The month of December has just begun. Commercials would portray this month using images of families sitting around a fire place in cozy sweaters sharing tea and cookies, or pictures of entire towns showing off glittery, flashy and trashy Christmas decorations. To keep the festive and contemplative spirit, an important part of December is often left out. What nobody shows you is the annual struggle most people go through right now: Christmas shopping. How does Crowdtesting fit into this topic? Let’s take a look. Rumor has it that there are people out there who finish their Christmas shopping in November to avoid overcrowded malls and last minute stress, but I have yet to meet one in my life and I’m beginning to think that we’re talking about mythical creatures here.
There is an alternative to the Xmas shopping street warfare though, one that I have to admit I myself am guilty of, online shopping. Not only is it better because store opening hours in Bavaria overlap almost completely with my office hours, but also because the internet has larger variety and, being completely honest, it’s much more comfortable. Instead of running after gifts and pushing myself through throngs of eager people coming to Munich for Christmas shopping, I just let the gifts come to me. During Christmas time, it’s especially important to be provided with user friendly and proper functioning online shops, which are all aspects that can be improved through Crowdtesting.
Testing online shops
One of the most famous studies about success factors in e-Commerce by ECC Handel (E-Commerce Center Handel) involved over 10.000 clients and consumers and revealed seven key issues for a good online shop: Design, user friendliness, range, price-performance ratio, payment methods, shipping and delivery. For mobile commerce those factors are extended with security of data connection, short loading time and clear intuitive navigation. This can only be achieved by responsive and mobile websites, which is a little trickier for developers due to the huge variety of mobile devices and the small screen sizes. Whether or not an online shop succeeds in all those different disciplines can only be judged by the end-users themselves. Ideally not in the form of bad reviews or complaints, but instead through a reality test performed by the crowd. The big plus about the crowd is that you can choose a testing group that exactly matches the online shop’s target group. So I, as a student, would probably be the right tester for a reasonable priced fashion shop with free shipping, whereas my mom would prefer to give feedback about a shop for organic food supplements and gemstones.
Crowdtesting at Testbirds
At the end, testing is what we subconsciously do every time we use an online shop. I am sure that every user bought something online before and therefore can relate to testing e-commerce. If we don’t like the shop design or we find a bug, we will probably not use the shop again let alone recommend it to other people. The crowdtesters, or shall I say we 🙂 , are helping to improve the quality of the entire internet. Not only can Crowdtesting provide more information about the usability of an e-shop, but also compare it to similar online shops in the form of competitor analysis, by checking the most common features during beta phase and/or perform a complete UX test, from typing the URL in their browsers to holding the ordered item of desire in their hands after what we would hope is a quick and smooth delivery process. In stride with the current season I would like to present a test to you that we have done with the online shop of Sport bittl, a Munich based sport and shoe store. They planned to relaunch their website at the beginning of this year and to make sure that the new page fits the clients’ needs and catches up to the service quality the clients are used to from experiences in three local stores. In an attempt to be prepared for the winter sports season they chose crowdtesting as a method to obtain quick feedback about the usability and functionality of their new website. This test was set up with 19 testers in total, all of them into sports, especially winter sports. Two of those were employees at Sport bittl, which is part of our “Bring-Your-Own-Crowd™” approach. To get a good impression on the whole shopping process and to even find hidden bugs, this test was set up as an exploratory test with ten use cases and performed on both tablets as well as PCs. Testers were between the ages of 20 and 55 years old with all kinds of employment backgrounds ranging from students to CEOs. The BugAbility™ test revealed a lot about their new web presence. First, that the design of Sport bittl was rated as very appealing, even when compared with similar online shops. Furthermore, the crowd gave good grades for the clarity of the website and the easy ordering process (yes, positive feedback is also an important part of Crowdtesting 😉 ). These parts of a website are mostly rated quantitatively using stars from 1 to 6, similar to the ratings in app stores. When it comes to more complex things such as the navigation menu, we usually let our testers give qualitative feedback in the form of short text descriptions. Referring to the functional aspects of the website: A total of 114 bugs was found, fortunately only five of them were rated as “critical”. The rest was mostly typos, display errors or usability issues, whereas loading problems were only faced once.
The general feedback to the new Sport bittl web shop was outstandingly good, but there’s always space for improvement. For example concerning the set configurator, a tool that lets you pick a whole set of winter sports gear, the crowd highly appreciated the idea, but suggested that more information of the added gear was directly displayed instead of on the specific product page only. Other issues were also changed based on our crowd’s feedback, such as the navigation of the website. While the initial plan was to open the main menu with a mouse-over, the testers recommended a proper click. That is how Sport bittl used the power of the crowd to optimize their online shop before going live. Working with the test results and implementing the recommendations the test group made, the online shop was adjusted directly to the end users’ needs. A good user experience from A to Z is essential nowadays. With the Christian holidays of overeating coming closer, we especially need online shops that not only are easy and intuitive to use, but also make no compromises when it comes to the ordering and shipping process. Now back to Christmas shopping. Even though I have some nice online shops in my repertoire already, I might have to try some new ones this year. As I told you, my mother likes rose quartz and rock crystals, so I will try a gemstone e-shop eventually. Same goes for daddy: Not all star wars merchandise essentials can be found in the already approved online shops in my portfolio, so I will have to experience new parts of the e-commerce world. Let us hope that the shops I will choose to provide me with presents for my loved ones did some proper testing before; otherwise I am not sure what will happen to the delicate peace we try to maintain in my family. Because, let’s face it: Christmas is not only about the food – it’s also about the gifts.
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About the author
Franzi’s unpronounceable last name comes from her Polish origins. And is always a great ice breaker when talking to new clients.
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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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