Given the title of this blog, it’s likely that you have clicked on this article because you either work on the back end of a website, dealing with developers and internal testing teams alike. Or you’re responsible for the ‘front-end’ customers’ UX scores, CRO and revenue. Both of these are equally important and both are negatively affected by website bugs.
A hard fact which some perfectionists in the digital sector struggle with is the truth that no matter how many times you examine a website, there will always be bugs. Why? With new functionalities being released every week and new devices launched every month, there are hundreds if not thousands of coding combinations and abnormalities that will slip through the cracks of both automated and manual testing practices. Some of these bugs might be small structural changes that only slightly affect the user, while others could be high-level critical bugs such as a CTA button which doesn’t work on a high-traffic page. From experience, on average a website will have 38 live bugs currently affecting users. 6 of those will be critical, 10 will be conversion and 22 will be CX.
As a company with a digital presence, it’s easy to get caught up in the quantity over quality paradox. Naturally, you want to excite your users with new products and functionalities that keep you ahead of your competitors, but you also want to ensure every customer journey is easy to use and intuitive, however, this is often where software bugs lay.
In the rush to simply ‘get things out there’ testing can often be back benched until the very last moment or completely avoided until the product/functionality is live. If this happens, testing will be bottlenecked and performed under stress reducing the quality of your testing. Or if you dare to go live without testing, then you might not hear about bugs until a member of your marketing/customer service team points out some less than appropriate tweets posted online.
The Bigger Picture
Globally $1.7 trillion is lost due to software bugs across all industries. In the US alone, software bugs cost the economy $59.5 billion dollars every year. To put this number into perspective, that’s more than the net worth of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who comes in at $50 billion. What’s even more shocking is that a third of these costs ($22.2 billion) could be prevented through comprehensive website testing.
These numbers say a lot and a little at the same time. They evidently highlight a global software problem, but for smaller companies that don’t have millions of digital customers visiting their site every hour, these numbers mean little to nothing. And this is where the business case for website testing begins. Smaller companies with fewer resources, time and money often push back testing till the last moment as it’s simply seen as an added procedure, instead of a core requirement that ensures digital quality. However, in the struggle to keep up with big brands, the avoidance of website testing is actually damaging smaller brands and widening the gap between us and them.
Unfortunately, if you’re in the online retail/consumer industry then software bugs will no doubt affect you the hardest due to technological developments and security risks. For instance, just one bug can significantly reduce revenue into the tens of thousands every week. Say you have an event on and the background of your website or product pages changes. This could mean that your sizing, colour and add to basket buttons get ‘lost’ in the background. Users won’t spend the time searching for the right buttons, instead, they will turn away and use competitive brands such as Amazon. We encountered an instance like this before where one product page bug reduced revenue by £30,000 per week because it was a high-traffic item. Now imagine you have 10 of these bugs hiding in your site and you can start to see the numbers rise in potential revenue you could be achieving if all those bugs didn’t exist.
It’s no myth in the website testing industry that the cost to find and fix a bug increases by 10% at each stage of the development and release cycle. A bug which could have costed an estimated £25 during the design stage to fix (the hourly cost for an internal team member), could end up costing an astounding £25,000 to find and fix once released after it has undergone both the designed and basic testing states. The numbers continue to rise as the impact of the bug rises, the more lost conversions - the more money it takes to fix. And let’s not forget the additional time your internal team spends trying to find the bug and fix it instead of developing new products.
Naturally, every business is a numbers game and you might be thinking of getting your internal teams to check your website bugs right now. But there is an advanced, quicker and more cost-effective way of doing it; by working with website testing and digital performance companies. Website testing companies are there to work together with your internal teams, by doing all the manual labour of searching through your website for conversion, security or usability bugs that affect your website now. Again, the industry is a numbers game, so we’ll use numbers to show the price difference.
Software bugs are an unavoidable expense that constantly eat away at your revenue and conversion rates, taking up large amounts of time to find and fix. For businesses to be truly successful in the future, website testing isn't just an additional add on, it's a core requirement that saves you time and money, while improving your digital performance.