Background

Sports betting is the activity of placing a wager on the outcome of a competitive game. For many people sports betting is an additional source of income, while some even make their livelihood from it. The more a sports better knows about a game and the available odds, the more chance they have of winning and making a greater return on their bets.

TX Odds provides an automated monitoring service of the global betting market by aggregating odds from bookmakers around the world. Sports betters can use this information to make educated bets with the bookmaker that’s offering the best odds.

I was hired by TX Odds’ contracted graphic design and video production company, Mothball Design, to evaluate the effectiveness of TX Odds’ existing website and recommend improvements for the user interface.

Surveys & Interviews

To evaluate the effectiveness of the website and identify areas for improvement, we conducted stakeholder interviews to understand the business requirements, and conducted a user survey to understand the users’ needs.

We received 1,381 survey responses from users, giving us a large quantity of data to analyse. Our analysis of the data enabled us to identify different types of users and their respective pain points. We were also able to use the data to clarify the objectives of the project, which were:

  1. To communicate the quality and value of TX Odds to potential customers and investors

  2. To clarify the services that TX Odds provided

  3. To make the website more accessible for new users

  4. To make the website more efficient for experienced users

“Focus on explaining the betting terms and how you obtain the data. The terms are very vague, so for the public it’s only numbers and means nothing more. Maybe it has value, but the public does not understand it.”

TX Odds User & Survey Respondent

Personas

A persona is a representation of a product or service’s typical demographic. Based on our research, we identified two personas: “the casual beginner” and “the career professional”.

“The casual beginner” was our primary persona, which represented users who were relatively new to sports betting. Beginners found the existing website unwieldy because of the esoteric terminology and navigation structure. They also didn’t understand what services or value TX Odds offered them due to the lack information available on the website.

For the purposes of this brief, “the career professional” was our secondary persona. Professionals were knowledgable and experienced users who were already familiar with the TX Odds website, and understood the terminology and value. As sports betting was a source of income, they wanted practical features that enabled them to filter and analyse information more efficiently.

The challenge was to redesign the content and interface of the website to accommodate and retain beginner users, while not alienating the professional users.

User Interface Design

When redesigning the user interface, we made a concerted effort to retain the familiar layout and features that were valued by professional users. To make the terminology more accessible for beginners we added a glossary page, tutorials, and “tips” - contextual pop-up boxes that explained terms in plain English. To aid learnability and legibility we used hierarchy and contrast to emphasise the most important interactive elements and organise the dense numerical data.

Originally all of the website’s content was hidden behind a login form. Once users had logged in they were immediately directed to tables of data, which was overwhelming for beginners. We redesigned the flow of the website so that users were presented with a welcome page that summarised TX Odds’ services and their benefits, before being directed to more information or the sign up form.

We drastically simplified the interface for saving personalised filter preferences and reduced the number of required steps so that users could quickly filter out the data that they didn’t need.

The content of the website was restructured and grouped under a new taxonomy to be more navigable for beginners, while not being a dramatic change for professionals. In addition to the top-level navigation, we also included a site map in the footer to give professionals an overview of the website’s structure.

With so many sports, leagues, teams, bookies, and odds types to choose from, filtering data is essential for sports betters. To make filtering more efficient, we drastically simplified the interface for saving personalised filter preferences and reduced the number of required steps so that users could quickly filter out the data that they didn’t need. We also reorganised the contents of each filter category so that the most frequently used terms were at the top and the rest were alphabetical.

Conclusion

As I had a limited time to contribute to this project, I provided TX Odds with a detailed specification document that included the rationale, design recommendations, and implementation guidelines for the development team.

I also advised that the next stages of the project should include user testing of the design recommendations and implementing the next most prioritised features that we identified during our user research, which included creating video tutorials, introducing more languages, and creating a mobile application.

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