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Understanding the value of digital quality

It’s common knowledge that a great digital user experience today is a requirement for many customers. How many times will you reload a webpage or re-add something to your online shopping cart before you become frustrated and try a different site? Brands have a few seconds at the most to provide potential customers with quality digital experiences. Recent survey data finds that most consumers are impatient with poor quality, with nearly two-thirds of users leaving a digital service based on only one bad experience.

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Applause, the company I work with, recently conducted a research report that sought to better understand the role of digital quality in the modern business environment. Our research looked at global data from 2021, which spanned over 70 industries, multiple digital quality testing categories, more than 340,000 bugs, 13,000 mobile devices, 1,000 unique desktops and 500 different OS versions. The data helps to identify the most common flaws in digital experiences and provides suggestions for organizations to prevent these flaws from making their way into production, thus hopefully improving overall digital user experience. Here’s what we found:

Prioritize comprehensive functional testing

Your organization’s digital quality hinges on effectively implementing comprehensive functional testing into every digital experience. This must be an ongoing priority. Those that make it one have the most popular and highest rated applications, consistently.

Consider accessibility more than just a checkbox

Businesses today understand that neglecting accessibility has legal risks and ramifications, but digital accessibility goes well beyond this. There are over one billion people in the world with a disability. Brands must think in terms of inclusive design to make sure everyone can access their applications and information.

Localize your applications

As brands expand into new markets, their applications, websites and products need to accurately reflect local languages and social norms to be accepted and build credibility. Digital experiences that take this into account are met with better customer adoption and brand sentiment.

Provide seamless tracking across devices and locations

It’s an ongoing challenge to get consistent application performance across different devices, networks and operating systems. Adding additional complexity, some customer experiences include both digital and physical touchpoints (think: Order online, pick up in store). Continuing to improve upon creating a seamless digital user experience from location to location, or from phone to tablet to laptop, is an area that developers and software testers need to remain focused on.

Test with real payment methods

The way we ultimately make a purchase is continuing to shift. There are options to buy with digital wallets, crypto or buy now and pay later. This makes testing for digital quality of the payment process increasingly difficult. The only way to be prepared is to do real-world testing across all of these options, to ensure each works as it should.

Improve your brand’s digital quality

The research shows that businesses who shift left and focus on digital quality earlier in the software development lifecycle are having more digital quality success with customers. Think of it like a product assembly line. Instead of checking only the final product for quality, each individual piece is checked for quality along the way, and the final product is then checked, too. That way, bugs and issues are caught and fixed earlier in the process. This translates to time saved when correcting issues, faster software releases and fewer bugs making it into production, which means a better overall user experience for your customers.

As technology and digital experiences continue to evolve through artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality, applications and online experiences are only getting more complex. Meanwhile, consumers’ demand for seamless digital experiences will continue to rise. If they are disappointed, they’ll likely open a new browser tab and find someone else who can do it better. With all of this in mind, prioritizing digital quality and embedding it earlier into your application development is not optional – it’s essential.

Rob Mason is the CTO of Applause.

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