If you’re looking to create a successful online game or free online game, then it’s often wise to really think about the design. Good design on a game is like a great book cover – someone walking past it in a store will often stop and pick it up if it appeals in the right way to them, and the same goes for games and browsing through a long list of potentials.
Quality of your initial presentation (logos, thumbnails, screenshots) is the biggest factor here, though, and that’s many online games, you can’t just put the initials of your game onto a small 80×80 icon and expect people to go “wow, that looks really intriguing.” Invest some time in grabbing great screenshots, developing a unique and easily-readable font, and a variety of other tweaks and finishing touches to make sure you’re the icon someone’s eyes tend to rest on.
Also, it’s worth considering the game itself, oddly enough. A lot of games have cluttered, retro (not in a good way) user interfaces, and tend to just put a player off because it’s all a little claustrophobic. People playing games on their computer have a lot of screen real-estate to work with, on average, so spread things out – ensure the elements of your user interface are nicely spaced out and easily visible, and no buttons are too small or patronisingly large. Claustrophobia while playing online poker seems a little odd, doesn’t it? Let’s try and avoid that.
Finally, it’s worth considering what makes you want to play an online game. Is it the graphics? The pitch? The sound? The price or lack of one (free-to-play with in-app purchases, or just free)? Utilise your own wants and needs in terms of what has you playing an online game and involve those in your design. Good luck, and happy creating!