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How to Save on Digital Product Testing Costs? Focus on Your Users.

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By Sean Conley

Quality Assurance Lead

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So you’ve decided to build a new digital solution or enhance your current technology.

Now it’s time to assess the development, design and testing process in order to create a financial plan for the project. When determining how to best spend your company dollars, our experts have strategies to help you get savvy when it comes to investing in quality assurance. 

Many times businesses assume that it’s the safest bet to test on all devices and for all audiences. However, quality assurance should be approached as a strategic and flexible investment that shouldn’t be seen as a fixed expense, but rather that can be tailored to your unique needs and budget to become more cost-effective. Our primary goal is to help you find the best way to efficiently and effectively test your product. So what’s the solution? 

We work with you and industry data to better understand who your users are and how your users behave. Ultimately, focusing on your user experience will help you manage your expenses and determine where most of your testing dollars should be strategically allocated. 


Plan testing with your end users in mind.

When it comes to testing, it is critical to understand your audience inside and out. There are a number of factors that our quality assurance experts help you consider in order to make your budget go further. 

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Understand who your users are and how they will be using the product. 

Let’s say you plan to build an external application that you expect a large number of your customers will utilize each day. Before testing starts, we use data and research to narrow down your customer personas. However, this goes past just the typical demographic specifications: you need to know your customers’ behaviors when they use a digital application. Are they slow to trust new software updates? Do they need a modern device with a camera to use your application? How one audience behaves another might not, and understanding your audience is a critical first step.

If your users are restricted to certain devices or browsers, making it a priority to test those will help lower project costs. Here are a few scenarios to consider for your digital product:

  • Statistics show that Apple users readily accept operating system updates, whereas Android users can lag by as many as 4 full versions of the operating system. In terms of market share, while iOS has a slightly higher presence in the United States, globally it’s the complete reverse. There are nearly 3 times more Android users worldwide than there are iOS.
  • Because it’s tested for general public consumption, an eCommerce or retail site may require a broader set of testing environments due to the wide variety of potential users. Chrome, Safari and Firefox are often thought of as the most popular desktop browsers, but at this moment Edge is actually slightly more in-use than Firefox. According to StatsCounter, leave out either and you’re automatically creating a lesser experience for about 5% of your users. Additionally, deprioritizing sunsetted technology also makes for smarter testing (sorry, Internet Explorer).  
  • Digital products developed for a wide range of ages will need to implement design techniques and interactive elements that will connect both young and old users. It’s almost certain that users at both ends of the spectrum are not using the same devices or even the same features of their devices. The trick lies in understanding what compels some users to stick with older designs in favor of updated technologies, while keeping the group who enjoys new features still interested. In the end, covering the testing needs will likely require more hours and more testers.
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Leverage creative and curious human qualities into usability testing.

Humans are naturally curious beings. We do not always follow the typical path that an application user is expected to take. So why should you test your product in a non-human and rigid method?

Think about it this way: how many times have you entered an inexact phrase into the search feature on a website? How did the digital application respond? Did you receive an error message? Was the website flexible and still work even with a different phrase? Or maybe the worst happened and the site crashed your browser? 

We’ve all been there, and it is frustrating for any user when they cannot achieve what your site is supposed to help them with. Your customers may associate any technological frustration with your brand and go find another business website to purchase from, ultimately losing you retention and revenue. This makes sense when 65% of customers have claimed to switch to a different brand after a poor experience.

That is why it is crucial to budget for quality assurance testers to deviate from a prescribed test plan. Ensure that exploratory testing can be carried out by providing enough resources and freedom to move around in an application to stumble across any unexpected issues that might impact users. 

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Test for accessibility and security.

Accessibility and security are essential in the testing process. These should never be overlooked for ethical reasons as well as legal consequences that can cost you down the line. 

Testing for accessibility standards allows everybody to have unfettered access to information and services on the web. For example, those with reduced vision widely use Apple TalkBack or Android VoiceOver. These tools help them access content and gather information from a site that would otherwise be off-limits. 

Is your website designed to properly utilize screen readers in support of these users? If not, it may be time to optimize so that all users can benefit from the goods and services that you provide. To produce a site that follows international standards for accessibility, it may require more testing but the positive impact to users with disabilities cannot be overstated. 

As for security, naturally your users expect that you are taking steps to keep their information from falling into the wrong hands, and their trust is based on how well you deliver. If you are collecting their data and personal information, one should never ignore testing for any leaks that could put them at significant risk. By implementing secure coding practices during the development process and checking for common security issues during testing, you can build an extra layer of reassurance. If a hacker is looking for vulnerable sites, yours will be less enticing. It’s an initial investment with huge payouts in terms of reputation.

Adopt a dynamic but balanced testing approach.

The final way to save on testing dollars is by using a mixture of manual and automated testing strategies. Manual testing is a tried-and-true testing strategy that puts human eyes on your product, while automation testing can save businesses both time and money. Neither alone is a perfect solution, so a combination of strategies that takes advantage of both human flexibility and curiosity paired with machine speed and reliability is often a winning approach.

Human eyeballs are often better at catching human errors, especially those related to designs or text elements of a site. Manual testers are more likely to catch spelling and grammar errors and even suggest design improvements. They also understand fundamental elements of a site like intent and purpose, and are advocates for usability. When an area of a site is confusing or frustrating it’s the manual tester who will advocate for a better experience.

But because every human has their limitations–attention spans, temperaments, and distractions–machines add efficiency to a human process. That’s why many organizations are investing in new automated technologies that have only become popular or even possible in the last five to seven years.

Our team at Nerdery leverages automation depending on the complexity of the project. For example, after collaborating with a global medtech company to build a next-generation mobile application that monitors cardiac arrhythmia for patients and clinicians, it was quickly realized that full manual testing on a single device and operating system would take up to three weeks to complete. 

Nerdery’s answer was to first understand the challenge from a manual testing perspective. It took many months of translating manual user behaviors to automated machine code, but the end solution was worth it for the client. Our teams created more efficient test automation that accelerated the testing process to complete in as little as two hours. This allowed for more frequent updates to new devices and systems while ensuring ongoing quality for users. Additionally the new testing solution expanded the testing device pool from being solely Android- and US-specific, to reach a broader international audience. 

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With these kinds of benefits, automation may seem like an obvious choice, but does it work for your unique website and budget? There are many misconceptions about automation. The term itself implies that the testing happens without any human intervention, and there are many tools on the market that claim their artificial intelligence algorithms are the right fit for all automation needs. 

In reality, businesses must first understand the necessary testing for their specific situation and then translate the same test steps into machine code. That process can take much longer than the manual testing process itself, so there’s often a front-loaded cost to automation that gets overlooked; what’s more, the ongoing maintenance of that code must also be in the budget.

In the end, a balance of manual and automation testing may be the perfect solution, but the approach must still be designed and optimized for your unique digital product solution.

Aim for user-focused testing. Your customers and your budget will thank you.

Taking the time to put thought and research into testing for your users will save you expensive headaches down the road. In the end, your customer will appreciate a website or app that is accessible, secure and works seamlessly with their everyday digital needs. Our quality assurance team is composed of experts with diverse backgrounds and a passion for making sure your digital product is a well-oiled machine. 


Ready to enrich your customer experience?

Connect with an expert at Nerdery to get started.