With the bar of customer expectations raised higher than ever before, make sure avoidable issues aren’t damaging your brand’s revenue or reputation.
It goes without saying that quality matters when you launch or update a website or mobile app. Five years ago, we had to make the case for digital quality by convincing businesses of its impact on revenue, spelling out the connection between customer experience and customer spending and revisits. Nowadays, most of our clients understand very clearly that customers vote with their feet when digital quality is poor, and know that it can make a massive dent in revenue and profits.
These days all of us are consumers, demanding our digital and mobile apps deliver simple, flawless experiences whether we’re using an office application, a banking platform, a social media app or an ecommerce site. That means that the bar is at an all-time high, when it comes to meeting digital quality expectations. Customers have a very short fuse and will walk away with little provocation, anticipating that there’s a competitor round the virtual corner who’s hungry for their business and won’t make their digital life inconvenient.
It’s more important than ever to eradicate avoidable issues when developing your digital assets. That’s why in this blog we’re sharing the top ten app and web testing issues that we tackle for our clients every day. There are straightforward fixes for all these common issues in digital projects: take a look through our hotlist to check that you’re not falling into any of these common traps in your web and mobile app testing.
1 – Insufficient testing for browser compatibility
Poor browser compatibility is an obvious turn-off – if users can’t see your content clearly and transactional features don’t work well, they’ll move on.
You need to make sure that your website supports all browsers that your visitors use to access your site. Use tools like Google Analytics to get an idea of what the most popular browsers are, so that you can prioritise compatibility testing for your website and as a bare minimum, be sure that the most popular browsers are rigorously assessed.
But it’s not just a numbers game. You can’t afford to alienate customers who may have a potentially high value. And user preferences change. So you do also need to test less popular or niche browsers, as well as older versions of popular browsers.
Not everyone will be using Chrome, Edge or Firefox. Your site needs to work consistently across as many browsers as possible so you can engage and retain visitors to your site. If a visitor to your site experiences an issue, they probably won’t continue using it, nor spend any money on a purchase they have to struggle to make. Moreover, they might tell others about their poor experience. And you’ll certainly miss out on any positive advocacy they might have offered if they’d had a great experience on their chosen browser.
2 – Failing to conduct thorough functional testing across mobile
Many websites and apps suffer from functional issues on different mobile devices, because they haven’t been tested on all the devices their customers are using.
Nowadays, it’s widely acknowledged that mobile is the most common way for many users to access websites. Testing has historically prioritised desktop devices but.
In 2022, there are 6.64 billion smartphones in use worldwide – well over 80% of the population. 90% of internet users go online with a smartphone. And smartphone usage is continually increasing – it’s estimated that there will be a billion more by 2027. Thorough functional testing across mobile is essential.
There are three issues that mobile users regularly face. First, poorly functioning mobile apps. Speed is a particular issue, with users likely to abandon a mobile app if it fails to load within three seconds. Secondly, a consistent experience. Mobile users should be able to access the same functionality that desktop users enjoy. This includes sign-up and log-in pages, menus and consistent rendering across varying screen sizes and resolutions. Thirdly, carrier variations. It’s important to test how your app performs on different networks too. They each have their own configurations: just because your website works well on one mobile carrier doesn’t mean it will on another.
3 – Failing to conduct thorough functional testing across desktop
Yes, it’s the same problem but in reverse. Some companies are so carried away with the news that mobile is predominant that they drop the ball on desktop testing. Responsive mobile design has become the default for many development teams. But although desktop usage may be in the minority, crucial segments of your target audience may over-index on desktop. Some users prefer browsing and reading on a larger screen. Many others will consume information and consider purchases across multiple devices on their user journey – inconsistency in the experience can undermine their trust in your brand. And the trends are different in different markets and industries.
If you allow more affluent or discerning users to experience glitches and poor function, it can hit revenue and reputation hard. Make sure you’ve looked at your user profiles carefully before pulling the rug out from desktop testing, or your could be making a catastrophically expensive mistake.
4 – Poor data security
Data security is a constant challenge for organisations to deal with. Hackers regularly probe company security for weaknesses. New viruses and malware are constantly being developed to exploit unpatched software vulnerabilities. Paying insufficient attention to security in your QA testing is a big risk. You could lose revenue, compromise data and destroy customer confidence if you leave cracks open for malware or criminals to invade.
Proper cybersecurity means following strict and up-to-date practices to stop attacks. Failure to do so will almost certainly result in your organisation’s security being compromised – retail cybercrime was up 33% in 2021. The potential damage to your company’s systems is one big problem with that. But data breaches can put you on the wrong side of compliance legislation – attracting hefty fines in some sectors – as well as causing massive damage to the trust between a brand and its clients.
A 2021 report by Paysafe revealed that 44% of consumers didn’t feel comfortable entering financial details to pay online. By taking systematic steps to ensure both new and existing customers are confident in your payment and financial security, you’ll encourage them to complete purchases and to return for a reassuringly similar experience next time.
5 – Failing to provide an intuitive experience
While it’s important that your website’s visual design is up-to-date with the latest trends, a HubSpot report reveals why a large number of consumers view easy navigation as the most important factor in website design.
Clear and easy navigation guides site visitors to the information they’re looking for, quickly and easily. If they can’t find what they want, they’ll inevitably go elsewhere.
Common problems that can negatively affect website navigation are:
- Broken links
- Slow loading speeds
- Complicated menu structures
Avoiding these problems goes right back to the start of the process: you need a website design approach with a clear vision for self-explanatory user navigation.
How will you know if you’ve succeeded with your design? A website or mobile application can be considered intuitive once a user is able to navigate it without having to stop and think what the next step is. Thorough user testing before launch or when you make changes, using testers whose profiles match your target audience as closely as possible, is the best way to zoom in on any awkward aspects of your user journeys.
6 – Not performing testing frequently enough
Tick off your pre-launch web testing and you can tick off any future problems right? Of course, this is not the case. You need to repeat website testing regularly to identify any conversion blockers that are costing you revenue, as well as any potential issues that appear over time before they become critical.
Most of us know this, but unless you schedule regular repeat testing and fence the budget and resources, it’s all too easy for ongoing testing to drop off the agenda. Testing new products and features tends to take priority. It’s vital to keep a balance, or customer experiences can be eroded over time, with insignificant changes or evolving user preferences making far more difference than you realise.
Functional testing also needs to be conducted continuously: new devices and browsers are constantly released into the marketplace and your digital products need to keep up.
7 – Leaving digital accessibility to the last minute
If you don’t take digital accessibility seriously when you’re creating websites and apps, you’re missing out on a share of the £249 billion spent annually by customers with disabilities and impairments that can affect the way they engage with digital products. You could also risk breaching equality regulations for your sector or country, as well as achieving some very negative PR, if you don’t strive to meet the WCAG standards on digital accessibility. WCAG 2.2 will adds nine new areas to address.
The best time to factor in accessibility for your website or app, is right from the start. It’s more costly to make retroactive changes than to build them into the initial design.
Find out more about WCAG standards and best practice approaches to accessibility testing in this detailed guide: Everything you need to know about accessibility testing
8 – Releasing new features breaks the existing live system
After any deployment or release, there’s a risk of unintended consequences. Changes can introduce defects or alter the behaviour of a flow or specific function.
It could be bug fixes, new features or configuration changes – altering anything can potentially have impacts in other areas of your digital product, and it’s almost impossible to anticipate them all when you’re working on a sophisticated app or website.
You need to carry out regression testing to check that your entire system continues to function as it should. Pay particular attention to those areas that were not directly changed in the latest deployment. Work with your testing team to develop regression testing packs that thoroughly review your entire system, so you can quickly identify any areas where changes have had an adverse impact.
Find out more about regression testing in this detailed article: How to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of your software regression testing.
9 – Localisation and the global experience
Launching digital products to a worldwide audience, rather than one geography or in a single language, brings a whole lot more complexity. Customers and users of your software or website may interact in a language different from the one it was written in. Automated translations have come a long way, but they still don’t pick up on the subtleties of language.
It’s not only mistranslations that can issues, but also different interpretations of content by different audiences, due to cultural context. Something that seems logical and intuitive to the person who created it might not make any sense to the user, or worse, could be accidentally offensive.
To avoid these pitfalls, which can at worst hit the headlines as examples of organisations being tone deaf in new markets, you need to test your apps and websites with real people who live, work and transact in the regions and cultures where you’re releasing them.
Find out more about localisation testing: Global reach with local expertise.
10 – The most common bugs
Bugs in code and errors in set-up can ruin website or app user experiences. As well as getting in the way of smooth navigation and stopping users completing transactions, they give an impression of carelessness or a lack of attention to detail. Clearly, that doesn’t play well for most brands, especially if site visitors are trusting you with their personal or payment data ,or relying on you to deliver a product or service. Here are some of the most common bugs:
- Crash – caused when a software solution, operating system or program no longer works properly and forces itself to shut down. A catastrophic error that plagues apps in particular.
- Functional error – when the behaviour of the software deviates from the expectation of the user. For example, if their login details aren’t recognised despite being correct.
- Acknowledgement error – when a user receives feedback or responses that have the wrong message, or they receive no message at all. For example, when a user signs up for a newsletter and needs to validate their email address, they don’t receive the email with the link in it to do this.
- Typos – misspellings, missed words, odd characters appearing in text… if you haven’t checked to pick these up, customers wonder what other details you might have missed.
- Control flow error – these prevent software from proceeding to the next tasks in the correct way and can prevent website conversions. For example, if a user clicks the “Go to Checkout” button at the end of an online shopping experience but is not redirected to the checkout to complete the purchase.
All of these issues are avoidable, with a combination of careful planning and development, alongside – crucially – rigorous professional testing. Your in-house testing team has its work cut out to keep on top of regular and pre-launch testing in fast-moving ecommerce environments. Talk to Digivante if you need a trusted partner to supplement internal testing resources or would like to outsource your testing completely. Our testing specialists and expert crowdtesting community can help you eradicate avoidable issues with thorough and precise testing and clear actionable reporting.
If you’d like to find out more about improving your testing approach, upweighting your resources with experienced testing leads, accessing a trusted army of vetted crowdtesters, or hiring a fully outsourced QA team, get in touch to discuss how we can help you.