Why should we care about web quality assurance?
There was a time when quality assurance, operations and management systems, control procedures and even training and skills acquisition were accounted for as pure expenses or nice to have options. Gradually industrialisation sees these areas become integrated as central functions or even whole departments within organisations.
In the web domain, this level of industrialisation is not there yet. There are many flaws and risks within web sites that greatly expose the organisation. These are often identified but not always examined and corrected in a complete or consistent way. All you need to do is just take any site and compare it to standards in web quality and ecodesign, or to existing laws for accessibility, security or privacy. The ‘WebAIMs’ yearly analysis identified that 98.1% of the top 1,000,000 home pages had critical accessibility errors which did not comply to national legislation or WCAG standards.
Yes, the shortcomings of sites have negative impacts on users, but not only that. There are also direct impacts and costs to non-quality. Below we highlight some of these costs which are being incurred by organisations in a kind of passive daily cash-burning exercise.
So what are the costs of non-quality?
Additional costs for defect resolution and handling
- Cost of fines or penalties
- Additional cost associated with time to fix bugs and errors
- Surcharge associated with additional code rework time
- Hosting and bandwidth overhead
- Cost associated with data and infrastructure restoration time
- Overhead charges
Indirect costs to teams
- Cost of time through misunderstandings and miscommunications
- Overheads for appropriation and training of teams
- Cost of absenteeism
- Cost of training due to turnover (allowances, recruitment, training)
Direct losses in turnover
- Loss of turnover from loss of visibility (Non referencing)
- Loss of turnover from markets (reputation)
- Increaseed customer acquisition costs (non-renewal, churn)
- Unbilled overvaluations
Sales and communication costs
- Communication and marketing costs related to errors, defects and malfunctions
- Crisis management costs
- Costs associated with defect management
- Costs associated with information time to customers
- Overuse of paid visibility
- Rebates, gifts and compensation for defects
- Costs associated with service support, after-sales (after-sales time, complaint time)
- Claims, exchanges, returns, retractions
Direct costs to your customers
- Additional costs on the user side (premium rate numbers, expenses, travel, time spent)
- Manufacturing or production overheads
- Third-party application maintenance
- Development costs paid by the client
What might be the average costs of non-quality
On the scale of a country like France for example, estimates of non-quality costs made in the 1990s represented between 10 and 15% of the Gross Domestic Product. Some studies in the IT sector give a much higher figure (up to 50% of costs). The AFNOR indicates in a recent study that they are probably higher than 5%. Taking the lowest estimate, a company that spends €100,000 per month on fixed and variable costs are probably spending about €5000 per month on non-quality costs. At the very least.
These costs are stealth-like and, in the main, invisible. They are permanently eroding the profits and opportunities of an organisation. They prevent you from working effectively, from investing, or even from hiring the right people or finding the right customers. They consume the time you would need to work better and finish your projects mindfully.
What to do about it?
If you are a producer of online sites and services, it’s time to act.
The web is an industry where quality specialists and cost accountants are not working so commonly to fix and identify non-quality issues. You need to recruit people who can deal with this subject. If you have not recruited for this position, you will at least have to create a part-time position to fill the function and probably one day create a dedicated position.
This position doesn’t exist for good marketing, and it will not be there just to satisfy your customers. It will be there to help your teams be effective, efficient and more profitable.
Our sector involves major risks, linked to security, accessibility, eco-design and the preservation of personal data. These are subjects on which you must be up to speed, trained and informed. What is Opquast’s role in all this? We offer you cultural foundations on these subjects.
Our training represents key, some have said fundatmental, first steps on the road to successful web and digital quality control strategy. This will only be the beginning of the journey. Opquast certification may be essential but it is not sufficient alone. There are plenty of other players who can help you move forward on the remaining issues, by providing auditing, expertise, training and strategy. A great place to consolidate on quality is by training your teams and having them to pass the Opquast certification. This will build get teams talking and thinking about quality whilst building instincts and reflexes into each project.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
* I think this is a Chinese proverb, and it seems to me to be very useful against procrastination