad as well as do our own research to understand exactly what it meant to code for mobile. We faced many challenges along our journey: what was fluid; what did a media-query mean; what was CSS3 and HTML5? We also had to scale our images that were originally designed for desktop to fit on these devices that were 320px. Back then, we also struggled with performance related issues as mobile devices had 2G and 3G, and we needed to build and optimise to make sure we were performing efficiently to offer the best experience.
Design Overhaul and New Ways of Thinking
We quickly realised that we had to rethink the user experience which meant an overhaul of creative design to cater for smaller screens, as we would typically lose 80% screen space when rendering for mobile. Strategic consideration of content hierarchy, as well as the UX of our product, supported tough decisions in terms of what we chose to show above and below the fold. Not only this, we also had to consider the functionality of touch screen devices that required 1 finger to 2 thumbs to operate, rather than all 10 fingers on a keyboard. These factors that guided our design decisions could not be subjective but had to be based on facts and research. The challenges presented were opportunities for us to reassess our customer experience, and is still the way we operate today – continuous review of our products for the optimum consumer experience.
We started to create mobile sites, and introduced device detection which allowed the gathering of metrics to create an understanding of users’ device choice, as well as time-of-day usage, and duration of use. At the time, mobile users navigated and used our product differently than our usual desktop users. This meant that our QA processes also needed to change; our monitoring and alerting had to be adapted for quality deployments across multi devices, platforms, browsers, operating systems, and we had to ensure we kept our eyes on the prize post deployments.
Mobile Devices and Apps
After assessing our reporting and noticing just how quickly the number of our mobile users was climbing, we realised that we needed to take a mobile-first approach - and fast!
Our initial focus was on the popular devices on the market such as the iPhone and Blackberry, but we soon realised we were missing out on 100’s of devices we had not heard of. The discovery had us change the way we code including the incorporation of responsive design – this meant that depending on the screen size we would morph the site to the best experience for you as a customer.
It became critical for us to get a foothold in the App Store and Google Play Store’s competitive markets, and so, we created our own apps too.
Once we had entered the mobile market we offered more options by giving our customers the choice to have an app on their phone or play on their mobile browser. Customers accessing the product on a desktop had both download and browser options too.
We have always been about creating the best customer experience – we fixate on it. We want our customers to feel as though they have our full attention at all times and that we have catered to their every whim.
We continue to strive to keep up with our customers’ demands and we evolve daily with the tech stacks and way forward – it really is exciting to be part of such a great time where the only thing that is constant, is change!
Is There Still Opportunity in the Mobile Space?
Definitely! There are many more opportunities, as well as capabilities, that the mobile device offers. The GPS, onboard cameras, face and finger authentication, voice recognition, iOT abilities - to mention just a few. These are functional mechanics that can add to creating a fully feature rich UX and interactive product.
Interested in a career with us? Head over to our careers page
to see if we have the perfect role for you.