User Experience (UX) - A term that stands true to its name is perceived differently by each and every user hence making it very difficult to gauge or quantify. As a matter of fact, in this digital age, the end result of any action/ transaction online today is often fueled by the experience - good or bad - provided to the end consumer. Also, with the plethora of options available to the end consumers today, it is not difficult to predict the outcome of poor UX. According to a study, 79% of all consumers switch to a competitor the minute their experience turns sour. Hence assuring a seamless and enjoyable UX is of utmost importance today, the onus of which falls on a robust assurance strategy.
Digital transformation has directed the focus of today’s market place toward multiple customer facing channels. Hence today’s digital age is reinforcing the phrase "customer is king" due to the following reasons:
- The number of customer touchpoints have multiplied significantly over the past decade
- With the rise of social media, consumers today are far more connected than ever before and often act as influencers when extending their experience with the larger audience.
- NextGen buyers are rapidly adapting to the latest technologies that are getting released in the market at a frequent rate
Among the factors mentioned above, the most critical one is the rapid adoption rate of digital technologies by customers. The new age consumer is tech savvy and proactively utilizes the various digital channels available to him or her. To put it in context to the Rogers curve (Diffusion of Innovation), the volume of innovators, early adopters and even early majority are much higher and is largely driven by NextGen consumers.
Now imagine testing a web or mobile application by keeping in mind the above points coupled with the need to provide best in class user experience. Easy? Difficult? Impossible? Well, the key here is to move beyond assuring seamless functionality and testing of the user interface. In today’s digital age, agile methodologies demand shorter release cycle with a stronger emphasis on deploying the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to achieve a faster time to market. Hence this translates to the application being tested by the end users directly and the user feedback is incorporated in the product design.
An effective UX Testing strategy starts with early involvement of the UX Quality Engineer in the systems development life cycle (SDLC) coupled with a close collaboration with the UX design and development team. This enables experience issues to be detected and rectified in the design phase itself.
An end to end UX testing strategy should also involve a combination of UX testing tools and testing techniques like usability, A/B testing, multivariate Testing, Beta testing through crowd and accessibility testing across all customer touchpoints in order to provide a rich end to end Omni channel experience to customers.
Organizations today are realizing the importance and with that, investing heavily in user experience. It is estimated that every dollar invested in UX Testing brings back to the table $2 to $100 in returns. Few advantages of enhanced UX are higher conversion rates, reduction in development cost and eventually customer acquisition & loyalty through higher NPS (Net Promoter Score). With the majority of industries undergoing digital transformations, it is imperative for testing practices to also evolve and build competency & capability for testing user experience.