Improving Digital Quality in 2023: Where to Focus

In the 2023 State of Digital Quality Report, Applause has once again analyzed a sample of our testing data across regions, industries, and testing types to uncover the most common barriers to great digital experiences. More importantly, we’ve also called out how to prevent those defects from reaching customers and provided frameworks that outline the core capabilities and practices typical of organizations at different stages of their digital quality journeys.

These frameworks draw on commonalities Applause has observed across our customers at various levels of progress on the path to digital excellence. Though companies may use different tools and development methodologies, and take varying approaches to digital quality, we see consistency in the ways they evolve to create more consistent, efficient and effective quality processes across the business.

We encourage you to use the frameworks to benchmark the structure, efficiency, effectiveness and scalability of your organization's digital quality efforts across multiple dimensions. Though cultures, processes and maturity levels are dynamic and there’s not always a clear delineation where one stage ends and another begins, a close look at the way you currently operate can spotlight which efforts will yield the greatest digital quality improvements.

The different stages that make up each framework:

Digital Quality ExcellenceQuality is embedded across the organization; testing and feedback occur throughout the SDLC. Quality is built into all products and experiences from end to end.
Digital Quality ExpansionClear processes, some reporting, and a variety of testing types are in place. The focus is on coverage, scalability and efficiency across the organization.
Digital Quality EssentialsEarly stages of defining and documenting processes and procedures; the business is establishing some consistency and structure around test efforts.
Digital Quality EmergenceLack of formal systems, processes and documentation — the organization has no consistent methodology or approach to quality.

The full State of Digital Quality report includes examples of the types of organizational capabilities and activities that characterize each stage, with the functional testing framework providing a foundation for other testing types. The additional frameworks, focused on accessibility, localization and payment testing, all assume that an organization has reached (at a minimum) the corresponding level for functional testing — for example, a company in the expansion stage for functional testing may be in the essentials stage for accessibility testing and emergence for assessing localization. Without the processes and capabilities described in each stage of the functional framework, it’s virtually impossible for a team to achieve excellence in other types of testing.

While most companies and teams mix practices from different stages, one stage typically describes the business’s prevailing approach to quality. The frameworks can serve as a valuable starting point for understanding your organization’s progress along its digital quality journey and how to level up to reap the competitive advantages that accompany increased quality and usability. If your organization is currently establishing or enhancing systems to ensure quality, the frameworks can guide you in developing testing plans that cover the most common devices, emerging forms of payment, and key considerations around accessibility and localization, as these are areas where Applause sees organizations focus as they improve their digital experiences.

Some additional highlights from this year’s report

  • Digital quality is an intersectional discipline. While QA teams may assess functionality, localization, accessibility, payments, customer experience and UX separately, they all connect. Leading organizations assess different components of an app or digital experience holistically, not just in isolation, to truly understand the customer experience. With Applause testers uncovering more than 200,000 defects last year, it’s clear that development organizations have a long way to go in the pursuit of excellence.

  • Accessibility is still a high priority. Our 2023 accessibility and inclusive design survey found that 46% of respondents rated accessibility as a top priority for their organization; while 72% reported that their company has a dedicated accessibility expert on staff. Product designers and engineers are building accessibility into products and code sooner and more often than in the past.

  • As more personalized experiences become the norm, organizations must assess functionality and UX across more device combinations, configurations, workflows and dimensions. Test matrices — and applications themselves — are becoming more complex and harder to manage.

For more details on the most common types of defects, most frequently tested devices, and average number of configurations tested across different industries and testing types, read the full report.


State of Digital Quality 2023

A comprehensive report outlining the most common issues uncovered during testing – and ways to prevent those defects from reaching customers. Guidance on how to improve digital quality.

Read 'State of Digital Quality 2023' Now
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Jennifer Waltner
Global Content Marketing Manager
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