Whether you are a business owner, entrepreneur, or simply in charge of the company’s next web or mobile development app, there is one step you will feel tempted to skip, but shouldn’t, and that is Quality Assurance.
Most web development agencies offer this service as part of their packages, but more often than not, clients tend to underestimate the importance of quality assurance and turn it down, because they think it is a “waste of time and money”.
And this is mostly because quality assurance has been misunderstood over time. But in this article, we will explain what quality assurance or QA is, and more importantly, why you should never opt-out of it.
What is Quality Assurance or QA?
There is a common misconception that quality assurance is the same thing as testing, which is a mandatory part of any development project. This leads many companies to turn QA services down because they think that it’s either unnecessary or maybe even a way for the agency to “get more money from them”.
In reality, quality assurance is a complementary process on top of testing and quality control, not an equivalent or replacement. Think of it as a pyramid, where the base is Testing, the middle part is Quality Control, and the top is Quality assurance.
- Tests are there to make sure your features work.
- Quality control confirms they work every time;
- But quality assurance makes sure everything works well, all the time.
Also, tests are corrective tasks – looking for bugs to correct or fix – which means this process can’t start until some development has been done and is ready to be tested. So, whatever issues were overseen in the planning phase can not be corrected or fixed through testing. Bad UX is bad UX, no matter how many tests you run.
Quality assurance tasks, on the other hand, are preventive – they are meant to find ways to avoid bad UX, bugs, and other issues – and the process of QA should start right from the requirements gathering or scoping phase and only end with the delivery of the final product. This means that QA helps you foresee potential issues before they happen and avoid them.
When and Who should do QA?
Quality assurance is an ongoing process that starts from the second you sit down with a development agency, a freelancer, or your own developer to discuss a new website or app, a rebuild or even simple maintenance.
Moreover, QA tasks do not end once your platform or changes go live or are released to the public. Quality assurance should continue for the entire time your digital platform is available on the market.
As to who should do QA tests, this task is best left to a QA expert or an experienced project manager. But if you can’t afford to have a QA tester on your retainer, or you would simply prefer it to be someone from your team, make sure they have at least a bit of user experience knowledge and that they understand the project inside out.
So, why should you make sure the web agency you work with provides QA? Here are 7 reasons.
1. Quality assurance saves you time and money
Because of its preventive nature, QA saves you time and money and this is probably one of the best benefits of the process. Since QA tasks are preventive, this means that the job of a QA tester is to literally prevent possible issues.
QA testers are there to “poke holes” – they might seem like annoying pests, but their job is to imagine every scenario possible and find all – or most – the potential problems.
They are your risk managers and your problem solvers, and their results will save you a lot of time on development not just by pointing out potential bugs, but also avoiding bad UX which will later require changes in the scope.
2. Quality assurance keeps your users happy
It is a proven fact that users will abandon a competitor website for your offerings if your user experience and customer journey are better, even if the price and quality of your products or services are identical. This means that a consistently great experience makes your users choose you instead of your competition, and it makes them come back again and again.
Since QA goes beyond just making sure everything works properly and it actually taps into UI/UX too, it also helps provide a more than a great experience for your users. in other words, QA ensures that valued consistent experience, so whenever a user lands on your web or mobile app they will always have an awesome user journey.
3. Quality assurance will prevent company crises
Web development work based on Murphy’s law – “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. And normally, QA is there to prevent at least most of these risks. But skipping on QA might mean that your company’s development processes are “free game” for potential crises.
Do you remember when this image started showing up all over the internet?
It’s true that there are a plethora of reasons why the GPS tracking decided to go wrong that day, but if the map services Uber used at that time were put under more scrutiny and better QA, “mishaps” like waiting for your driver only to find them at sea could have been avoided.
Here’s another scenario: imagine you are running a marketing campaign, but your email notifications never land in your users’ inboxes because you skipped QA tests, and the tests the developers did showed that everything worked – they sent an email and the recipient received the email. All is well… except that the email they sent landed in the spam inbox.
That would be a waste of time and money right? And how long will it actually take before you realize there is an issue and fix it?
The point is that relying only on tests is not an option. Tests will only ensure that the feature works – whether it works as intended, that is the job of quality assurance. And QA done properly and in good time can prevent a lot of pain in running your business.
4. Quality assurance helps efficiency and productivity
In fact, QA done right and in good time will boost your efficiency and productivity across your entire supply chain:
- You save money and time on development by avoiding potentials bugs and issues;
- You reduce the amount of time and effort that goes into customer support by using QA test and providing your customers with a consistent and great UX every time;
- You can focus on progress and growing your business without worrying about company crises that you avoided with QA;
5. Quality assurance will boost your reputation
And what happens when your web or mobile applications run smoothly, your users don’t even need customer support and your business is focused on progress? Your reputation is booming.
Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools a company can have. And with the right reputation, nothing can stand in your way.
Thorough quality assurance doesn’t just save you time and money. It doesn’t just allow you to grow your business. But it also shows your users and potential customers that you care, and gives you that competitive edge.
People remember both good and bad experiences, so if all you give them is a good experience, they will talk about you.
6. Quality assurance strengthens client relationships
It’s a known fact that pursuing a new customer is about ten times more costly than maintaining an existing one. Also, a recurring, loyal user will be much more forgiving when they encounter a bug or issue than a new user.
But the whole idea of implementing quality assurance into your development processes is to avoid potential user experience issues and bugs. So, when done properly, QA will help you strengthen your client-business relationships and build loyalty.
7. Quality assurance will bring more profits
It’s a simple equation:
Revenue – Costs = Profit
So, if you save time and money on development by avoiding bugs and future issues, you save costs. By keeping your customers happy, you maintain a constant revenue and even increase your expected revenue by boosting your reputation. You also save costs by avoiding future company crises, scope changes, and more.
All of this together means one thing:
Fewer Costs + Increased Revenue = More Profit.
So do you need QA in your life?
Yes! Every self-respecting web development agency will highly recommend you implement quality assurance into your development processes because it saves you and them a lot of headaches. But more importantly, you provide your users with an experience they will remember for the right reasons.
Quality assurance is not a step you want to skip if you care for your business and for your customers. And even though it might seem like an investment you could do without, in the long run, it will cost you less to have a QA tester working side by side with your developers than it will cost you to fix all of the future issues and bugs you will encounter.
So, if you are looking to build a web or mobile application, consider quality assurance. It might just be a lifesaver for your business. And if you need more assistance reach out to us and book a free meeting if you are looking for a web agency or simply seeking a second opinion. Our team of experts is always happy to assist.