red X painted on a wall
PHOTO: Andrej Lišakov

A Fortune 50 company's website wasn't converting customers as it had hoped. In fact, it wasn't doing well at all. It hired a marketing company to improve the SEO, which succeeded at driving more people to the site. Yet conversions were still down. The unhappy execs turned their sites on the marketing team because the public website was their domain.

The company asked a UX consultant for their thoughts on what was currently in place. Among other problems, the consultant found someone had put the credit card form in an iFrame. This caused some browsers and ad blockers to decide the form was malicious, leaving an empty white space where the credit card form should have been.

A checkout page with no way to enter a credit card would absolutely kill conversions and revenue.

Saved on QA, But Lost on Potential Millions in Revenue

The company sells enterprise software that costs a team of 50 people $12,000 per year. How long was the website like that? Possibly months. Note the revenue lost also came in the form of repeat business (renewing for more years) and more licenses (teams grow, we need more seats). The company probably lost millions from the mistake.

Mistakes like these typically happen because no one put the website through proper and necessary QA testing. Chances are nobody wrote up acceptance criteria that included being able to check out from a privacy-loving browser that is blocking trackers and anything that is recognized as malicious. This means somebody looked at the site, it worked for them and it went live — or at least that’s how it often goes.

Would anyone now say that the money saved by not bringing in a QA engineer or team was worth it?

Related Article: Where Culture and Quality Fit in Agile Environments

Do You Want Me to Donate or Not?

Charitable organizations rely on donations. One organization’s donate page had three steps. Step 1 asked the amount you wanted to donate. When you hit “next,” step 2 appears, asking for your email, name, address and phone number. The form has no asterisks denoting which fields are mandatory, so they seem optional. You choose to exclude your phone number so the organization doesn’t call you.

Hit next, and here comes step 3, which is your credit card details. Fill that in, click complete and donate money.

But wait. You’re getting an error message that says your donation can’t be processed because you never gave your phone number.

error msg

As seen in the screenshot, you're back on step 1, starting from scratch. You’re not on step 2 to fix your phone number. There is no “back” choice here as you would expect, meaning you must start the process all over again. This summons The Four Horsemen of Bad UX®: frustration (error message), confusion (how am I back on step 1?), disappointment (my donation didn’t go through for a bad reason) and distraction (I have better things to do than try this again and hope I get it right).

You can hope people love your charity enough to try again and donate. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe they are so frustrated they will find one of the many other wonderful charities doing similar work, and give them the donation. Not everybody will go through the steps again. Some will walk away for now or permanently.

What this organization’s website and steps communicate is it’s more important for them to get your phone number than to get your donation. If that is not how your nonprofit/charity feels about donations, you need to fix those forms and have QA experts testing them to make sure you are not blocking people for reasons you would later regret.

Related Article: User Testing Belongs in the UX Process: Here's Why

Stop Guessing Why People Didn’t Finish the Checkout

Companies avoiding qualitative research will typically guess why people fail to checkout. Maybe people are tire kickers, not ready to buy, don’t always buy on the first visit to the site, or didn’t have enough money for what they were going to buy. Without good research on real potential and current customer behaviors and actions, it's just guessing, and that’s risky.

Guesses and assumptions about why people aren't converting mean companies don't find out it was their website mistakes driving revenue away.

Everything your company delivers, releases or offers to potential and current customers needs thorough testing. Don’t have a few people from the project team try it, decide it works for them and release it. Bring in testing experts who will try it from multiple browsers on various computers, phones or other devices. They will try it with and without browser blockers. They will try it navigating with keyboard only or with a screen reader.

Working with CX/UX experts will help ensure your public-facing revenue driving website and forms are well-designed to match customers’ needs, tasks and mental models. Work with QA experts to make sure that what was coded will work for everybody in all situations. Don’t lose out on conversions, revenue or donations to try to “save money” on website testing.