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New Year, New Challenges

Jan 25, 2021 | Usability & User Experience, Retail and E-Commerce

The last year has brought major change for all of us – for companies as well as for private individuals. I don’t think I need to tell you any more about the reasons at this point. We’re all well aware of them.

But some industries have felt the changes particularly acutely in the wake of the pandemic. Lockdowns have forced retailers to adapt quickly and bring their business online as quickly as possible. Online stores and websites were launched overnight – “online as quick as possible” was probably the motto for many.

The online gaming market has also changed a lot. Not only did the number of users increase rapidly, but completely new target groups suddenly showed interest in this form of entertainment. The same happened to the video conferencing tools of this world. Whether it’s Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or something else, these tools became the linchpin of private and, above all, professional life overnight.

Fortunately, this year promises significant improvements. Nevertheless, the changed habits in private and professional life will remain – at least in part. This makes it all the more important to now put the products developed last year (under time pressure and thus without a test phase) to the test and gradually improve them.

Likewise, it can make sense to (re)test existing products with newly acquired target groups with regard to usability and UX issues. A new target group with new needs will change the outlook of what is required and expected of your digital product – and you have to identify and adapt to this. If you don’t, well, then only the products that focus on the user and their needs will remain.

So, let’s now take a detailed look at the developments and new challenges within the industries mentioned.

The Online-Gaming Market

The computer and video games market has grown enormously following the pandemic-related restrictions around the world. This is shown by Mordor Intelligence’s industry report on the global games market.

Video gamers in the US state that they spent 45% more time playing video games during quarantine than in the times before. 29% of US gamers said that they have been spending more time playing online with friends since the start of the pandemic. 17% of those in the U.K. said that they have been playing more online than offline.

Gaming also grew in Germany, where people over 65 took a step into online gaming, especially with casual games such as Candy Crush.

More users, new target groups – two factors that raise completely new challenges for the usability and performance of video games. This makes it all the more important to thoroughly test games and consoles again with regard to these two aspects. To ensure perfect performance of your games, load and performance tests are a good way to check the behavior of online games during bouts of heavy traffic. You should also consider that increasing numbers of less-skilled gamers are now becoming part of your player base, which makes a fresh review of usability and UX quite sensible. You should also include end-to-end tests in which, for example, the connection of different devices can be tested in your test portfolio.

Video conferencing tools on the rise

Video conferencing tools probably experienced the most rapid rise in 2020. While Zoom, Skype, Slack, and the like were already common terms and perhaps even used in the professional environment in one place or another, they definitely became the cornerstone of professional and private interaction last year. This is also made clear by the results from Google Trends. These also show that interest remains high for video conferencing tools.

Google Trends Worldwide

“Zoom”

“Skype”

“Microsoft Teams”

As a result of this development, many less-skilled users have had to take the leap into the world of video conferencing tools. Usability factors such as easy login and smooth access to speakers and cameras have become increasingly important.

However, it is just as important that the tools also function flawlessly during periods of high traffic. For those who are now attending school from their homes, the performance problems have demonstrated how important this is. Such scenarios need to be avoided in the future.

Here, too, Google Trends clearly shows that the use of video tools still seems to require explanation.

“How to…”

Zoom

Skype

Microsoft Teams

Online shopping boom

What happens when people aren’t allowed to do their shopping in a brick and mortar store? They order online! This has led to a massive increase in sales last year, especially for e-commerce giant Amazon. But it’s not just Amazon that is likely to feel the effects of the pandemic. According to Statista, retail websites all over the world generated almost 22 billion visits in June 2020 compared to “only” 16 billion global visits in January 2020.

A functioning online store and a well-established shipping process are more important than ever, especially for smaller suppliers and brick and mortar retailers. Future relaxations of the Corona restrictions will do little to change this.

So while solutions had to be “quick and dirty” out of the ground last year, it is now time to validate them within your target group and implement improvements. In particular, UX and usability as well as load and performance testing should be at the top of your list here.

No matter what industry you belong to, we are all feeling the effects of the pandemic – some more clearly, others less so. Lockdowns and exit restrictions have completely turned our lives and habits upside down in 2020. Now that we’ve had time to digest the initial “shock” and slowly but steadily get used to the new normal, it’s time for you to give your digital products a reality check within this new setup.

Our experts will be happy to support you and work with you to develop the right test concepts for your requirements.

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About the author

Simone Groß

Simone Groß

Content Marketing Manager

When Simone is not working on superb texts for Testbirds, she and her horse live it up on the tournament areas in Bavaria.

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Testbirds specialises in the testing of software such as apps, websites and Internet of Things applications by using innovative technologies and solutions. Under the slogan, “Testing Reality”, the company offers various testing methods to its clients looking to optimise the user-friendliness and functionality of their digital products. With over 250,000 registered testers located in 193 countries, Testbirds is one of the world’s leading crowdtesting providers. In addition, the IT service provider utilises cloud based technologies to support customers in the optimisation of their digital products. The combination of the two testing methods delivers a unique and extensive portfolio that takes the quality of software to the next level. Testbirds was founded in 2011 by Philipp Benkler, Georg Hansbauer and Markus Steinhauser. Today, the company has over 100 employees. Other than its headquarters in Munich, there are now offices in Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, franchises in Hungary and Russia and sales partners in Italy.

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