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Why digital experience testing is the future
Wed, 1st Feb 2023
FYI, this story is more than a year old

A lingering question on the minds of many CXOs I interact with is what they should do to stand out in today's intensely competitive market. My answer: build a unique digital experience for customers.

While this seems straightforward, testing code in order to create the desired digital experience is where enterprises face a major roadblock. Digital native brands know the tide has shifted, and testing is indisputably the centre of SDLC and no longer a periphery activity.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that testing, which leads to a great digital experience, is the only difference between competing brands.

Based on conversations with clients and prospects, I've reached the conclusion that the building blocks of a company's testing strategy remain more or less the same: automation testing, live testing, visual regression testing, and real-device testing are building blocks each enterprise should be using these smartly to create, maintain and grow their unique digital experience.

Given that every industry is undergoing massive disruption, digital experience testing is the only logical way forward.

According to Forrester's Best Practice Report titled 'Optimise your digital experience to compete for customers": "No matter how embedded your brand is in customers' lives, if you stop meeting their expectations, it's easy for them to switch to a competitor tomorrow.

"As the ratio of digital to non-digital customer interactions continues to increase, both digital customer experiences and the data that firms collect about them will evolve in ways that will challenge and reward insights-driven, customer-led organisations."

Digital experience testing will be crucial for the success of a digital business. It will enable enterprises to craft their unique digital experience for customers. Here's what goes into a digital experience testing strategy:

Step 1: Come up with the goal(s)

To determine the goal of the digital testing experience strategy, one needs to understand the customers and their interaction with the product in and out. Also, consider the organisation's business goals and objectives.

This will help to come up with the north star goal. You can then define the metrics that will be used to assess the success, such as user engagement, conversion rates, and overall performance. The goal(s) should be constantly reviewed and refined.

Step 2: Identifying test cases and scenarios

Identify all user journeys and interactions on the digital asset to analyse how users interact with it. You can then divide them into two broad buckets: frequently-used features/functionality and edge use cases. This activity can be accomplished through user research, analytics, and feedback sessions with users.

After these interactions have been identified, test cases and scenarios based on those interactions can be developed. It is important to consider different types of users and their various needs, such as new and returning users, as well as different devices/browsers/operating systems.

The aim should be to test any possible scenario thoroughly.

Step 3: Formulate a test plan

After identifying test scenarios, a test plan would outline the specific testing scenarios that were identified during the project's requirements gathering and design phases. This would include specifics on the steps and inputs needed to run each test, as well as the expected outcomes and any acceptance criteria that must be met.

The test plan would also include a list of the resources and personnel needed to carry out the tests, as well as any testing tools/platforms/equipment that will be used.

The plan would also outline the testing schedule and milestones, including start and end dates for each phase of testing as well as any dependencies or risks that may impact the testing process.

Step 4: Include DevSecOps

DevSecOps, in the context of digital experience testing, would mean incorporating security testing into the digital experience test plan to ensure that any vulnerabilities or security issues are identified and addressed early in the development process.

Step 5: Set up a complete test pipeline

  • Creating a test pipeline for a digital experience includes several key steps:
  • Creating a testing environment by configuring the necessary hardware and software to closely mimic the production environment.
  • Identifying the most commonly used devices, browsers and operating systems by the target audience and ensuring that tests on them are included in the test pipeline.
  • The testing infrastructure consists of selecting and configuring the testing tools and resources required to run the tests. Automated testing frameworks, load-testing tools, and issue-tracking software are examples of testing tools.
  • Setting up a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline that automates the testing process as much as possible. It means integrating testing tools into the development process so that tests are executed automatically as part of the build process.
  • Managing test data entails the creation and upkeep of test data that can be used to test the various scenarios and use cases of the digital experience.

Step 6: Set up test observability

Test observability is an important aspect of digital experience testing because it allows teams to see how their digital products perform and behave during testing. This visibility enables teams to quickly identify and resolve issues, as well as ensure that the digital experience is of high quality before it is made available to users.

Test observability is required in digital experience testing for the following reasons:

  • Identifying bottlenecks and performance issues
  • Debugging and troubleshooting
  • Improving test coverage
  • Monitoring production

Step 7: Documentation and reporting

Documentation and reporting are critical components of a digital experience testing strategy because they provide a clear and detailed record of the testing process, including the steps taken, the results obtained, and any issues or defects discovered. This data is critical for debugging and troubleshooting, as well as communicating the status and progress of testing to stakeholders like project managers and development teams.

Finally, digital experience testing is the path that enterprises must take to ensure the utmost customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. The strategy should be deeply thought about i.e. can't be a copy or 'everyone does it this way, let's do it too' testing.

Also, leaders should bring in a deep culture and mentality shift. The hard, inescapable truth is–for digital natives, enterprises can't just do testing, they need to do digital experience testing.