Harness the Power of QA to Turn Customer Insights Into Better Digital Experiences
Modern engineering and product teams face mounting pressure to deliver high-quality software quickly. However, it’s not enough just to make software that works — it also needs to work for your customers. That's where testing comes into play. And the best strategies? They’re built with consideration, flexibility, tuning and integration with modern DevOps architectures.
Before jumping into the testing process, it's important to take a step back to understand who your customers are and their user flows. Then it’s possible to create a testing strategy that ensures a positive customer experience.
Finding the Ideal User in UX Analysis
The crux of any good digital experience relies on a well-executed know-your-customer (KYC) analysis. This involves enveloping and embodying your user to understand their flows, user experience (UX), paths to purchase, and customer sentiment. When starting with a KYC analysis, follow the steps below:
- Perform an analysis that looks at device, demographics, early adopters, super users, etc. Now you have multiple user profiles to work with.
- Use testing to create a heat map of issues to determine challenges in the user flows. The tests can range from structured exploratory to UX testing.
- Analyze the heat map of issues to identify the areas that need further testing and improvement, which may include fixing bugs, optimizing user flows, and improving the overall UX.
- Utilize competitor analysis reports showing where your product performs well vs. weak spots that lead customers to churn. User-flow surveys ensure the UX is optimized and consumers can successfully follow the path-to-purchase.
To provide an example, one retail customer my team recently worked with (a publicly traded e-commerce company with 40-plus million active customers) selected us to provide managed application testing for its global expansion. We tested its web app through a complicated 10-country buildout using expert testers for payments testing, localization testing, UX testing, and more. For example, a major feature, say, posting an item for sale, is assigned to test. Crowdsourced testers explored the feature and went through the smaller steps necessary to complete the task, including editing the items prior to and after posting. Testers found bugs ranging from confirmation notice delays to pricing model errors to blocked payment funnels, then immediately flagged so the dev teams could shift to problem solving and fixing while improving user workflows.
Balancing Speed and Quality to Create Better Digital Experiences
Product and dev teams are constantly balancing speed and quality. While speed is often seen as the most important factor, quality cannot be sacrificed. Once you’ve gained invaluable user insights via software testing tools like competitor analysis, heat maps and user flows, start cultivating a strategy to improve issues, perfect user paths, and become more accessible.
Here you can take a number of approaches:
- Shift left and right. Engineering leaders are adopting shift left by arming their developers with test automation tools, device farms, and implementing continuous integration governance to encourage embedding more testing into everyday activities. However, there will be diminishing returns to the return on investment of these initiatives if downstream testing (shift right) signals are nonexistent, slow or overly noisy.
- Integrate automation. Whenever you can comfortably automate a test, you can reduce the workload and see benefits such as quicker time to release, lower costs, and increased accuracy and scale.
- Focus on UX. A software testing strategy should have robust coverage to match user needs. From functional to a11y accessibility testing, end-to-end flows should be examined, tested and verified via multiple runs.
- Fine-tune high-quality testers. We’ve learned the power of a curated team matched to your user base. Carefully vet crowdsourced software testers that mirror your users' O/S, device and language preferences with expertise in quality best practices, testing strategies, product goals and industry domains. Simply put, quality testers create quality results.
Ultimately, by focusing on the UX and gaining user insights through software testing, development teams can ensure an optimized digital experience. This can help to increase customer satisfaction and, ultimately, the success of a business.
Ally Gilmartin is the director, commerce and retail at Testlio, an end-to-end global app testing solution. She helps solve testing challenges for commerce and retail applications, offering her extensive knowledge and expertise to help companies guarantee seamless software performance.
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Ally Gilmartin helps solve testing challenges for commerce and retail applications, offering her extensive knowledge and expertise to help companies guarantee seamless software performance. She has collaborated with prominent retail and eCommerce companies such as Thrive Market, Wayfair, Red Bull, Away Travel, and Uber, demonstrating her ability to navigate the complexities of these industries while providing innovative testing solutions.