The State of Digital Quality Report (SDQ) 2022 highlights key challenges and opportunities facing companies from diverse industries worldwide. What do the findings mean for Europe?
1. New payment methods add complexity
Europe accounted for more than half (51.5%) of global payment bugs in the study. This is the highest proportion of bugs attributable to one continent across all bug categories (functional, localisation, accessibility and payment).
As is the trend across all continents, workflow errors are by far the most common of Europe’s payment bugs. At 86.4%, Europe has a higher proportion of payment workflow errors than any other continent. Workflow errors prevent payments from going through and are often tied to problems with a particular payment instrument or device.
The bad news for Europe is that payment workflow testing is only going to get both more important and more complicated. As the number of payment options available to customers proliferates, so too do payment testing considerations.
Gone are the simple days of card payments; the SDQ shows that consumers now expect to pay with cryptocurrencies and digital wallets. They also demand new ways to pay, such as buy now pay later, which adds complexity to payment testing. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Companies need to test payment in context across returns, refunds, instalment plans, subscription renewals and order cancellations. Just testing something as seemingly minor as loyalty programs can bring up unexpected challenges.
2. Inclusive design is climbing the priority list
The SDQ report suggests positive developments in digital accessibility globally, while also highlighting areas for improvement. Across the board, screen readers continue to pose the most issues for developers, accounting for 65.5% of accessibility bugs.
Now more than ever, European companies must invest in digital accessibility (A11y) if all customers are to live equally independent and autonomous lives. An ageing population and the rising prevalence of chronic conditions mean that the number of people living with disabilities in Europe is increasing, according to the World Health Organisation. With the 2025 EU Accessibility Act on the horizon, now is an opportune time for companies to revisit their inclusive design strategies .
For many companies, A11y is a box-ticking exercise. However, those that implement only the minimum changes needed for compliance miss out on considerable business opportunities. Greater focus on A11y can positively impact SEO, simplify automation and result in the creation of features that benefit both customers with and without disabilities, such as voice functionality.
The SDQ suggests that companies recognise the importance of accessibility. Globally, companies rank 70% of all A11y bugs as either extremely or very valuable.
3. AI and voice are transforming customer journeys
A 2022 Applause survey found that consumers increasingly expect businesses to have AI applications like automated chatbots and voice systems. Among European respondents, 26% said they always expect mobile apps to have voice assistants and 51% said they expect it in certain scenarios.
As the SDQ report highlights, AI and voice require unique approaches to testing. Without considerable quantities of data produced by diverse groups to train and test algorithms, AI applications won’t work properly. In fact, data challenges cause 80% of companies to find AI development more difficult than expected, according to Dimensional Research. If they are to succeed, companies need a global AI/ML data collection and quality program.
Just as with accessibility, incoming legislation is likely to sharpen focus on AI in the future. The draft EU Artificial Intelligence Act (EU AIA), if enacted, will enforce strict requirements on certain AI applications either produced or used in Europe. We recently posted a blog on how global companies can prepare for the EU AIA.
4. Poor and missing translations have far-reaching implications
Tests performed in Europe accounted for more localisation bugs than any other continent: 46.7% of the global total. Poor and missing translations comprised 71.7% of Europe’s localisation errors.
While issues in currency and number formatting were rated the most valuable bugs — for the obvious reason that these impact the bottom line — European companies should not underestimate the value of translation bugs.
Over three quarters (76%) of global consumers prefer to buy from websites with information in their native language, according to a study from CSA Research. In Germany, over half (57%) of consumers won’t buy from foreign language websites at all — higher than anywhere else in the world. As former German Chancellor Willy Brandt famously said: “If I’m selling to you, I speak your language; if I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen!”
Customers seek localised websites for multiple reasons, the most obvious of which is comprehension. If a customer can’t understand how to proceed in a flow, they may abandon the action at hand. Customers also want to feel that the brand understands them, something that culturally-insensitive language, designs and even colours do not encourage. In this sense, translation bugs have a more nuanced impact than normal content bugs. For a detailed example of how companies can implement true localisation, see our case study with a leading gaming provider.
5. Content and visual errors are a problem
Tests conducted in Europe accounted for 37.7% of all the worldwide functional bugs examined in the report, nearly one third more than North America (28.3%) and two thirds more than Asia (22.7%).
Europe rated highest for visual bugs, which at 18.61% made up the largest proportion of the continent’s functional errors. Visual bugs curb customers’ ability to view certain information because page elements are misaligned or don’t fit in an area. While customers did not rate these bugs highly valuable, they can prove critical in some instances, such as when travel timetables aren’t visible.
Content bugs also pose a particular challenge for European companies. 12.36% of all functional errors in Europe are related to content, meaning that texts don’t read very well as the result of typos or grammatical errors. While something as small as a typo may seem insignificant, customers say otherwise. In a recent article titled “Why Typos Should be High-Priority Bugs,” an Applause test architect uses the following example: if an airline company makes a mistake as careless as misspelling their name, would you trust them with your safety?
Part of the reason visual and content bugs cause problems is that they are challenging to automate. Validating that something doesn’t look right is hard without human input — increasing the importance of testing with real-world testers.
Digital quality is increasingly becoming a differentiator for businesses. To stay competitive, organisations must consistently deliver seamless experiences, while keeping pace with rapid technology changes and rising customer expectations. Get recommendations on how to improve in the State of Digital Quality in Europe 2022 report.