Yiota Demetriou
CX & UX Designer // Service Designer // Strategist
Made with

in online gaming

Designing for better errors that build trust with stakeholders and retain customers


The client designed, built, and developed in-house online gambling and casino games. At the time, they were updating their registration service in-line with governmental policies for financial services, such as (KYC) "Know Your Customer".  

To achieve this the company introduced a new form of user identity validation that would offer more reliable answers during registration. This would eventually eliminate the need for users to submit additional proof of ID in case user verification failed during registration. 

The Problem

The ID check would happen at the point of user registration (on form submit). The handshake with the new third-party identity check server could take from 3 to 30 seconds. But when the 3rd-party check fails, the company cannot disclose much information about the reason for incomplete registration, and there is no existing way of supporting the customer. This results in a loss of trust between stakeholders and service and loss of potential customers. 

Identity verification and KYC procedures can be slow, expensive, and clunky. This means that user experience can suffer as different establishments may require varying details and users have to submit their data over and over. Not only does this pose a security risk as users offer up sensitive data to different sites, but the slow onboarding and constant error messages cause users to drop out of applications. The higher demand for digital gambling services means that more and more KYC checks are being submitted. This leads to a huge backlog of applications for verifications, with some KYC approvals taking more than a few days to complete, which is understandably bad news for our users.

The Challenge

To design a strategy for error notifications when the ID check fails. This needed to inform the user of the error, without disclosing much information; assuring the user that help and support will look into the issue for them.

My design process always starts with finding problems and causes, rather than jumping to solutions. I like to begin with the user. This helps me define product limitations, pain points, and business goals. From the user I then work backward to more research, brainstorming, prototyping, and testing solutions.

My design process always starts with finding problems and causes, rather than jumping to solutions. 

I like to begin with the user. This helps me define product limitations, pain points, and business goals. 

From the user I then work backward to more research, brainstorming, prototyping, and testing solutions.

Errors in Online Gaming

Tools Used

During the design process, I used Axure and Figma for low-fidelity prototyping, as well as Sketch and Zeplin. For high-fidelity prototypes, I used Sketch and InVision. 

Understanding User Pain Points


At the discovery phase of this challenge, I conducted 12 user interviews in order to get a better understanding of the problem. The aim is to break down the problem into objectives, to conduct research towards strategically understanding the target audience, and to build empathy models that are used to increase and retain users. 

It was important to get a sense of what users think about error messages, and what they would like to happen when their registration fails. This served as a funnel for users to open up on problems they anticipated, revealing their mental models.


  • The design of what an online form looks like is extremely important to the user. This includes colour schemes, content: how it is written, but also how it is organised and presented on the page
  • The majority of users confirmed that a badly designed form and error notification can make them want to leave the service. This means that the ease with which sites can lose a customer with a badly-designed form is alarming.
  • I also found that the registration process will have a massive impact on a site’s metrics, so it pays to get it right. It must have a seamless and user-friendly customer journey.
  • Forms for ID check links must offer an optimal experience for the player to guide them to necessary and desired tasks as efficiently as possible.
  • It is important to reduce the number of false-positive errors on registration and ID checks, and when errors do occur, we need to provide helpful, honest, and straightforward assuring messages, without disclosing much information.

The quicker a user gets to play a game, they are more likely to return because of the friendly UX
Errors in Online Gaming


Based on the interviews user feedback was captured, collated, and converted into empathy maps. These were also written up into personas of the types of users I was designing for. 

I referred to these throughout the entire product development process.  It was important to create a type of agnostic user personas with gender-neutral names in order to avoid stereotyping. This is important as overall our aim was to design a user-friendly interface regardless of age (but +18) and gender. 

Errors in Online Gaming


From the research and speaking directly to users, four areas of focus occurred towards designing for better UX in the ID validation process. The error messages are important components of this. Thus, it was necessary that the copy, display, and delivery of error messages should:

  • Alert
  • Disclose
  • Inform
  • Support

Following these guidelines helped me design an elegant and creative solution that will handle the challenge’s flow.

Errors in Online Gaming

User Journey

I mapped out the users’ steps to see how I could simplify their journey to help them reach their most important goals with the product.

Errors in Online Gaming


I start the design process with low fidelity wireframes. This is the way I iterate through many design options quickly. Based on users’ pain points my design solution didn’t only focus on the copy of the error message but how it is displayed, delivered, and interacted with.

  1. Top copy more formal alert messages.
  2. Beneath a more informal message informing the user of the problem without disclosing much detail. But here it is important to be clear and transparent in order to sustain trust with users. This message lets the user know what has happened in the back-end (i.e team has been alerted and on their way for support). Offering different tones and levels of communication diverges users’ focus on frustration and blame, and transforms this into being understood.
  3. Accompanying the above is a troubleshooting bot called Moly, who helps the user patiently understand what might have possibly gone wrong. Molly is designed as a friendly bot with an elegant conversational design that is intuitive to the user. Using this approach helps retain users' attention whilst help is on its way.

Errors in Online Gaming


I created wireframes for visualisation and testing purposes. To design this approach it is important to understand the conversational aspects of Molly the Bot, and it’s role in reporting the error and at the same time providing reassurance to the customer. Interacting with a human-like bot can be an efficient approach to gaining time and the user's focus whilst they are waiting for administrative communication, assuming that this happens instantly and in real-time.

More registered users
cups of coffee

A good error message is so difficult to get right!