Online casinos have established a fairly consistent design style in the decade or so that they’ve been with us.
Of course, the choices near the beginning of the online casino era were largely decided by limited bandwidth and processor power (not to mention, shall we say, a certain lack of incentive to employ people with design talent and/or experience…).
Still, the basics have to a large extent remained in place as we have migrated to a more sophisticated Internet environment. While designers have much more leeway (and encouragement) to explore multimedia and branding possibilities, the vast majority of the online casinos have the same overall design aesthetic today as they did at the turn of the century.
Take a look at a great example, the long-running English Harbour Casino.
Back in 1998/99 when the online casino was one of the first of its kind, the look was decidedly basic. Keeping in mind that the majority of Internet users were still dependent upon dial-up connections (and Windows 98 was still the cutting edge!), the website and online slots looked rather posh…for something built entirely with HTML.
Within a year or two, English Harbour Casino had already upped the ante, so to speak, and included some higher-resolution graphics that added some much-needed branding and identity elements to the design. The real breakthroughs began around 2002/03, with frames, animated menu buttons, and a fully-realized logo.
At this point, interested onlookers must have realized that online casinos were catching up to the leading edge. 2004 saw English Harbour with its most far-reaching redesign yet, toward more simplicity and user-friendliness. CSS had begun to replace HTML — perhaps revealing the influence of an actual designer?
By the end of 2004, it became obvious that English Harbour Casino was experimenting with stylish variations to perfectly suit the maturing website and customer base. The online casino, USA friendly in those pre-UIGEA days, ultimately found a suitable template just in time for 2005 — aside from the now-iconic logo, the layout of the site is still echoed by countless online casinos today.
However, English Harbour refused to stay still. 2006 saw a more slick and visually appealing design, seeming to target more of the VIP image than the casual tropical casino look of former days. Yet 2007 saw a much more basic design — perhaps a change of management, or simply a more Spartan outlook?
Whatever the reason, the most recent design improvements have retained the simplicity but tamed all of the rough edges — a perfect marriage of impressive modern visuals and user-friendly directness. And, unsurprisingly, many online casinos are following suit (so to speak).
** Update ** There are always new game styles & types being released. They all look different & everyone has their own preference. Which do you enjoy playing?