The State of Digital Quality Report Delivers the Industry’s Most Comprehensive Examination of Real-World Testing Data

Applause report identifies digital quality roadblocks, examines impact on brands and customer satisfaction, and provides paths for improvement

  • Report covers functional, accessibility, localization, CX and payments testing
  • Brands rank finding crashes (75%) and functional bugs (61%) exceptionally valuable
  • Poor and missing translations account for 67% of localization issues, while screen readers comprise 66% of all accessibility bugs

Applause, the world leader in testing and digital quality, today released the State of Digital Quality report, the industry’s most comprehensive examination of real-world testing data to identify the most common flaws in digital experiences – everything from voice-activated devices and wearables to online shopping, digital banking and streaming media services – and map out how companies can prevent them from making their way into production.

The State of Digital Quality report examines how organizations are balancing their developers’ desire to release quickly with their customers’ demand for high quality experiences, sometimes with mixed results. The report makes clear that digital quality drives positive brand perception and impacts revenue. Bugs eat away at the foundation of product excellence, and every error, crash and flawed user experience diminishes customer delight, eventually eroding business’ bottom line.

Applause’s extensive report examines key aspects of digital quality, including accessibility and localization. The study revealed that screen readers comprise 66% of all accessibility bugs, compared to keyboard navigation issues and insufficient color contrast which combined make up about 20% of all accessibility bugs. Poor and missing translations account for 67% of localization-related bugs. Nearly half of brands (47%) saw problems with currency and number formatting as the most valuable bugs to identify when it came to localization.

Brands value testing highly, as it eliminates bugs and dramatically reduces potential negative business impact after release. Overall, brands ranked the discovery of crashes (75%), functional bugs (61%) and lag and latency issues (53%) as exceptionally valuable. With 36% of users willing to abandon an app after a single use, and 63% willing to leave a brand due to poor customer experience, making sure digital assets and experiences work as intended is often the only difference between the winners and losers in digital quality.

“The report highlights that digital quality is a business issue, not solely a technology problem. Brands that see digital quality as an opportunity for constant evolution, rather than a box to check with each release, win consistently. Organizations that invest in innovation, intuitive user experiences, and seamless customer journeys capture serious returns in a matter of months. These companies report increased market share, faster time to market, better customer retention and satisfaction, higher average sales, and a host of other benefits that tie back to revenue,” said Applause Chief Growth Officer, Luke Damian.

To create this report, Applause analyzed a representative sample of the company’s testing data to identify the most common flaws in digital experiences and map out how organizations can prevent them from making their way into production. This data set spanned January 1 to December 31, 2021, 159 countries, 70+ industries, multiple testing categories, more than 340,000 bugs, 13,000 mobile devices, 1,000 unique desktops and 500 OS versions. Digital assets tested included websites, apps, IoT devices, mobile web and mobile apps in real-world scenarios. Applause augmented this foundational data with insight from our digital and testing experts, gleaned while working with our customers to address their toughest digital quality challenges.

Follow the Leaders

Organizations that are seeing the benefits of customer retention and satisfaction are those that have shifted left to embrace quality throughout the software development lifecycle. Rather than framing it as a final gate to pass through before release, these companies have made digital testing and quality an integrated part of the development process. These leaders have found that improving quality consistently pays off in cost savings, faster releases, and increased customer satisfaction and retention. This becomes even more important as a more complex generation of apps emerges to meet users’ expanding expectations of seamlessness and ease-of-use.

Digital Quality Best Practices

The report recommends some best practices to ensure digital quality and customer satisfaction.

Every digital experience requires comprehensive functional testing: Functional testing is the backbone of digital quality — a crucial and ongoing effort in creating exceptional experiences. Companies that produce the most popular and highest-ranking apps across all categories invest in thorough functional testing. To spark loyalty and prevent customer churn, companies must make efforts to eliminate defects before they reach end users.

Accessibility is more than a legal checkbox: While many organizations recognize that neglecting accessibility (A11y) can put the business at risk legally, full digital accessibility has many benefits beyond risk mitigation. For example, voice functionality that serves people with limited mobility may also prove valuable for a user with their hands full, while closed captions on a video may be helpful for viewers learning to read as well as for the hearing-impaired.

Localization goes beyond translation: Done properly, localization offers businesses tremendous potential to connect with new markets and grow. A poorly localized experience, however, can cost a business its reputation. As brands expand to new markets, it’s key for products to reflect the local language and social norms to build credibility. Digital experiences that demonstrate cultural sensitivity and attention to local preferences allow brands to foster trust and speed customer adoption.

Customer journeys must track seamlessly across devices and locations: Despite developers’ best efforts, apps and websites don’t always behave consistently across devices, networks, and operating systems. Small variations in the way different devices, OSes and browsers work can add up to big differences in performance and functionality, so it’s critical to test across customers’ devices of choice. As different types of experiences and transactions draw on an increasing number of digital touchpoints, the right coverage becomes a critical variable in testing strategy.

Testing with real, live payment instruments is key to ensure every customer can transact successfully: The availability of a variety of payment methods, digital wallets, cryptocurrency, and trends like buy now, pay later (BNPL) make payment transactions more complex than ever. To ensure that payment experiences are working smoothly and seamlessly across a variety of scenarios, real-world testing with real people is crucial.

Over the next few weeks, Applause intends to release additional reports focused on the State of Digital Quality for key industry vertical segments, including retail, media & telecommunications, finance, travel & hospitality, health & fitness and B2B software.


The State of Digital Quality in 2022: How Companies Can Captivate Customers – webinar

The State of Digital Quality 2022 – blog post

About Applause

Applause is a world leader in testing and digital quality. Brands today win or lose customers through digital interactions, and Applause delivers authentic feedback on the quality of digital assets and experiences, provided by real users in real-world settings. Our disruptive approach harnesses the power of the Applause platform and leverages the uTest community of more than one million independent digital testers worldwide. Unlike traditional testing methods (including lab-based and offshoring), Applause responds with the speed, scale and flexibility that digital-focused brands require and expect. Applause provides insightful, actionable testing results that can directly inform go/no go release decisions, helping development teams build better and faster, and release with confidence. Digital-first brands rely on Applause as a best practice to deliver the digital experiences their customers love.

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